Conference on corporate liability for pillaging natural resources

By Otto Spijkers

Friday 29 and Saturday 30 October 2010, a very interesting conference takes place at my new workplace, the Peace Palace. The conference is about corporate liability for pillaging natural resources. The website of the Pillage Conference describes the topic of the conference as follows:

The illegal exploitation of natural resources has fueled and financed brutal conflicts around the world, yet there has been little success to date in holding companies accountable for trafficking in conflict resources. This conference, accompanying the Open Society Justice Initiative’s launch of a manual on prosecuting commercial actors for the war crime of pillage, is meant to foster renewed public debate about how the law can—and should—be used against companies whose theft of natural resources has driven conflict.

The manual, entitled Corporate War Crimes: Prosecuting the Pillage of Natural Resources, was prepared by James G. Stewart, Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia. He served, inter alia, as Appeals Counsel with the Prosecution of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The manual is available for free online at the conference website, and I highly recommend it. The conference is organized by the Open Society Justice Initiative, and the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University.

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