human rights & business (and a few other things)

New article – the ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s Policy Paper on Case Selection and Prioritization from the Perspective of Business and Human Rights

In September 2016, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court issued a policy paper on Case Selection and Prioritization in which it indicated that the Office will now ‘give particular consideration to prosecuting Rome Statute crimes that are committed by means of, or that result in … the destruction of the environment, the illegal exploitation of natural resources or the illegal dispossession of land’. I wrote a short blog post on this when the policy paper came out. The longer piece I wrote on the policy paper was published last week in the Journal of International Criminal Justice.

Because of the significant investment and technological capacities required to commit the crimes listed in the policy paper, multinational corporations, particularly in the mining and agribusiness sectors, play an active role in the perpetuation of these abuses. This is why the new policy paper has attracted the attention of those working in the business and human rights area in a context of prevalent impunity for such abuses. Against this background, the article evaluates the significance of the policy paper for the field of business and human rights. It does so by pointing to the current deficiencies of both international criminal law and international human rights law regarding business accountability, and by assessing whether, and if so how, the new policy paper can tackle those deficiencies. It also explores other areas of business activity the policy paper could have covered but did not, with references for example to the crimes associated with private companies running detention centres. The article concludes that, despite its limitations, the policy paper holds considerable potential from a business and human rights perspective.

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