Recognizing Corporate Crime Victims in the Framework of Human Rights

Gudrun Vande Walle, University of Ghent

ABSTRACT
Powerless victims of corporate crime are a neglected and underdeveloped category in criminological discourse. People suffering physical damage because of economical politics lack a remedy to settle the conflict or to ask compensation. We put this down to the criminal definition of corporate crime and the maladjustment of the criminal system to the power of corporations. The failure of this locally oriented criminal justice system to control a global economy, leads us to the question if the standards of economic human rights don't give a better answer to the harm victims suffer because of corporate misconduct. We develop this hypothesis based on a case study of pharmaceutical industries' patent law and the victims of this economic regulation. The legality of this economic rule bumps into the declaration of human rights that provides basic medical care. At the same time the economic system obliges the obedience of countries to economic rules with possibly a victimization of its own population. We explore a human rights based criminal policy and the adjustment of criminal laws' ideology to the rights of corporate crime victims.

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Updated 05/20/2006