James Stewart is writing a manual setting out the legal basis for prosecuting arms vendors for complicity in international crimes, such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. He argues that prosecuting corporate actors and their representatives for international crimes would enable courts to influence the trajectory of ongoing conflicts, rather than merely dispensing justice once violence has run its course.
Stewart's work is based on the principle that both corporations and their representatives are bound by international criminal law, and that currently, corporate social responsibility does not adequately draw on this reality. He expects that his project will give activists and policy makers new and powerful tools to compel corporate compliance in the arms trade, and offer new insights into the potential of international criminal justice.
Stewart teaches law at the University of British Columbia and was the architect and principal legal consultant to the Open Society Institute for the Pillage Project, which helped clarify the basis for prosecuting corporate entities and their representatives for the war crime of pillaging natural resources in war zones. Previously, he worked as an Appeals Counsel for the Office of the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and as part of a prosecutorial trial team at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
In November 2012, he received the Aurora Prize, the leading academic award in Canada for pre-tenured professors across all social sciences.