Corporate Complicity in International Crimes through Arms Supplies despite National Authorisations?

In: International Criminal Law Review
Author: Kai Ambos 1 , 2
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  • 1 University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
  • 2 Judge KSC, The Hague, The Netherlands,

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I examine the criminal responsibility of companies for crimes committed with their exported weapons, even if that export was authorised by national authorities. Responsibility may rise directly from the national export control law and/or from (international) criminal law (icl) concerning (international) crimes committed. While (transnational) corporations have a due diligence obligation to prevent serious human rights violations, it is unclear how a national authorisation relates to this. Does it displace it, or is the authorisation overridden by the obligation? To better understand how a national authorisation procedure works, before analysing this issue from an icl perspective, I analyse German law regarding a recent case of weapons supply to Mexico. The situation under icl law is then examined regarding the Yemen complaint submitted to the International Criminal Court (icc). The article attempts some thoughts on dealing with this and similar cases, hoping to serve as a starting point for further debate.