Issue 4 (18) 2012

Aristova ACCOUNTABILITY OF TRANSBOUNDARY CORPORATE GROUPS in INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC LAW

ACCOUNTABILITY OF TRANSBOUNDARY CORPORATE GROUPS in INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC LAW

E.A. Aristova

Russian Academy of Justice
69 a, Novocheremushenskaya st., Moscow, 117418
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Economic globalization and internationalization of problems in the sphere of human rights were recognized as one of the most important trends of the second half of the XX century and continued to develop in conflict with each other and in the new millennium. Gross violations of international human rights law by large multinationals in South-East Asia, China, South Korea, Latin America is a major problem facing the international community. However, the lack of effective controls behavior of these actors on the international level, limited capacity of home and host countries and the continuing abuse indicate poor performance of international dialogue on this subject and the need to review existing approaches.

Transnational activities of corporate groups require appropriate regulation of their behavior in the context of respect for human rights. However, till today there is a significant vacuum in implementing the required regime. The state-centric concept of international law which recognizes states and international organizations as the only subjects of law was prevailing in the doctrine. However, the traditional understanding of international law does not correspond to the degree of intensity of international relations development. State responsibility for the actions of non-state actors within the domestic jurisdiction can’t resolve problem of holding multinationals accounting by means of international law.

Author examines the weakness of existing theories on the extension of the application of the international agreements on human rights to the transboundary corporate groups. Such multilateral documents have never been designed directly on legal entities and other non-state actors, and therefore do not provide a mechanism to prosecute, if the corporate group violates its responsibilities.

Analyses of the problem and existing mechanisms for holding transboundary corporate groups accountable has identified the necessity of the code of conduct which should be adopted on the level of the international organization and would cover rights and obligations of these actors. Further development of soft law codes of conduct suggested by United Nations, the OECD and the ILO into legally binding documents is required. Moreover, generalization of the practice of non-governmental organizations, demonstrating the successful examples of regional and industry codes of conduct for multinationals, should be further examined.


Keywords: transboundary corporate groups; human rights; multilateral agreements; codes of conduct; international organizations


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