The Concept of Due Diligence in International Law and FATF Regulations

Document Type : academic


1 Assistant Professor of Law at Farabi Campus University of Tehran

2 PhD student in International Law, University of Tehran


The concept of due diligence meaning the necessary vigilance and carefulness in fulfilling a legal obligation is one of international law principles which has significantly been confirmed and emphasized by international tribunals. Despite customary grounds of this principle's requirements, many treaties have incorporated and arranged it in contractual frameworks. The main domain of this principle is in the law of international responsibility, where implementation of states' obligations are examined, and it will be the basis for responsibility if a state fails to behave in accordance with due diligence requirements. As a matter of fact, that state does not observe the necessary carefulness in fulfilling its obligations. The importance of this principle is more tangible in state liability in  trans-boundary harms.
The principle of due diligence has entered into international financial regulation, including FATF recommendations, and has created some commitments for states and financial institutions. The concept of due diligence has been used in two exclusive and general meanings in FATF regulations having some similarities and differences with its implications in international law. Despite clarifying the concept of due diligence in international law and FATF Regulations, this article deals with these functional approximations and separations and their effects.


  • الف. فارسی

    ـ کتاب

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    ـ مقاله

    • پورهاشمی، عباس و مریم‌السادات موسوی؛ «مسئولیت بین‌المللی دولت‌ها در حقوق محیط‌زیست»، دانشنامه حقوق و سیاست، شماره 15، بهار و تابستان 1390.
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    ـ رساله

    • نجاتیان کاشانی، زهرا؛ وظیفه مراقبت در تحقق اصل پیشگیری، رساله دکتری حقوق­ بین­الملل، دانشکده حقوق دانشگاه شهید بهشتی، 1396.
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    ب. انگلیسی

    - Books

    • Black's Law Dictionary, "Due Diligence" entry, 8th ed., 1990.
    • Crawford, James, The International Law Commission’s Articles on State Responsibility, Cambridge University Press, 2002.
    • Wojnowska-Radzinska, Julia, The Right of an Alien to Be Protected Against Arbitrary Expulsion in International Law, Boston, Brill Nijhoff, 2014.
    • Yearbook of International Law Commission, vol. II, Part 2, 2001.


    - Articles

    • Crawford, James, “The ILC’s Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts: A Retrospect”, American Journal of International Law, vol. 96, Issue 4, 2002.
    • De Brabandere, Eric, “Host States' Due Diligence Obligations in International Investment Law”, Syracuse Journal of International Law and Commerce, vol. 42, No. 2, 2015.
      • Flemme, Maria, “Due Diligence in International Law”, Masters Thesis, Faculty of Law, University of Lund, 2004.
      • Gabor, Rona, “State Responsibility to Respect, Protect and Fulfil Human Rights Obligations in Cyberspace”, Journal of National Security in Law and Policy, vol. 8, No. 3, 2016.
      • Hessbruege,Jan, “The Historical Development of the Doctrines of Attribution and Due Diligence in International Law”, New York University Journal of International Law and Politics, vol. 36, 2004.
      • Jiménez, Alberto Alvarez, “Minimum Standard of Treatment of Aliens”, The Journal of World Investment & Trade, vol. 9, Issue 1, 2008.
      • Klein Bronfman, Marcela, “Fair and Equitable Treatment: An Evolving Standard”, Max Plank Yearbook of United Nations Law, vol. 10, 2006.
      • Pisillo-Mazzeschi, Riccardo, “Responsibility of States on Violation of Positive Obligations Relating to Human Rights”, Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law, vol. 333, 2009.
      • Pisillo-Mazzeschi, Riccardo, “The Due Diligence Rule and the Nature of the International Responsibility of States”, German Yearbook of International Law, vol. 35, Issue, 9, 1992.
      • Sassoli, Marco, “State Responsibility for Violations of International Humanitarian Law”, International Review of the Red Cross, vol. 84, Issue, 846. 1982.
      • Savovic, Sladjana and Dragana Pokrajcic, “Due Diligence as a Key Success Factor of Mergers and Acquisitions”, Actual Problems of Economics, vol. 6, Issue 144, 2013.
      • Sjostrom, William K. S., “The Due Diligence Defense under Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933”, Brandeis Law Journal, vol. 44, 2006.
      • Tuner, Nicholas, “The Financial Action Task Force: International Regulatory Convergence through Soft Law”, The New York Law School Law Review, vol. 59, 2014.
      • White, Nigel, “Due Diligence Obligations of Conduct: Developing a Responsibility Regime for PMSCs”, Criminal Justice Ethics, vol. 31, 2012.
      • Yotova, Rumiana, “The Principles of Due Diligence and Prevention in International Environmental Law”, Cambridge Law Journal, vol. 75Issue 3, 2016.


