In search of viable standards of culpability for corporate complicity liability in human rights abuses

Procura de Padrões Viáveis de Culpabilidade para a Cumplicidade e Responsabilidade Corporativa nos Abusos dos Direitos Humanos

Winibaldus S. Mere[1]

 

 ABSTRACT
This paper aims to explore the appropriate and viable standards of actus reus and mens rea to hold corporations liable for complicity in human rights abuses and to clarify the implications of these standards in the context of the UN ‘Protect-respect-remedy’ Framework and Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. As the appropriate standards remains in contention, this paper argues that the “substantial effect” and “knowledge” standards constitute the most appropriate and viable standards of the actus reus and mens rea for corporate complicity liability in human rights abuses. Furthermore, these standards are apt to the Framework and Guiding Principles, which require corporations to exercise due diligence to avoid and address complicity issues through concrete acts of “knowing and showing”.

Keywords: Complicity and human rights. Due diligence. Actus reus and mens rea. Business and human rights. Aiding and abetting.

 

[1] Hold a PhD in Law (writing a Thesis on corporate complicity and human rights due diligence), Associate professor and Senior research fellow, Nanzan University Institute for Social Ethics in Nagoya, Japan.