Complementarity and Criminal Liability of Companies in Africa: Missing the Mark?

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The chapter explores the idea of accountability for international crimes in national courts in the context of Africa, pivoting from South Africa, with specific focus on the corporation as a juristic person. In doing so, the chapter asks the question whether in undertaking this exercise, debates about direct versus indirect liability and which platforms are best suited, we may be missing the mark. In other words, the chapter contends with whether the debate on corporate criminal accountability for international crimes and the reforms being advocated for have identified the correct person to hold accountable. The chapter situates the significance for accountability in a brief historical foregrounding of the relationship between the state and corporation in the founding South Africa, drawing parallels to Nigeria, the implications of continuing corporate harm and the relationship between the state and the corporation as juristic persons. In so doing the chapter aims to provide a brief critical historicism of the object of analysis: the juristic person of the corporation and problematise its nature. It systematically unpacks the meanings of the core concepts employed in this exercise: international crimes and accountability. The chapter also outlines the current accountability mechanisms for international crimes across international and domestic platforms and their limitations. It considers regional mechanisms, as collective power to support increased domestic control the parameters of juristic personality, that emerge as a possible solution to navigate the challenges that both international and domestic levels present.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNational Accountability for International Crimes in Africa
EditorsEmma Charlene Lubaale, Ntombizozuko Dyani-Mhango
ISBN (Electronic)N 978-3-030-88044-6
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2022

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