Human Rights and Transnational Companies: Responsibility without Accountability

Domenico Carolei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This manuscript falls in the area of business and human rights, providing a critical analysis of UN initiatives aimed to define human rights responsibilities for transnational corporations (TNCs). Essentially, this research demonstrates how efforts made by UN, through the mere definition of human rights responsibilities, do not establish a clear link between responsibility and accountability of TNCs. Taking for granted that only States possess all indications of international legal personality for being subjected to the legal norms of the human rights regime, the main issue concerns the accountability dimension of TNCs for human rights abuses. In such context emerges that extraterritorial jurisdiction is currently the only way in which victims may hold TNCs to account for their violations when access to effective remedies is negated. This leads to the conclusion that a project to establish a link between responsibility and accountability for human rights violations of TNCs would be desirable, even though the definition of international legal obligations for TNCs could be practically inhibited from the state-centric nature of international human rights law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-195
Number of pages11
JournalBocconi Legal Papers
VolumeLaw and Business
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Business and Human Rights
  • International Human Rights Law
  • International Public Law


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