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Report "Italian Legislative Decree No. 231/2001: a model for a human rights due diligence legislation?"

Author: Human Rights International Corner (HRIC) & International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Published on: 14 November 2019

13 November 2019

Italian Legislative Decree (L.D.) No. 231/20016, which introduces a due diligence process that covers both specific human rights violations and specific severe impacts on the environment, can reasonably be considered a pioneer example of mandatory due diligence legislation.

Introduced in 2001 [...] L.D. No. 231/2001 established, for the first time in Italy, corporate responsibility for crimes perpetuated in the interest or to the advantage of a legal entity...

Despite not being specifically directed at protecting human rights, the scope of the law has been extended over the years and currently includes specific human rights violations...

[T]the legal regime introduced by L.D. No. 231/2001 incentivises companies to strengthen their self-regulatory systems and processes to prevent the commission of crimes, in accordance with the objectives of HRDD. Indeed, in order to avoid incurring liability under L.D. No. 231/2001, companies must demonstrate that they have effectively adopted compliance programs ... (“231 Models”) ... Although L.D. No. 231/2001 does not expressly provide for mandatory due diligence process, it creates a strong incentive to the adoption of the so-called ”231 Models”...

The aim of this analisys is therefore to clarify the scope of application, the sanctions and the case law relating to L.D. No. 231/2001 in the perspective of contributing to the current debate on mandatory HRDD and to further legislative developments by other European and non-European States...

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