CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, June 17, 2016

Binder on Application of Criminal Law to Disasters

Binder denisDenis Binder (Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law) has posted The Application of Criminal Law to Disasters and Tragedies in Asia and the Pacific Islands on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The New Millennium has witnessed a substantial increase in criminal prosecutions in disasters and tragedies. Common examples include structural failures, maritime accidents, and mining disasters. They may or may not entail substantial environmental damage. Loss of life is a common denominator. Even "natural disasters" usually have a major human component in causing the resulting magnitude of the catastrophe.

The Asian and Pacific Island countries are leading the way in these prosecutions, which often include officials for dereliction in office, often corruption. China and India have by far the most prosecutions.

Public attention are focused on these failures through social media and the omnipresence of smart phones and tablets with digital photo and video capabilities. Incidents quickly go viral on the internet.

The two parts of this posting substantially overlap. Part I is a descriptive account of all the cases. Part II focuses on the experiences of five countries, Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, and South Korea, illustrating changes in enforcement activity and changes in government and society through tragic accidents. For example, Bangladesh has to confront the horrific working condition and dangers in its large garment factories because of the Rana Plaza Collapse. South Korea had major government changes due to the tragic sinking of the Sewol Ferry.

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