International Criminal Law Review 8 (2008) 447–462 © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI 10.1163/157181208X308781 www.brill.nl/icla International Criminal Law Review Business and Human Rights – Time to Hold Companies to Account Daniel Leader 1 Barrister 36 Bedford Row, London Abstract It is not widely appreciated that the recent six year conﬂ ict in the Democratic Republic of Congo was the deadliest war since World War II. An estimated 3.8 million people, mostly civilians, lost their lives as a result of the conﬂ ict. Th e West must accept a large degree of responsibility for this tragedy as the war was fuelled to a great extent by western multinationals. Th ese companies either directly or indirectly purchased or exploited the natural resources under the control of the various armed groups. Unscrupulous corporations can engage in this behaviour with impunity in weak governance zones. Human Rights NGOs have tried to hold some of these companies to account by ﬁ ling complaints in the UK using the “soft law” mechanism of the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises. However, the British Government displayed a breathtaking unwillingness to hold companies to account. It is increasingly clear to both responsible business and the human
International Criminal Law Review – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2008
Keywords: BUSINESS; CONFLICT ZONES; DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO; HUMAN RIGHTS
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