The International Legal Framework against Corruption: Achievements and Challenges

By Wouters, Jan; Ryngaert, Cedric et al. | Melbourne Journal of International Law, June 2013 | Go to article overview

The International Legal Framework against Corruption: Achievements and Challenges


Wouters, Jan, Ryngaert, Cedric, Cloots, Ann Sofie, Melbourne Journal of International Law


The article provides a tour d'horizon of the current international legal framework against corruption, which has made substantial progress over the last two decades. Nevertheless, both the legal framework and its implementation continue to face challenges, some of which must be addressed to ensure tangible improvements in the struggle against corruption. Part II of the article sketches the genealogy of the international legal framework regarding corruption, which was strengthened by the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, adopted after United States pressure that followed the passing of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Part Ill outlines the achievements of the main international anti-corruption instruments, complementing the discussion by highlighting their main deficiencies. Special attention is paid to the United Nations and Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development instruments, as well as to the Council of Europe's monitoring mechanism, the Group of States against Corruption. Asia remains remarkably absent from the discussion, as the last continent without a regional anti-corruption convention. Anti-corruption initiatives within the international financial institutions and the most important private initiatives are also discussed. Part IV of the article identifies thematic challenges to the current global anti-corruption framework: definitional problems and cultural gift-giving practices; jurisdictional challenges regarding foreign corruption practices; asset recover; the link between corruption and good governance and that between corruption and human rights; and private sphere corruption.

CONTENTS

  I Introduction
 II A Genealogy of the Global Anti-Corruption Framework
III International Anti-Corruption Instruments
      A The United Nations Convention against Corruption
          1 Background
          2 Ratification Status
          3 Scope: Prevention, Criminalisation and International
            Cooperation
          4 Monitoring
          5 Independent Domestic Anti-Corruption Authorities
      B European Instruments
          1 European Union
          2 Council of Europe
      C Other Regional Anti-Corruption Instruments
          1 Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and
            Development
          2 Inter-American Convention against Corruption
          3 African Instruments
      D Anti-Corruption Initiatives in International Financial
            Institutions
          1 World Bank
          2 Other Multilateral Financial Institutions
      E Private Initiatives
          1 Transparency International
          2 The International Chamber of Commerce
          3 Other Fora
 IV Challenges
      A Definition
          1 'Corruption' and 'Bribery'
          2 Facilitation Payments
          3 The Local Law Exception
          4 The Scope of Corrupt Acts Covered by the International
            Anti-Corruption Instruments
      B Extraterritorial Jurisdiction over Foreign Corrupt Practices
          1 The Jurisdictional Provisions of the Convention on
            Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in
            International Business Transactions and the United
            Nations Convention against Corruption
          2 The United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: the
            Benchmark
          3 Jurisdiction over Corruption in the United Kingdom
          4 Jurisdiction over Corruption in Belgium
          5 Jurisdiction over Corruption in the Netherlands
          6 Assessing the Exercise of Extraterritorial Jurisdiction
            over Corruption: Over- or Under-Regulation?
      C Asset Recovery
      D Corruption and Good Governance
      E Corruption and Human Rights
      F Corruption in the Private Sphere
  V Conclusion

'The adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption will send a clear message that the international community is determined to prevent and control corruption. …

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