Date of Award

Fall 2002

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Law (SJD)



First Advisor

Sompong Sucharitkul

Second Advisor

Christian N. Okeke

Third Advisor

Michelle T. Leighton


This dissertation seeks to strengthen international law by incorporating and integrating multinational corporations more fully into the international legal system. It argues that the undeniable role of multinational corporations as primary players in the global economy and international politics necessitates or demands adequate acknowledgement in the international legal structure. Accordingly, due recognition should be accorded the rights and privileges of multinationals. Concomitant to that, corresponding duties and responsibilities should be attached to these corporate entities in international law.

Many far-reaching advantages will flow from such development. The corporations will enjoy de jure protection, which would enhance their business operations across countries. Their integration into the international scheme of things will also ensure that contrary to what obtains within the extant legal landscape, corporations are held accountable for their actions that have huge social, economic and environmental impact on the communities in which they operate and the globe as a whole. Finally, the triple problems of implementation, compliance and enforcement that have hung on the neck of international law as an albatross will be brought under control, as multinational corporations which contribute to the present unpalatable scenario in some form or the other, would be placed in a position that is antithetical to the current state of affairs.

Thus, this work, using the oil industry and existing international agreements and domestic instruments in that area, takes the innovative track of linking the compliance problem in international law with the corporate accountability question. Addressing the latter is tantamount to removing some of the obstacles that impede the achievement of the former, making imperative an approach that considers this linkage as an important issue.

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