In a number of occasions, victims of human rights violations committed by transnational corporations all around the globe perceived how their countries were incapable, and sometimes even unwilling to provide an effective response for the abuses perpetrated. This scenario is a direct consequence of some of the negative effects brought by economic globalization.
The vast majority of the proposed solutions to this issue until now – including the Guiding Principles proposed by professor John Ruggie – have failed dramatically to address the growing asymmetries of our time in a deeper level, for example, the predominantly territorial human rights law vs. a complex web of transnational business operations or the enormous political-economic power of transnational corporations vs. developing countries’ dependence on foreign investment.
In an effort to centralize the discussion around the victims, it is necessary to seek alternative regulatory measures to provide an effective remedy, surpassing the accountability obstacles usually faced in the field of human rights. In that sense, one of the best instruments available to improve accountability for violations committed overseas is the exercise of extraterritorial jurisdiction by the home States of these corporations. This paper aims to briefly analyze under which circumstances should States extend their powers beyond their own territory and how they should fulfill their obligations in this field.