Corporate Criminal Liability and Complicity in Crimes Against Humanity: Case Note on Recent French Jurisprudential Developments

Document Type : Original Article


1 Law School, University of Edinburgh

2 Autorité de la concurrence, France

3 Law School, University of Ghent



This article provides insight into corporate criminal liability as construed in French criminal law. It discusses specifically the history and contingency of the development of corporate criminal liability in French law and its legacy considering the decision of the Cour de cassation in the Lafarge cases. These landmark decisions are the first of their kind rendered by a supreme court anywhere in the world. They acknowledge that corporations, and no longer only directors of companies or corporations, may be found guilty of aiding and abetting terrorism if they have funded known terrorist organisations for business purposes. The decisions also clarify the limited circumstances where interest groups may be founded to bring private prosecutions to this effect. Given the foregoing, this paper outlines in detail the decisions of the Cour de cassation in Lafarge, analyses and contextualises their significance, and offers a long view that considers possible international developments.


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