Diamonds, Corporate Responsibility and International Law. Case Study: Antwerp Diamond Sector

Date: 28 May 2014

Venue: UAntwerp - Stadscampus - Promotiezaal van de Grauwzusters - Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerp

Time: 6:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: Faculty of Law

PhD candidate: Tamo Awung Atabongawung

Principal investigator: Prof George Pavlakos & Prof Koen De Feyter

Short description: Phd defense Tamo Awung Atabongawung - Faculty of Law

Abstract: Most accounts of 'corporate responsibility' for the violation of human rights remain contentious under international law. While the positivist understanding of the 'law of nations' portrays Multinational Corporations as non-state actors with lesser relevance (in terms of direct international responsibility), a more progressive interpretation defended mostly by international human rights law scholars will suggest that multinational corporations can or are capable of violating certain human rights resulting from their transnational operations today. The latter claim mitigates the fact that globalisation continues to blur sovereignty as traditionally understood, with one key consequence being the ability of multinational corporations to move easily, own assets and operate in a multitude of States at a given time. With such flexibilities to interact globally, the human rights claim expounds the premise that multinational corporations ought to shoulder certain global (legal) responsibilities, which may arise from such transnational operations and can be enforced under this regime. It is believed that most domestic legal orders are increasingly becoming insufficient or unwilling to extend meaningful legal checks to these emerging actor. We consider these claims in detail by defending another account of corporate international responsibility that revolves around the significance of 'enforceability' for the attribution of responsibility and the consequences this extrapolation has on norm setting and enforcement under international human rights law.