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10 Jul 2013

Joel Slawotsky, in International Review of Law

Corporate liability for violating international law under The Alien Tort Statute: The corporation through the lens of globalization and privatization

The article addresses the question of whether the changing roles of “public actor” states and “private actor” corporations should impact the legal liability of corporations in international law…The objection to corporate liability under the ATS [Alien Tort Statute] stems from the dichotomy between public state and private actors…Rather than comparing corporations to private individuals, this Article argues that global corporations can and should be compared to public actor states. Several developments militate strongly in favor of corporate liability…Large global corporations now have the ability to cause widespread damage, a power traditionally held only by states…Two, the line of demarcation between states and corporations has been greatly reduced in recent years as the role and functions of states and private actors have become interchangeable…If large global corporations can be treated as actors similar to sovereigns, corporations should have similar duties and responsibilities towards the public as a state government.[Refers to Bridgestone, ExxonMobil, Bridgestone-Firestone (part of Bridgestone), Rio Tinto, Shell]

Part of the following timelines

Rio Tinto lawsuit (re Papua New Guinea)

ExxonMobil lawsuit (re Aceh)

Firestone lawsuit (re Liberia)