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Past and Present of Corporate Complicity for Financing Human Rights Abuses: The Relevance of the Cassese report

The following is a guest post by Professor Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky. Dr. Bohoslavsky is currently the Program Director for the LL.M in Global Administrative Law at the University of Rio Negro, in Patagonia, Argentina. He also works as a legal consultant for the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Salamanca (2007) and a European Doctorate after conducting his doctoral research at the Economic Department of the University of Vienna (2004-5). He holds a Bachelor in Law (National University of Comahue, Patagonia, 1999) and an LL.M. in Corporate law from Austral University (Buenos Aires, 2002). From 2008-09 he was a Hauser Global Fellow at New York University School of Law. In 2010 was visiting researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and Int. Law.

He has also defended the Argentine state in the International Chamber of Commerce; has been a consultant of the Federal Planning minister and Defense minister of Argentina; and was the founder and managing director of the national water supply company in Argentina.


In 1977, Professor Antonio Cassese was appointed by the UN Human Rights Commission as Special Rapporteur with a specific mandate to assess the relationship between financial aid received by the Pinochet regime and human rights violations that the people of Chile were experiencing then.

Cassese reaches the following conclusion: “(…) Foreign economic assistance largely serves to strengthen and underpin the economic system adopted by the Chilean authorities, which in turn needs to rely on the suppression of civil and political rights. The findings confirm that the mass of the current economic assistance is instrumental in the consolidation and perpetuation of the ongoing crackdown on those rights…”

The report was inexplicably ignored for decades. In his final work of more than 260 pages Cassese developed a sophisticated legal and economic methodology for assessing the impact of financial aid on the situation of human rights. This is a noteworthy contribution that could be relevant in the current debate about corporate responsibility and complicity, especially by the financial sector. Who is interested in downloading his four volumes report: http://alumnosmdag.blogspot.com/2010/12/informe-del-prof-antonio-cassese-sobre.html

This holistic approach assessing the link between financial aid and massive human rights abuses helped us to develop the research of the Argentinean’s and Chilean’s last dictatorships and their financial dimensions:

(Argentina)
http://harvardhrj.com/2010/10/the-past-and-present-of-corporate-complicity-financing-the-argentinean-dictatorship/

(Chile)
http://jicj.oxfordjournals.org/content/8/3/829.short

There is a civil case in Buenos Aires in which victims are suing foreign banks based on corporate responsibility for finance complicity. University of Essex and CELS submitted in this case an amicus curiae which can be downloaded here: http://www.business-humanrights.org/Search/SearchResults?SearchableText=financing+gross+human&x=0&y=0

Prof. Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky
LLM Global Administrative Law Program Director
Universidad Nacional de Río Negro
Patagonia, Argentina

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