BBC Radio 4's Law in Action was broadcast on Friday, 19 November 2004 at 1600 GMT.
Can businesses be held legally responsible for the crimes committed by authoritarian regimes in countries that they do business in?
A court case in the US could decide that principle. US lawyer, Michael Hausfeld, has filed a law suit in New York on behalf of survivors of apartheid era violence against businesses such as Barclays and Shell Oil.
Last month, he met some of his clients in a Johannesburg Church to discuss the case and hear their stories.
Sam McAlister reports and talks to Michael Hausfeld and Leon Louw, Executive Director of the Free Market Foundation of South Africa.