Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Harvard Law School




The editors of this online symposium invited me to contribute to the subject of an argument I have recently advanced. This argument is that the world needs a permanent International Court of Civil Justice (ICCJ) to adjudicate cross-border mass torts. A common reaction to this proposal has been to suggest that the function of such an international court be assumed by one of the existing arbitration institutions or filled by a new one. I’d like to take this opportunity to argue against that idea.

Corporate atrocities, which are the symposium’s focus, may be crimes, but they also have a tort dimension. If corporations, for example, aid and abet the Argentine state torture apparatus or the Nigerian paramilitary campaign against protesters, they are also engaged in the torts of, respectively, battery and wrongful death. The crime-tort connection in this context in particular provides an opportunity to reflect on why the resolution of corporate international mass torts should be the province of public rather than private adjudication.


Part of the online symposium: An International Jurisdiction for Corporate Atrocity Crimes.

Video of Prof. Steinitz's response can be found here.

Find on SSRN Link to Publisher Site



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