In October 2004, Congolese troops conducted violent reprisals for a minor
uprising in the small town of Kilwa, engaging in summary executions,
rape, torture, pillaging, and other human rights atrocities. Allegations
that a multinational corporation, Anvil Mining, provided logistical
assistance for the military's actions led to calls for the company and its
employees to face legal responsibility. This article examines the
deployment of the multitude of legal and quasi-legal accountability
mechanisms available in the Anvil case, including civil and criminal
avenues in the home and host states, the application of international
criminal law and the use of international "soft law" mechanisms. In
examining the way those avenues were used in the Anvil case, this article
attempts to illustrate the practical relationship between the multiple
avenues theoretically available for imposing human rights accountability
on multinational corporations, including a consideration of non-legal
factors affecting decisions on whether and how to assert jurisdiction
within a given avenue. It concludes that the incoherence of a fragmented,
ad hoc system, and the central importance of political will in invoking a
given avenue, present serious problems for the effective enforcement of
human rights responsibility for multinational corporations.
"Crushed by an Anvil: A Case Study on Responsibility for Human Rights in the Extractive Sector,"
Yale Human Rights and Development Journal:
1, Article 8.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yhrdlj/vol11/iss1/8