IRRC No. 887

Developments in international criminal law and the case of business involvement in international crimes

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In the wake of the mandate of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Business and Human Rights (SRSG), international criminal law looks set to play a role in measures towards the legal accountability of business actors involved in gross human rights and humanitarian law violations. Against the backdrop of the SRSG's now completed mandate, this article looks at three recent developments in international criminal law to consider the field's potential relevance to business actors involved in conflict. The first is the newest mode of liability recently adopted by the International Criminal Court, indirect perpetration through an organisation. The second is the aiding and abetting doctrine as applied by the Special Court for Sierra Leone in the Charles Taylor case. The third is the potential uptake of a practice of thematic prosecutions focusing on particular under-regulated issues of concern for the international community. Keywords: international criminal law, business actors, indirect perpetration through an organisation, thematic prosecutions.

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