Adam McBeth


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.