What Legal Recourse Do Citizens of the World Have Against Market Crimes?
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Globalization has increased at an alarming speed during the last few decades, and each increase seems to have been accompanied by multiple violations of human rights. The problem is compounded because there is an almost total absence of international law that could prevent such violations or at least impose sanctions on the guilty multinational firms and financial institutions. French lawyer William Bourdon meets the challenge of confronting international market crimes head on in this hard-hitting and revealing new book.
Bourdon examines the disaster in Bhopal in 1984, the forced labor of energy giant Total working with the military dictatorship in Myanmar, and the equally ugly crimes of De Beers, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and many other firms that are not state owned. They may have legal immunity from the detrimental effects of their actions, but they are not immune from Bourdon’s years of experience fighting such crimes. In What Legal Recourse Do Citizens of the World Have Against Market Crimes? he evaluates the effectiveness—or ineffectiveness—of legal actions taken by civil society against global corporations.
Bourdon throws fresh light on the obstacles that victims of globalization have encountered and shows how these corporations continue their victimization. He also highlights how the opacity of governing and commercial bodies works in the favor of the perpetrators of these crimes. The efforts large corporations claim to undertake to adhere to moral and social codes are shown to be “façades of humanization” by Bourdon. Today he presides over the not-for-profit association Sherpa, a French network of jurists dedicated to promoting social responsibility. Their aim is to create an international legal framework to enforce the social responsibility of corporations. With unstoppable determination, Bourdon explores many innovative courses of action that could be taken anywhere and by anyone to fight all new forms of human rights violations due to globalization.
William Bourdon : William Bourdon is a lawyer who specializes in the defense of human rights of victims of globalization and fighting crimes against humanity. He was the General Secretary of the International Federation of Human Rights from 1995 to 2000. In 2000, he wrote the essay “La cour pénale internationale” (Seuil), and in 2001, he created Sherpa. In 2006, he appeared as himself in the role of a lawyer for African plaintiffs in the film Bamako by Abderrahmane Sissako. He has been very active in initiating legal procedures in France against former Serbian and Rwandan leaders suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes. He is also the lawyer for Franco-Chilean families who were victims of former dictator Augusto Pinochet and defends several French prisoners in Guantánamo.