Document Type




By giving TNCs the “bystander” name, this Article attempts to take the rhetoric out of its sound-bite environment and examine it for what it is: a strategy with implications for corporate accountability. This Article attempts to distinguish the “bystander” label that TNCs employ, which conveys the idea of the innocent bystander, and the name of the bystander that this Article would like to adopt, which contemplates a party that is complicit to the underlying action even when it is inactive. The term “rhetoric” employed throughout this Article is used as a more generic term for discussions of TNCs within the international discourse. To the author’s knowledge, no one has ever used the bystander paradigm within the context of corporate accountability. Some scholars have discussed the role of bystanders within a larger accountability framework. However, the bystander framework has not yet been applied to issues of corporate accountability. This Article attempts to fill that gap by offering a new theoretical perspective, one that names the TNC as a “bystander” under international law. Giving the TNCs this name is important, because it allows us to move beyond the current framework—or lack thereof—for corporate accountability and instead move towards a realistic solution for TNCs under international law.



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