Are corporations subject to international law? A corporation seems to be subject to international law just as much as an individual is, at least according to a decision made by the U.S. against Talisman Energy.
In 2001 the Presbyterian Church of Sudan filed a lawsuit against the Canadian oil and gas producer, Talisman Energy, under the US Alien Tort Claims Act, which provides US courts with original jurisdiction over certain tort claims filed by aliens. In the suit, it was claimed that Talisman aided the Government of Sudan in the commission of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. According to the claim, Talisman worked alongside the Sudanese Government in the creation of buffer zones around certain oil fields, which effectively assisted human rights violations and the perpetration of international crimes in order to gain access to oil by displacing the population living in the areas around the oil fields and attacking their villages.
The District Court of New York dismissed the claim on 12 September 2006. On 3 October 2009, the decision was affirmed by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Court of Appeals held that, due to previous case law, it had to look at international law to decide what standard was applicable to establishing aiding and abetting liability for human rights violations. Turning to international law, the Court held that purposefully intending the violations, rather than knowledge of the violations alone, was the applicable standard. So, in order to determine liability under the Alien Tort Claims Act the plaintiffs must show that “Talisman acted with the “purpose” to advance the Government’s human rights abuses.” The Court held that the claimants had failed to establish that Talisman “acted with the purpose to support the Government’s offences”.
However, I am wondering if it applies to all companies and under any situation. I couldn't really find anything about this.