Corporate Human Rights Violations: The Feasibility of Civil Recourse in the Netherlands
38 Pages Posted: 24 May 2011
Date Written: March 2, 2009
This Article focuses on tort law as an avenue to address corporate violations of international human rights law in The Netherlands. Tort law can be employed for several reasons. Tort law can serve a preventive function by discouraging certain unlawful behavior. In this sense, tort liability may act as a regulatory mechanism. Additionally, tort law offers redress for injuries suffered and therefore also serves a compensatory function. It is especially this latter characteristic of tort law that makes it an important tool of human rights enforcement from the perspective of victims of human rights violations. The question this Article seeks to answer is if and how Dutch tort law provides possibilities for transnational human rights litigation. By analyzing the Dutch legal system, this Article seeks to survey the possibilities this system might offer to human rights plaintiffs and litigators, and explore why claims of human rights violations under tort law still have not been brought before the Dutch courts. As part of this analysis, an examination of European law more generally is also required, since a survey of the Dutch legal system on its own is incomplete given the far-reaching harmonization of civil procedures at the European level.
Keywords: Human rights, corporations, civil liability, The Netherlands
JEL Classification: K13, K33, K41, K42
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