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Prosecuting Corporations for Genocide Under International Law

Michael J. Kelly

Creighton University School of Law; American Society of International Law

July 23, 2012

Harvard Law & Policy Review, Vol. 6, No. 2, p. 339, 2012

The thrust of the 1948 Genocide Convention makes people accountable for committing genocide or complicity in genocide. They should not be able to hide in corporate form, and the treaty does not provide protection for corporations from prosecution. International law provides the theoretical tools for such prosecutions. However, modern international criminal tribunals do not establish jurisdiction over companies for participating in atrocities. As the authoritative interpretive body for the treaty, the International Court of Justice should issue an advisory opinion declaring that corporations are capable of committing genocide and, as such, should be tried for it. This would be a logical extension of the ICJ's recent landmark opinion declaring that states can commit genocide.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 36

Keywords: corporation, genocide, international criminal tribunal, international court of justice, Sudan, China, command responsibility, genocide convention, Nuremberg, I.G. Farben, Nazi war crimes trials, crimes against humanity, jurisdiction, company, juridical person, corporate responsibility, intent

JEL Classification: K14, K22, K33, K41, K42, L21, M14

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Date posted: September 25, 2012 ; Last revised: November 20, 2012

Suggested Citation

Kelly, Michael J., Prosecuting Corporations for Genocide Under International Law (July 23, 2012). Harvard Law & Policy Review, Vol. 6, No. 2, p. 339, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2151510

Contact Information

Michael J. Kelly (Contact Author)
Creighton University School of Law ( email )
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178
United States
402-280-3455 (Phone)
402-280-2244 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.creighton.edu/law/faculty/kelly/index.php
American Society of International Law
2223 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
United States
202-939-6000 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.asil.org/
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