“Criminal Venture or ‘Business as Usual’? Corporate Accountability for Violations of International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”
Valentina Azarov’s research interests lie in the fields of international humanitarian law, international human rights law, the law on the use of force (jus ad bellum) and international refugee law. She has written and published on the responsibilities of the occupying power in international human rights law; interim government arrangements in time of occupation; the relationship between international human rights law and international humanitarian law; ‘erga omnes’ obligations in international law and economic sanctions; rules of attribution in international law of state responsibility; and international refugee law and the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
She obtained her LLB in European Legal Studies (Honours) from the University of Westminster in London, United Kingdom, and her LLM in International and European Law from the University of Geneva, in Switzerland.
At Bard, she spoke on the topic of corporate accountability work, which has, in recent years, become an important mechanism for the promotion and protection of human rights and international law. As non-state actors, multinational corporations are less immune to prosecution and do not benefit from the same veil of impunity maintained by states.
In response to this reality, Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization based in Ramallah, West Bank, set up the Accountability Project, which aims to use foreign national legal systems, where possible, to seek justice for violations of international law. The pursuit of accountability for corporate complicity, which is one of the avenues pursued by the Project, encompasses different dimensions as cases can be brought in a number of different legal forums, and through a variety of judicial and non-judicial mechanisms. The need to hold companies to account for their role in facilitating and contributing to human rights abuses is becoming essential in the effort to provide victims with means of recourse against harms suffered and to combat a ‘business as usual’ approach to Israel’s occupation. The use of civil and criminal liability laws to enforce compliance with human rights and international law has also become a pivotal tool for advocacy on the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and the enforcement of third party state (erga omnes) obligations to ensure respect for international law.