International criminal law is concerned with holding perpetrators responsible for the gravest crimes committed by humanity. The larger and more heinous the crime, however, the more complicated the prosecution. Identifying the relevant actors, producing sufficient evidence to impose liability, and bringing criminals to justice is a challenging endeavor. This complex process becomes even more daunting when factoring in complicit actors. This Note discusses the different legal mechanisms to hold individual corporate officers criminally liable for complicity in committing crimes against humanity and other human rights atrocities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“DRC”) as a result of their participation in the conflict mineral trade. Part I provides an overview of the conflict in the DRC, where rebel groups have profited off the conflict mineral trade for over a decade, committing atrocious crimes against civilians in their wake, and then addresses how corporations have contributed to the ongoing violence. Next, Part II defines the elements of crimes against humanity and analyzes how the atrocities committed in the DRC satisfy them. Then, Part III addresses the three potential mechanisms of liability: accomplice liability, superior responsibility, and joint criminal enterprise: category three (“JCE III”), by looking at each mechanism’s elements and any differences between the different international courts. Finally, Part IV applies each of these legal mechanisms to the actions of individual corporate officers in facilitating these crimes in the DRC by way of financing the conflict mineral trade and analyzes whether or not these actors could be liable for their actions.
Conflict Minerals and Crimes Against Humanity in the DRC: How to Hold Individual Corporate Officers Criminally Liable,
Notre Dame L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.nd.edu/ndlr/vol94/iss3/9