The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Corporate human rights accountability: the objections of western governments to the Alien Tort Statute

Corporate human rights accountability: the objections of western governments to the Alien Tort Statute
Corporate human rights accountability: the objections of western governments to the Alien Tort Statute
The almost two decade-long bonanza of civil litigation concerning gross human rights violations committed by corporations under the US Alien Tort Statute 1789 was scaled back by the US Supreme Court in Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum in April 2013. The court restricted the territorial reach of human rights claims against transnational corporations by holding that the presumption against extra-territoriality applied to the Act. Thus Shell, the Dutch/British defendant, and the role it played in the brutal suppression by the Nigerian military of the Ogoni peoples' protest movement against the environmental devastation caused by oil exploration, lay outside the territorial scope of the Act. Legal accountability must lie in a State with a stronger connection with the dispute. While this article briefly engages with the Supreme Court decision, its main focus is on the attitude of Western governments to the corporate human rights litigation under the ATS as articulated in their amicus briefs. In these briefs they objected to the statute's excessive extraterritoriality and horizontal application of human rights to artificial non-State actors. In these two respects corporate ATS litigation created significant inroads into the conventional State-centric approach to human rights and thus provided an opportunity for more effective human rights enjoyment. This article tests the validity of the objections of Western governments to corporate human rights obligations under the ATS against the norms of public international law and against the substantive demands arising out of the shortfalls of the international human rights enforcement.
Alien Tort Statute, Corporate governance, human rights , Ruggie Principles , Royal Dutch Petroleum , Shell, corporate criminality , international criminal court, jurisdiction , universal jurisdiction , human rights monitoring, Kiobel
0020-5893
665-697
Kohl, Uta
813ff335-441f-4027-801b-4e6fc48409c3
Kohl, Uta
813ff335-441f-4027-801b-4e6fc48409c3

Kohl, Uta (2014) Corporate human rights accountability: the objections of western governments to the Alien Tort Statute. International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 63 (3), 665-697. (doi:10.1017/S0020589314000323).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The almost two decade-long bonanza of civil litigation concerning gross human rights violations committed by corporations under the US Alien Tort Statute 1789 was scaled back by the US Supreme Court in Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum in April 2013. The court restricted the territorial reach of human rights claims against transnational corporations by holding that the presumption against extra-territoriality applied to the Act. Thus Shell, the Dutch/British defendant, and the role it played in the brutal suppression by the Nigerian military of the Ogoni peoples' protest movement against the environmental devastation caused by oil exploration, lay outside the territorial scope of the Act. Legal accountability must lie in a State with a stronger connection with the dispute. While this article briefly engages with the Supreme Court decision, its main focus is on the attitude of Western governments to the corporate human rights litigation under the ATS as articulated in their amicus briefs. In these briefs they objected to the statute's excessive extraterritoriality and horizontal application of human rights to artificial non-State actors. In these two respects corporate ATS litigation created significant inroads into the conventional State-centric approach to human rights and thus provided an opportunity for more effective human rights enjoyment. This article tests the validity of the objections of Western governments to corporate human rights obligations under the ATS against the norms of public international law and against the substantive demands arising out of the shortfalls of the international human rights enforcement.

Text
Corporate Human Rights Accountability - Accepted Manuscript
Download (264kB)

More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 17 July 2014
Published date: July 2014
Keywords: Alien Tort Statute, Corporate governance, human rights , Ruggie Principles , Royal Dutch Petroleum , Shell, corporate criminality , international criminal court, jurisdiction , universal jurisdiction , human rights monitoring, Kiobel

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 425096
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/425096
ISSN: 0020-5893
PURE UUID: 2e1c7d2e-f971-4f56-a266-10fb31e7f75e
ORCID for Uta Kohl: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8616-9469

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 10 Oct 2018 16:30
Last modified: 23 Jul 2022 02:23

Export record

Altmetrics

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×