Brooklyn Journal of International Law


Seunghyun Nam


With increasing reports of corporations involved in serious human rights abuses that amount to international crimes, there are greater calls for states to hold these corporations accountable. Still, many obstacles and challenges remain when it comes to holding corporations accountable. Complex corporate structures, the extraterritorial dimension of the abuses, competition among states and businesses, lack of institutional capacity on the part of states, and lack of legal coordination among states collectively create an impunity gap. The case studies of the situation in Burma and the Democratic Republic of Congo involving foreign companies aim to illustrate this governance gap. With growing discussions on the possibility of a new treaty on business and human rights, this article provides a preliminary examination of how the UN and other international and regional institutions can influence states to address these challenges in order to prevent business involvement in serious human rights abuses at home and abroad.