Assessment of Corporate Criminal Responsibility for Complicity in International Crimes:The Case of Democratic Republic Of Congo

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Addis Ababa University


Presently, the possibility of assistance being extended to the perpetrators of the core international crimes has increased. Especially, MNCs operating in conflict areas are often found complicit for War Crimes, Crime against Humanity, and Genocide alleged to be committed by armed groups. This research tries to assess corporate criminal responsibility for complicity in international crimes by taking the case of DRC as a demonstration. It analyzes the conceptual framework on criminal responsibility of complicit Corporations for international crimes. The research examines the prosecution of such Corporations in DRC at different judicial forums. In DRC, since conflict over controlling natural resource prevails, the complicity of Corporations operating in the extractive industry is high. Corporations assist government and armed rebel groups by providing finance, weapons, vehicles and air support that facilitate the commission of international crimes. However, owing to the absence of corporate criminal responsibility under the Congolese Criminal Code and due to the ineffectiveness of the judicial system and other economic and political factors, complicit Corporations in international crimes are not brought to justice. Corporate criminal responsibility for international crimes has been included under the protocol of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights. Although the protocol articulates Criminal Section of the ACJHR as potential fora to prosecute Corporations, it is yet in force. There are also challenges in establishing jurisdiction, and organizing evidence for prosecution in DRC. Thus, the prosecution of Corporations before the International Criminal Court becomes relevant, but this is contingent up on the inclusion of corporate criminal responsibility under the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court. Therefore, it is suggested that, corporate criminal responsibility should be included under the Rome statute and in the Congolese criminal code, in addition to which such laws in the home states of the MNCs are necessary if they are not existent. Moreover, the investigation, prosecution and judicial system of DRC should be improved commensurate with the tasks involved in such prosecution and adjudication. The DRC government should sign and ratify the African Court of Justice and Human Rights protocol, thereby creating possible future court for holding Corporations liable. The home states of MNCs as part of their international obligations and based on their own criminal laws should also punish complicit Corporations. Key words; International crimes, Complicity, Multinational Corporations, Criminal responsibility, Prosecution



International crimes, Complicity, Multinational Corporations, Criminal responsibility, Prosecution