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Fall 2023 Seminar

Corporate Accountability in Armed Conflict

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: No Exam

This seminar will examine the law governing the increasingly diverse activities of corporations in armed conflict and the avenues for their accountability. The seminar will begin with charting the evolution of the legal status of multinational corporations in international law and their relationship with states. The seminar will then be structured around three types of corporations and their involvement in war: private military companies (PMCs) participating in armed conflict; corporations trading arms; corporations operating in or profiting from a situation of belligerent occupation or unlawful annexation. Issues covered will include: the law governing the conduct of PMCs and avenues for their accountability; arms trade law and direct or accessorial liability for arms traders; the war crime of pillage, including through the exploitation of natural resources in (prolonged) occupation; accountability mechanisms, including international criminal law, human rights law, and soft law mechanisms such as the UN Guidelines for Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Reference will be made to contemporary cases, including in the context of the conflicts in Ukraine, Yemen, Western Sahara and Palestine.