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http://ssrn.com/abstract=844367
 
 

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Direct vs. Indirect Obligations of Corporations Under International Law


Carlos Manuel Vazquez


Georgetown University Law Center

2005

Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 43, p. 927-959, 2005
Georgetown Law and Economics Research Paper No. 12-024
Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 12-078

Abstract:     
International law today addresses the conduct of private corporations in a variety of areas. With very few exceptions, however, international law regulates corporate conduct indirectly -- that is, by requiring states to enact and enforce regulations applicable to corporations and other non-state actors. Only a small number of international legal norms --- primarily those relating to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and forced labor -- apply directly to non-state actors. Scholars have argued forcefully that international law should move in the direction of directly imposing obligations on corporations. These arguments overlook important aspects of the problem. If international legal norms were extended to corporations and backed by effective enforcement mechanisms, states would lose control over compliance with the norms. If not accompanied by an effective enforcement mechanism, the norms would probably be widely disregarded. The first option is likely to be strongly resisted by states; the second option would do little for the interests sought to be protected and would be bad for international law.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 34

Keywords: corporate obligations, international human rights, treaties

JEL Classification: K00, K39

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Date posted: November 9, 2005 ; Last revised: July 19, 2012

Suggested Citation

Vazquez, Carlos Manuel, Direct vs. Indirect Obligations of Corporations Under International Law (2005). Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 43, p. 927-959, 2005; Georgetown Law and Economics Research Paper No. 12-024; Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 12-078. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=844367

Contact Information

Carlos Manuel Vazquez (Contact Author)
Georgetown University Law Center ( email )
600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
6009 Hotung Building
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9447 (Phone)
202-662-9411 (Fax)
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