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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: April 2020

4 - Truth-Telling from Below

from Part II - Accountability from Below


There is an assumption that truth commissions have not taken on corporations for their complicity in past human rights abuses. The aim of this chapter is to expose the truths about corporate complicity hidden in truth commissions’ reports. It analyzes truth commissions’ potential as a non-judicial transitional justice corporate accountability mechanism. It considers models that truth-gathering instruments might incorporate in future efforts at corporate accountability.

The chapter begins with an analysis of truth commissions’ efforts to unveil the story of corporate complicity in past violence. It challenges the notion that economic actors were peripheral to, or unwilling partners in, authoritarian state and armed conflict human rights abuses. It magnifies the details of these truths that have been overlooked. It then attempt to explain how the truth about corporate complicity made it into these reports, drawing on our Archimedes’ Lever analogy. In the conclusion, it explores strategies to promote corporate accountability through new truth-gathering processes.

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