“Corporations have neither bodies to be punished, nor souls to be condemned, they, therefore, do as they like.” — Edward, Lord Thurlow, 1731–1806
Modern corporations are key participants in the new globalized economy. As such, they have been accorded tremendous latitude and granted extensive rights. However, accompanying obligations have not been similarly forthcoming. Chief among them is the obligation not to commit atrocities or human rights abuses in the pursuit of profit.
Multinational corporations are increasingly complicit in genocides that occur in the developing world. While they benefit enormously from the crime, they are immune from prosecution at the international level. Prosecuting Corporations for Genocide proposes new legal pathways to ensure such companies are held criminally liable for their conduct by creating a framework for international criminal jurisdiction. If a state or a person commits genocide, they are punished, and international law demands such. Nevertheless, corporate actors have successfully avoided this through an array of legal arguments which Professor Kelly challenges. He demonstrates how international criminal jurisdiction should be extended over corporations for complicity in genocide and makes the case that it should be done promptly.