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How to Judge Safety Crime: Lessons From the Eternit Asbestos Maxi-Trials

Abstract : When it comes to occupational injury, disease, and fatalities, criminal prosecution and punishment is the exception. This paper focuses on three loopholes in legal strategy that make it difficult for determined social movements and committed prosecutors to secure conviction against corporate executives: they are the notions (1) that "modern" industrial risk is by essence impersonal and diluted, making the assignment of individual responsibility difficult or impossible, (2) that industrial hazard is foreign to any notion of intention, fault or responsibility, (3) that the certainty of the causal link between exposure and damages must be established for each victim on a purely individual, rather than statistical, basis. I describe how Italian prosecutors sought to circumvent these loopholes in the Eternit asbestos maxi-trials. Although there appear to be solid legal workarounds for the first and second loophole, the third one remains problematic, calling for urgent political and legal imagination.
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Contributor : Pascal Marichalar <>
Submitted on : Monday, December 2, 2019 - 10:22:35 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 4:05:03 AM
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Pascal Marichalar. How to Judge Safety Crime: Lessons From the Eternit Asbestos Maxi-Trials. New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, SAGE Publications, 2019, 29 (2), pp.205-223. ⟨10.1177/1048291119852420⟩. ⟨halshs-02388784⟩