On 10 and 11 June 2014 the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), Amnesty International, and the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF) convened a closed two-day meeting to identify prosecution gaps at the national level involving criminal acts by corporate actors that either are or lead to serious human rights abuse ("corporate crimes"). The meeting is the first of several consultations informing the Commerce, Crime, and Human Rights Project. Invited participants include members of civil society organizations, lawyers and other practitioners who have brought or attempted to bring cases alleging corporate crimes. The discussions will inform efforts by the Project team to map legal and other obstacles that hinder prosecutions of corporate crimes.
The Project is premised on the idea that when businesses engage in illegal conduct that results in serious human rights abuse, they are rarely, if ever, held to account. This problem is particularly acute in the context of transnational corporations and business activity involving multiple jurisdictions. State authorities must take action to protect human rights. This can be achieved in part by enforcing criminal laws where they exist and/or enacting reforms to allow for criminal prosecutions, including against businesses.
The Project seeks to develop recommendations for State practice in addressing prosecution gaps concerning corporate crimes, including recommendations related to prevention, investigation, punishment, and redress. In so doing, the Project aims to establish a common framework for how States should address corporate crimes.
The Project will be conducted over two phases and will bring together a group of experts in criminal investigation and prosecution who will: (i) identify prosecution gaps at the national level and (ii) develop a framework to govern State practice in addressing those gaps. The Project will draw on actual examples of attempts by lawyers and other practitioners to mount prosecutions for corporate crimes.