Crimes de guerre des sociétés: Condamner le pillage des ressources naturelles (Corporate War Crimes: Prosecuting Pillage of Natural Resources)

Open Society Foundations, New York, October 2010

178 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2012

See all articles by James Graham Stewart

James Graham Stewart

University of British Columbia (UBC), Faculty of Law

Date Written: November 6, 2012

Abstract

The English version of this paper can be found at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1875053

Pillage signifie le vol pendant la guerre. Bien que l’interdiction du pillage date de l’Empire romain, piller est un crime des guerres modernes qui peut être poursuivi devant des juridictions pénales internationales et nationales. A la suite de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, plusieurs hommes d’affaires furent reconnus coupables du pillage commercial de ressources naturelles. Et bien que le pillage ait été poursuivi au cours des dernières années, les acteurs commerciaux sont rarement tenus pour responsables de leur role dans l’alimentation du conflit.

Ranimer la responsabilité des sociétés en cas de pillage de ressources naturelles ne consiste pas seulement à protéger les droits de propriété durant un conflit, mais peut aussi jouer un roˆle important dans la prévention d’atrocités. Depuis la fin de la guerre froide, l’exploitation illicite de ressources naturelles est devenue un moyen répandu de financer le conflit. Dans des pays, comprenant l’Angola, la République démocratique du Congo, le Timor oriental, l’Irak, le Libéria, le Myanmar et la Sierra Leone, le commerce illicite de ressources naturelles dans les zones de conflits n’a pas seulement créé des incitations à la violence, il a aussi fourni aux parties belligérantes les finances nécessaires pour soutenir les hostilités les plus brutales de l’histoire récente.

Pillage means theft during war. Although the prohibition against pillage dates to antiquity, pillaging is a modern war crime that can be enforced before international and domestic criminal courts. Following World War II, several businessmen were convicted for the pillage of natural resources. And yet modern commercial actors are seldom held accountable for their role in the illegal exploitation of natural resources from modern conflict zones, even though pillage is prosecuted as a matter of course in other contexts. This book offers a doctrinal road-map of the law governing pillage as applied to the illegal exploitation of natural resources by corporations and their officers. The text traces the evolution of the prohibition against pillage from its earliest forms through the Nuremberg trials to today’s national laws, international treaties and case law from international courts. In doing so, it provides a long-awaited blueprint for prosecuting corporate plunder of resource wealth during war. This also holds great relevance as a response to conflict financing. Since the end of the Cold War, the illegal exploitation of natural resources has become a prevalent means of financing conflict. In countries including Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Iraq, Liberia, Myanmar, and Sierra Leone, the illicit trade in natural resources has not only created incentives for violence, but has also furnished warring parties with the finances necessary to sustain some of the most brutal hostilities in recent history. This text marks the beginnings of a coherent legal response.

Note: Downloadable document is in French.

Keywords: le pillage, ressources naturelles, droit pénal international, crimes de guerre

Suggested Citation

Stewart, James Graham, Crimes de guerre des sociétés: Condamner le pillage des ressources naturelles (Corporate War Crimes: Prosecuting Pillage of Natural Resources) (November 6, 2012). Open Society Foundations, New York, October 2010 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2171829 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2171829

James Graham Stewart (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia (UBC), Faculty of Law ( email )

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