Enforcing the Legal Principle of Duty of Care in Corporate Human Rights Violations and Environmental Damage Cases in Developing Countries

Nartey, Emmanuel K. (2023). Enforcing the Legal Principle of Duty of Care in Corporate Human Rights Violations and Environmental Damage Cases in Developing Countries. Athens Journal of Law, 9(4) pp. 611–634.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.30958/ajl.9-4-7

Abstract

Corporate accountability for human rights violations in international legal systems has proven to be a watershed. This is because there are inadequacies in the existing accountability mechanisms as well as several other legal problems and factual obstacles that hinder the enforcement of human rights law and international criminal law. This is also attributed to the problematic issues that persist, particularly with respect to the following: corporate criminal liability, the extraterritorial application of law, the attribution of criminal actions to specific agents, the requirements of accountability, the difficulties of extraterritorial investigations, and obtaining sufficient evidence for human rights violations. This article examines corporate accountability in the concept of the principle of duty of care. It is argued that the duty of care principle will help breach the gap in corporate liability for human rights abuses and environmental damages. Furthermore, the article analyses the definition of accountability, the mechanism of accountability, and the components of accountability are extensively discussed. It is also observed that the legal concept of corporate accountability should include responsibility, answerability, blameworthiness, liability and sanctions. Therefore, this article examines the key elements that are required for establishing accountability for non-state actors. A diagram is used to explain the components of the various forms of accountability and how accountability creates a legal duty of care for non-state actors, such as corporations.

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