Corporate Accountability under International Law: The Misguided Quest for Universal Jurisdiction PATRICK MACKLEM 1 Seduced by cosmopolitan fantasies of a truly global legal order righteously meting out justice against lawless transgressors, the international legal imagination has begun a misguided and risky quest for universal jurisdiction over human rights violations by multinational corporations. Misguided, because the polycentric nature of multinational corporate personality provides multiple opportunities for holding corporations domestically accountable for human rights violations. Risky, because international corporate duties to respect human rights will produce a realm of international corporate liberty that will likely render the international legal order unrecognizable to the apostles and priests who zealously guard its normative mission. Yet, the image of the global corporation as post-modern brigand continually entices those very same guardians to hold corporations directly accountable in international law for international crimes. No doubt there is reason for concern. Processes of economic globalization are Processes of economic globalization are dramatically enhancing technological, commercial and financial integration of national economies. Traditional geographical and political barriers are becoming increasingly irrelevant to the production, placement and sale of goods and services. States are gradually dismantling tariff barriers and actively seeking new forms of direct foreign investment.
International Law FORUM du droit international (continued in International Community Law Review) – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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