Chair: Nandor Knust

Business and Atrocity Crimes: From the Past to the Present. Sponsored by EUROC and ECACTJ

Building: E
Room: 02


Author: Huisman Wim, VU Amsterdam

Susanne Karstedt, Griffith University
Title: Business and Atrocity Crime Since 1945: Continuity and Change
Presently the long process of acknowledging the role of corporations and business leaders in atrocity crimes that started with the Nuremburg trials after World War II, gains momentum with new UN initiatives. Over a hundred companies worldwide have been accused of such involvement in the decades since 1945, when the first trial against a corporation and its management started. How did this involvement change since then? What types of involvement developed over time, which types of corporations were mainly affected, and which were typical contexts and geographical areas where such involvement took place? Which are risk factors, what signals resilience? We present the first results from a data base of more than 100 cases spanning the second half of the last and first decade of this century.
Keywords: EUROC, ECACTJ, transnational corporations, human rights violations
Author: Scherer Hendrik , University of Kiel

Title: History, Legacy and Accountability: Ig Farben and Its Successors
The case of IG Farben is notoriously famous for being the first transnational corporation on trial for involvement in atrocity crimes in Nuremberg. After the trial IG Farben was dissolved and ceased to exist, with a settlement of 30 million Mark. Among its several successor companies, some like Hoechst or Bayer Leverkusen soon emerged as transnational companies again. This paper has a twofold purpose: first, it explores the ways in which these companies were confronted with and addressed their legacy and their historical accountability for the past; second, it explores if they became again involved in atrocity crimes and human rights violations. The paper is based on a data base with more than 100 cases after 1945.
Keywords: EUROC, ECACTJ, Nuremberg Trials, successor company, redress, compensation claim
Author: van Baar Annika , Utrecht University Erasmus School of Law

P. Engelen, J. van Erp, L. Enneking , Utrecht University
Title: Reputational Penalties for Corporate Human Rights Violations: an Event Study Based on Business and Human Rights Resource Center Data
Increased transparency about implications of corporate activities on human rights is often assumed to contribute to prevention of corporate human rights violations, as negative publicity following violations may generate reputational damage for corporations. However, whether and when such reputational damage actually occurs, and in what shape, is unknown. This paper uses an event study design to investigate stock market reactions to disclosure of corporate human rights transgressions as one aspect of reputational damage. Stakeholders, have been prominent in holding corporations accountable, public concern and moral indignation over CSR transgressions has risen over the past 10 years, and increased exposure on social media has made the damage of corporate human rights violations more visible .The study based on data from the Business and Human Rights he Resource Center, including ca 200 events. The effects of information about corporate human rights violations on their (stock) market value and reputational damage (e,g, customer boycotts) are examined.
Keywords: EUROC, ECACTJ, CSR, event study, reputational damage, business and human rights
Author: Saeed Huma , KU Leuven

Title: Socio-Economic Harm as Economic-State Crime: Analysis of an Empirical Finding at the Intersection of Transitional Justice and Criminology
Transitional justice discourse and practice has often overlooked the inclusion of socio-economic harm during violent conflicts in its various mechanisms. Nevertheless, an emerging discourse has been increasingly critical of this approach. Building on this evolving tradition, in this presentation I argue that certain types and degrees of socio-economic harm, such as excessive land grabbing, can amount to economic-state crime where individuals, as state apparatus, are often involved. Empirically, this argument will be grounded in the case study of land and property harm in Kabul, Afghanistan. The question of access to land and property is a critical one for a large number of the population as, on the one hand, decades of violent conflict have produced millions of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and, on the other, public and private lands have been grabbed by powerful warlords, most of whom happen to be human rights violators from the past regimes, currently functioning as state dignitaries in various capacities. To this end, the result of empirical findings from two periods of qualitative fieldwork (2013 and 2014) with war victims in Kabul will be presented. The presentation, through a theoretical and empirical analysis, will demonstrate and conclude that in weak and fragile contexts not only a symbiotic relationship exist between economic crime and state crime, but that such crimes can also amount to crimes against humanity, given their gravity and extent.
Keywords: EUROC, ECACTJ, land property, economic state crime, Afghanistan
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