Over a period of two years, the Project Advisers conducted a series of global consultations with prosecutors, investigators, academics and other experts specialising in criminal prosecution and investigation as well as international criminal law and human rights law. Drawing from the findings of the consultations, the Project’s Independent Commission of Experts (“experts”) developed the Principles to advance investigations and prosecutions in human rights cases.

The Independent Commission of Experts

The nine Experts were chosen due to their expertise in relevant subject areas, including international criminal law and human rights law, and to represent a diversity of legal jurisdictions. The Commission is co-chaired by Justice Ian Binnie, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and Professor Anita Ramasastry, an expert in anti-corruption and business and human rights.

Consultations with Civil Society and Law Enforcement

From February 2014 to May 2016, the Project Advisers, together with the Experts, conducted a series of confidential consultations with over 120 law enforcement officials, including investigators and prosecutors, legal experts, non-government organisations (NGOs) and academics. The consultations were conducted in person, or via telephone, written questionnaire or correspondence. The Project Advisers conducted 57 individual consultations and five group consultations held in Bangkok, Addis Ababa, New York, London and The Hague. The consultations included representatives from twenty countries: Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, the United Kingdom and the United States. Methodology vi The individuals consulted specialised in a wide range of legal disciplines, such as international human rights law; international criminal law; environmental law; commercial and finance law; economic crime law including bribery, corruption, money laundering and economic sanctions; and general criminal law.

Drafting of the Principles

Working sessions between the Experts and the Project Advisers took place over a one-year period, including three in-person meetings. During this period, proposals and text were formulated for addressing key challenges identified during the consultations. The final draft was presented at the last of those meetings, which also involved individuals external to the Project from law enforcement as well as NGOs.

During the consultations, cases were discussed to illustrate both the problems and successes in pursuing investigations and prosecutions against corporate actors. While some of these cases are not specific to human rights, they have been included in the Principles for illustrative purposes along with an accompanying explanation.