Accountability for Corporate Human Rights Abuses: Lessons from the Possible Exercise of Dutch National Criminal Jurisdiction over Multinational Corporations
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In the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, little emphasis has been put on the criminal law as a mechanism to hold corporations to account. From a doctrinal perspective, the main stumbling block for a more intensive use of the criminal law appears to be how to establish jurisdiction and liability with regard to corporate involvement in human rights violations in transnational supply-chains. On closer inspection, however, domestic criminal law offers surprising, although largely untested opportunities in this respect. Criminal liability could notably be based on violations of a corporate duty of care violation, whereas jurisdiction could, relatively non-controversially, be grounded on the principles of territoriality, nationality, and universality. The Dutch criminal law system is used as a case-study in this article.
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