The Irish Centre for Human Rights recently co-hosted a panel discussion with Amnesty International on the soon-to-be launched Corporate Crimes Principles. The Principles are the outcome of the two year Commerce, Crime and Human Rights Project involving Amnesty, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable and nine independent experts. The Corporate Crimes Principles are aimed at encouraging the investigation and prosecution of corporate crimes and provide practical guidance on a range of issues, in response to challenges identified during the wide-ranging consultations. They will formally be launched at an event in London in October.
The Dublin event featured a number of experts working on the prosecution of international crimes and human rights abuses, as well those with experience in the areas of white collar crime and corruption. The speakers were:
- Martin Witteveen, Prosecutor, International Crimes and Human Trafficking, Public Prosecution Service Netherlands and member of the Commission of Experts
- Seema Joshi, Head of Business and Human Rights, Amnesty International
- Joe McGrath, Lecturer, School of Law, University College Dublin
- John Devitt, Chief Executive, Transparency International Ireland
As was explained at the event, the Corporate Crimes Principles do not focus only on human rights crimes, but also on other criminal activities that might be linked to human rights abuses, such as environmental harm, violations of economic sanctions, fraud, corruption, and tax evasion. There is a remarkably common set of challenges facing investigators and prosecutors seeking to purse corporate entities or individual corporate actors for criminal activity. This comes across both in the Principles themselves, as well as in the discussion amongst the panel’s experts and the audience at last night’s event. The Principles are aimed at having national law enforcement authorities address corporate crimes more thoroughly and at trying to find ways of overcoming the existing barriers in order to close the impunity gap and provide accountability for victims of corporate crimes.
A link will be posted to the Corporate Crimes Principles here once they are formally launched next month.