Regulating Information Flows, Regulating Conflict: An Analysis of United States Conflict Minerals Legislation

26 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2011 Last revised: 11 Jul 2013

See all articles by Christiana Ochoa

Christiana Ochoa

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Patrick Keenan

University of Illinois College of Law

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

The connection between conflict and commercial activity is the focus of this paper. In particular, it focuses on the ongoing conflict in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that is funded, in large part, by the sale of conflict commodities – minerals, metals and petroleum that fund violent groups at their source and then enters legitimate markets and products around the world. Recently, attention has turned to how to regulate conflict commerce as a tool for divesting from violent conflict. In the United States, for example, the recently-adopted Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act include a provision addressing conflict minerals originating from this region. The violent and secretive nature of conflict minerals transactions makes crafting effective regulation and policing strategies challenging. As a result the Dodd-Frank Act, like other domestic and international efforts, is designed in large part to discover, gather and disseminate information about the nature and scale of conflict commodities emanating from the DRC. This paper analyzes this legislation while also discussing a number of other current conflict commerce governance efforts. It observes the difficulty of regulating in the context of conflict and corruption and analyses the use of regulation as a tool for information-extraction, information-forcing and information-dissemination, as opposed to its use as a tool for directly proscribing undesirable behavior.

Keywords: Conflict, Conflict Commodities, Conflict Commerce, Mining, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dodd-Frank, 1502, Information Forcing, Human Rights, International Law, SEC

Suggested Citation

Ochoa, Christiana and Keenan, Patrick James, Regulating Information Flows, Regulating Conflict: An Analysis of United States Conflict Minerals Legislation (2011). Geottingen Journal of International Law, Vol. 3, 2011; Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 10-39; Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 191. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1809871

Christiana Ochoa (Contact Author)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
812-856-1516 (Phone)
812-855-0555 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.indiana.edu/directory/cochoa.asp

Patrick James Keenan

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

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