Jelena Aparac

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It is said that traditional international public law is state-centric and concerns mostly State obligations and responsibility. For this, it excluded corporate actors from any accountability mechanism, even when the corporations contribute to armed conflicts and international crimes. International law does not provide a clear definition of what amounts to “subjects” under this set of rules or criteria for how to determine legal personality. At the same time, some branches of international public law directly regulate corporate actions, namely international economic law and international humanitarian law. Conversely, international courts and tribunals have accepted the corporate jus standi, in some instances to defend corporate “human rights” or in other cases to allow corporations to defend their economic interest against States. Yet, States and individuals cannot bring claims against corporations before any international mechanism. Ultimately, the international regulatory framework impedes the rights of victims and communities while allowing for greater protection of corporate interest. This article challenges this doctrine by demonstrating that international law can and should apply to corporations, and prosecutions against international crimes should be part of transitional justice and dealing with the past.

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