Anne Peters (Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law), Sabine Gless (University of Basel), Chris Thomale (Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg) and Marc-Philippe Weller (Heidelberg University) have posted Business and Human Rights: Making the Legally Binding Instrument Work in Public, Private and Criminal Law on SSRN.
The paper’s starting point is the United Nations Human Rights Council working group’s revised draft of a Legally Binding Instrument to Regulate, in International Human Rights Law, the Activities of Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises of July 2019. The paper examines the draft treaty’s potential to activate and operationalize public law, private law, and criminal law for enforcing human rights. It conceptualizes a complementary approach of these three branches of law in which private and criminal legal enforcement mechanisms stand in the foreground. It argues for linking civil (tort) and criminal liability for harm caused by hands-off corporate policies, complemented by the obligation to interpret managerial duties in conformity with the human rights standards of public international law. The combination of public, private, and criminal law allows effective enforcement of human rights vis-à-vis global corporations.
The paper is part of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper Series.