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The Turn to Corporate Criminal Liability for International Crimes: Transcending the Alien Tort Statute

Author: James Stewart, University of British Columbia in New York University Journal of Intl. Law & Politics (USA), Published on: 19 February 2014

In November 2013, Swiss authorities announced a criminal investigation into one of the world's largest gold refineries on the basis that the company committed a war crime. The Swiss investigation comes a matter of months after the US Supreme Court decided in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. that allegations like these could not give rise to civil liability under the aegis of the Alien Tort Statute ("ATS")...In this paper, I argue that coupling corporate criminal liability with international crimes in national systems, as in this new Swiss case, is the next obvious “discovery” in corporate responsibility. In addition, at least one international court has now adopted corporate criminal liability for international crimes. These moves promise to transcend several of the doctrinal and conceptual problems that plagued the ATS...

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