Academic journal article Proceedings of the Annual Meeting-American Society of International Law

International Law and the Fight against Corruption

Academic journal article Proceedings of the Annual Meeting-American Society of International Law

International Law and the Fight against Corruption

Article excerpt

This panel was convened at 2:45 p.m., Thursday, April 10, by its moderator, Sabine Konrad of Dewey & LeBoeuf, who introduced the panelists: Ahmed Jehani of the Economic Development Board of Libya; Robert Leventhal of the U.S. State Department; Aloysius P. Llamzon of Ateneo de Manila University Law School; and Glenn T. Ware of PriceWaterhouseCoopers (formerly Chief Investigative Counselor, Department of Institutional Integrity, World Bank). * ([dagger])


By Sabine Konrad ([double dagger])

Corruption ranks among the most significant obstacles to good governance, development, and commerce throughout the world. International law has made headway in the fight against corruption in recent times, but significant progress remains to be made, particularly in countries where economic development is a challenge. This panel assessed the impact that international law has had on fighting corruption to date and considered what the future may hold in terms of progress on this front. In doing so, the panel explored how a growing number of international legal instruments has approached the problem of corruption, assessed the anti-corruption initiatives of international institutions relating to economic development, analyzed the trends and responses to corruption in the developing world, and reviewed the expanding jurisprudence relating to corruption issues in investor-state arbitration.

* The panel would like to thank Jonathan Sussman who served as reporter for this panel.

([dagger]) Mr. Jehani and Mr. Ware did not submit remarks for the Proceedings.

([double dagger]) Associate, Dewey & LeBoeuf.


By Robert Leventhal ([section])

There is now a series of regionally and substantively focused treaties on corruption, culminating most recently in the first global treaty--the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).

As recently as thirteen years ago, none Of these conventions existed. Now there is a wide body of defined and shared standards and measures. These conventions not only establish standards--they also express the highest-level recognition of the problem of corruption and a political commitment to cooperate to address it.

The path to the UNCAC was forged by the 1996 Inter-American Convention against Corruption; the 1997 OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions; the Council of Europe 1998 Criminal Law and 1999 Civil Law Conventions (1); and the 2003 African Union Convention. (2)

There are also EU instruments (3) and important instruments on related issues such as transnational organized crime and trafficking in persons (4), money laundering, etc., as well as "soft" initiatives in Eurasia (5), South Eastern Europe (6), Middle East/North Africa (7), and Asia (8), characterized by shared nontreaty commitments and coordinated capacity building.

We could likely spend all of our time on any one of the conventions. In brief, the InterAmerican Convention was the first multilateral instrument on corruption, and covers a range of optional preventive measures (9), mandatory but limited criminal provisions (10), and mutual legal assistance. At its inception, it lacked a follow-up mechanism, which was finally established in 2000 and is in its second round of peer reviews. (11) The United States is one of the thirty-three parties, and preparations are underway for next review of the United States in June 2008. Cites to implementing legislation and reports on country action are available on the OAS website.

The OECD Anti-bribery Convention is a substantively focused instrument targeting those who pay bribes to public officials to win or maintain business abroad, in effect internationalizing the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. (12) The United States deposited its instruments of ratification in December 1998, and the Convention came into effect in February 1999. …

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