    - Cases and Arbitrations

    • Alabama Claims Arbitration (United States v. Great Britain), 14 September 1872, United Nations Reports of International Arbitral Awards (UNRIAA),XXIX.
    • Alasdair Ross Anderson et al v. Republic of Costa Rica, ICSID Case, No. ARB (AF)/07/, Award, 19 May 2010.
    • Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide(Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro), ICJ Report, Judgment, 26 February 2007.
    • Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Uganda) ICJ Rep, 19 December 2005.
    • Azurix Corp. v. The Argentine Republic, ICSID Case No. ARB/01/12, Award, 2006.
    • Biwater Gauff (Tanzania) Ltd. v. United Republic of Tanzania, ICSID Case No. ARB/05/22, Award, 2008.
    • Biwater Gauff Ltd. v. United Republic of Tanzania, ICSID Case, No. ARB/05/22, Award, 24 July, 2008.
    • Ceskoslovenska Obchodni Banka, A.S. v. The Slovak Republic, ICSID Case No. ARB/97/4, Award, 2004.
    • Corfu Channel Case (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania), 1949, ICJ Report.
    • International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, Duško Tadic Case, 15 July 1999.
    • Janes et al. (USA) v. United Mexican States, United Nations Reports of International Arbitral Awards (UNRIAA), vol. IV.
    • LFH Neer and Pauline Neer v. Mexico, (United States-Mexico), United Nations Reports of International Arbitral Awards (UNRIAA) IV, 15 October 1926.
    • Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), ICJ Report, Judgment, 26 November 1984.
    • National Grid plc v. The Argentine Republic, UNCITRAL, Award, 2008.
    • Neer and Neer (USA) v. United Mexican State, 15 October 1926, United Nations Reports of International Arbitral Awards (UNRIAA) IV.
    • Parkerings-Compagniet AS v. Lithuania, ICSID Case, No. ARB/05/8, Award, 11 September 2007.
    • Parkerings-Compagniet AS v. Republic of Lithuania, ICSID Case No. ARB/05/8, Award, 2007.
    • PNB v. Militar,  Supreme Court of the Philippines, case no: 164801, 30 June 2006, available at: gr_164801_2006.html.
    • Prosecutor v. Jean Paul Akayesu, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Judgment of 1 June 2001.
    • Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay), ICJ report, 20 April 2010.
    • Trail Smelter case (USA v. Canada), Arbitration Judgment, 11 March 1941, Reports of International Arbitral Awards (RIAA), vol. III, p. 1965, available at:


    - Reports and Reviews

    • Action Task Force, Annual Review of Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories 2006–2007: Eighth NCCT Review, at 4 (Oct. 12, 2007), available at: 2006% 202007%20NCCT%20ENG.pdf.
    • Campbell, Ellen and Colleagues, “Preventing Violations: The Promise of Due Diligence for the International Financial Corporation”, New York University School of Law, Report, 2016.
    • French, Duncan & Tim Stephens, “Due Diligence in International Law, International Law Association (ILA)”, Report, 2014.


    - Instruments and Conventions

    • Additional Protocol II, 8 June 1977, 1125 UNTS 3.
    • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1984, 1465 UNTS 85 (CAT).
    • Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, Council of Europe Treaty Series, No. 210, 2011.
    • Directive 2014/60/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012
    • FATF Guidance, Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Measures and Financial Inclusion, 2013, p. 28 available at: media/fatf/documents/reports/AML_CFT_Measures_and_Financial_Inclusion_2013.pdf
    • FATF, What do we do, available at:
    • FATF, Who we are, available at:
    • Geneva Conventions (I-IV),12 August 1949, 75 UNTS 287.
    • Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework, UN Human Rights Council, UN Doc. A/HRC/17/31, 21 March 2011.
    • Hague Regulations, Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land, annexed to Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, The Hague, 1907.
    • International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 2006, 2715 UNTS (CED).
    • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966, 999 UNTS 171 (ICCPR).
    • International Law Commission (ILC), Draft Articles on Prevention of Trans-boundary Harm from Hazardous Activities, 2001.
    • Interpretive Note, the FATF Recommendations, International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism & Proliferation, 2012.
    • Report of the International Law Commission, 53rd Session, UN Doc. A/56/10, 2001.
    • The FATF Recommendations, International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism & Proliferation
    • The Seabed Disputes Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on Responsibilities and Obligations of States Sponsoring Persons and Entities With Respect to Activities in the Area, Advisory Opinion, 1February 2011, ITLOS, Case No. 17
    • Third Party AML/CTF Customer Due Diligence Procedures, Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN, Version 2, 2018
    • UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, the Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights: An Interpretive Guide, 2012
    • UNCTAD, Bilateral Investment Treaties 1995–2006: Trends in Investment Rulemaking, New York and Geneva, 2007, p. 132, available at:
    • UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, article 4(1).