This report compiles all relevant news,
events and materials on Doing Business Right based on the daily coverage
provided on our twitter feed @DoinBizRight and on various websites. You are
invited to complete this compilation via the comments section below. Feel free
to add links to important cases, documents and articles we might have
Shell-Eni Bribery Case: On 5 March, the corporate bribery trial against oil companies Shell
and Eni was postponed to 14 May by a court in Milan, Italy. The charges against the companies are bribery
and corruption in the 2011 purchase of a Nigerian offshore oilfield, one of the
most valuable oilfields in Africa. Although both firms denied
the charges, the corruption watchdog Global Witness claimed
that hundreds of millions of dollars had been paid to Nigeria’s former
president and his former oil minister as pocket bribes. Global Witness calls
the case one of the biggest corruption scandals in the history of the oil
sector. The trial in the Milan court is expected to last 12-18 months.
Jesner v. Arab Bank: On 24 April, in a 5-4 vote, the US Supreme Court ruled in
v. Arab Bank case that foreign corporations cannot be brought before US
courts under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). Between 2004 and 2010, thousands of
foreign nationals sued Arab Bank under the ATS, claiming that the Bank’s
officials allowed money transfers through the New York branch of the Bank to
Hamas who committed violent acts in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The Supreme Court held that foreign corporations cannot be sued under the ATS.
Furthermore, the Court claimed that international law today does not recognize
“a specific, universal, and obligatory norm of corporate [tort] liability”,
which is a prerequisite to bringing a lawsuit under the ATS. In the Court’s
lead opinion, Justice Kennedy stated that "Courts are not well suited to
make the required policy judgments that are implicated by corporate liability
in cases like this one.” In her dissenting opinion joined by three other
justices, Justice Sotomayor claimed that the decision "absolves
corporations from responsibility under the ATS for conscience-shocking
Fifth Anniversary of Rana Plaza:
April 24th also marked the fifth anniversary of the deadly collapse of Rana
Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Rana Plaza was a five-story commercial building
which housed several garment factories employing around 5000 people. The global
outcry after the disaster which claimed at least 1134 lives led to numerous
initiatives to change business-as-usual in the garment and textile supply
chains in Bangladesh and beyond. Despite these initiatives which employed
various approaches to the issue of worker safety in the supply chains, it is widely
that there is still a long way to go to create a safe working environment for
workers in the garment and textile supply chains. On 12 April, the Asser
Institute hosted a one-day conference on Rana Plaza to take stock of the
regulatory and policy initiatives aimed at improving workers’ safety in the
garment supply chain (You will find our background paper here).
Okpabi v. Royal Dutch Shell - Episode. 3?
On 27 April, more than 40 UK and international human rights, development and
environment NGOs, later supported by
academics from different states, urged the UK Supreme Court to allow two
Nigerian fishing communities to appeal against the Okpabi v Royal Dutch Shell
ruling of the Court of Appeal in February which denied responsibility for
UK-based Royal Dutch Shell for the pipeline spills, dating back as far as 1989,
which affected approximately 40000 Nigerian farmers and fishermen. The NGOs claimed
that the Court of Appeal’s decision erred in many ways as it seriously restricts
parent company liability and limits the options available to victims of
corporate human rights violations seeking remedy in the UK.More...
Editor's Note: Catherine Dunmore is an experienced international lawyer who practised international arbitration for multinational law firms in London and Paris. She recently received her LL.M. from the University of Toronto and her main fields of interest include international criminal law and human rights. Since October 2017, she is part of the team of the Doing Business Right project at the Asser Institute.
This report compiles all relevant news, events and materials on Doing Business Right based on the daily coverage provided on our twitter feed @DoinBizRight. You are invited to complete this survey via the comments section below, feel free to add links to important cases, documents and articles we might have overlooked. More...
Tomáš Grell holds an LL.M.
in Public International Law from Leiden University. He contributes to
the work of the ASSER International Sports Law Centre as a research
Concerns about adverse
human rights impacts related to FIFA's activities have intensified ever since its
late 2010 decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cup to Russia and Qatar
respectively. However, until recently, the world's governing body of football
had done little to eliminate these concerns, thereby encouraging human rights
advocates to exercise their critical eye on FIFA.
In response to growing
criticism, the Extraordinary FIFA Congress, held in February 2016, decided to include an explicit
human rights commitment in the revised FIFA Statutes which came into force in April 2016. This commitment
is encapsulated in Article 3 which reads as follows: ''FIFA is committed to respecting all internationally recognized human
rights and shall strive to promote the protection of these rights''. At
around the same time, Professor John Ruggie, the author of the United Nations Guiding
Principles on Business and Human Rights ('UN Guiding
Principles') presented in his report 25 specific recommendations for FIFA on how to
further embed respect for human rights across its global operations. While
praising the decision to make a human rights commitment part of the
organization's constituent document, Ruggie concluded that ''FIFA does not have yet adequate systems in
place enabling it to know and show that it respects human rights in practice''.
With the 2018 World Cup
in Russia less than a year away, the time is ripe to look at whether Ruggie's
statement about FIFA's inability to respect human rights still holds true
today. This blog outlines the most salient human rights risks related to FIFA's
activities and offers a general overview of what the world's governing body of
football did over the past twelve months to mitigate these risks. Information
about FIFA's human rights activities is collected primarily from its Activity Update on Human Rights published alongside FIFA's Human Rights Policy in June 2017. More...