Due diligence and the extraterritorial application of human rights

17 January 2020
  • Starts at: 16:00h
  • Fee: Free
  • Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Organiser: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Address: R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22
    2517 JN The Hague
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Various (universal and regional) parts of the practice of the international human rights law are currently showing signs of a loosening of the notion of “jurisdiction” as a ground for the application of human rights. The justification for this development seems primarily to lie in easing the conditions under which human rights duties can arise for States in extraterritorial circumstances where they exercize no effective (personal or spatial) control over the right-holders. This is particularly relevant when extraterritorial human rights violations are caused by multinational corporations incorporated under the law of the given State (or somehow controlled by it) or when they occur through environmental harm whose causes lie somehow under the control of that State. This conference will start by unpacking the various strands of this developing practice to identify and assess what the proposed criteria of jurisdiction could be in those cases (besides causation), before examining how the proposed duties and their grounds actually relate to the standard of due diligence in general and specific international law. A more general reflection on the role of due diligence in international law and the state of international human rights law will ensue.

Samantha Besson is Professor at the Collège de France, Paris where she holds the Chair “Droit international des institutions” and Part-Time Professor of Public International Law and European Law at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland). She has a Law Degree in Swiss and European Law (Universities of Fribourg and Vienna, lic.iur., 1996), a Magister Juris in European and Comparative Law (Balliol College, University of Oxford, M.Jur., 1998), a PhD in Law (University of Fribourg, 1999) and a Habilitation in Legal Theory and Swiss, Comparative, European and International Constitutional Law (University of Bern, 2004). Samantha Besson has been a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Zurich (2007-10), Duke (2009), Lausanne (2010), Lisbon (2010-2019), Harvard (2014; Jeremiah Smith, Jr., Visiting Professor) and Penn (2019; Bok Visiting International Professor). She has also been invited to teach in various capacities at the Hague Academy of International Law: as Coordinator of the Seminar of Advanced Study in Public and Private International Law (2009-13), Director of Studies (2013) and Teacher of a Special Course (2020). Samantha Besson’s research interests lie in the interface of public international law, European Union public law and legal philosophy, and in particular in international, European and comparative human rights law and theory, international and European responsibility law, and democratic theory. She is currently finalizing a short monograph in French entitled La “due diligence” en droit international (Recueil des cours de l’Académie de droit international de La Haye, Brill 2021).

‘Global Europe’ project
The ‘Global Europe’ project is part of the research strand Advancing Public Interest by the Asser Institute. The project explores the EU’s identity as a global actor. What are the global effects of EU law? And what are the external and internal challenges that may affect the Union’s aspirations as a global actor, and the reach of its regulatory power outside its territory? Ultimately, the project deals with questions of trust pertaining to the EU as an international legal actor. 

The ‘Global Europe’ project is led by Dr Eva Kassoti and Dr Narin Idriz. For more information about the project click here