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39 Int'l L. News 1 (2010)

handle is hein.journals/inrnlwnw39 and id is 1 raw text is: LAW NEWS

I  NTER 2010
SECTION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW

VOL 39 NO. I
AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION

Corporate Social Responsibility:
What's International Law Got to Do with It?
By Suzanne A. Spears
Damn it! There are hundreds of locals outside shouting at us to leave the country, my client complained. Another group
has been camped out across the main road to the mine for a week. It's costing us a fortune. They say we've been polluting
their water supply and paying paramilitaries to rough up their leaders.
What could be done using international law-as it is today-to help or to confront this company? The short answer is
not much. The company might be able to argue that the host-government was failing to meet an obligation to provide
full protection and security to the foreign-owned mine under an international investment treaty. But, if the company com-
plained, the paramilitaries might turn up again, which would increase the risk to the company's reputation and hits legal
exposure. The company also might need to go to international arbitration, which would be embarrassing if the tribunal
decided to take the community's view of the situation or the company's own behavior into account.
The community might argue that the host-government was failing to meet its obligation to protect the community
from abuse by private actors under international human rights law. But the community would not be able to find an
international forum in which to confront the company directly and it would have difficulty finding a basis on which to
continued on page 4

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