Prosecuting Corruption as an International Crime

22 November 2013, by Akaash Maharaj.

At the most recent Global Conference of Parliamentarians Against Corruption, held in Manila, Philippines, in February, the membership of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) unanimously mandated GOPAC to seek to establish grand corruption as a crime under international law in order to enable international institutions and alliances to pursue, apprehend, prosecute, judge and ultimately sentence the guilty.

GOPAC’s members clearly felt that there are some forms of corruption so grave, whose effects on human life, human rights and human welfare are so catastrophic, that they should shock the conscience of the international community and mobilise the will of nations to act across borders.

Since February, GOPAC has been working with its chapters and international partners to explore the options that would fulfil the mandate given by its members. This month, GOPAC is pleased to present a discussion paper laying out these options, which you can download here.

Each potential path forward has its advantages and disadvantages, and each strikes a different balance between the ideal and the possible. GOPAC will hold an in-depth discussion on these options at our Forum of Parliamentarians, to be held on Wednesday, 27 November, at the Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the UN Convention against Corruption, in Panama City.

If you will be attending the COSP, we encourage you to attend our Forum of Parliamentarians and to participate in the debate.

If you are not able to be present in Panama City, you can still contribute your views by sending a written submission to the GOPAC Global Secretariat by Monday, 25 November, to email hidden; JavaScript is required. We will compile the submissions and ensure that they inform the discussion. We will also send all of our members a summary of the findings from the Forum.

Too often, the perpetrators of grand corruption are able to use their illicit wealth and power to distort and evade domestic justice. As a result, the worst perpetrators of corruption can be the least likely to be called to account. Through this initiative, we have a chance to stand together and stand against this injustice. I hope you will help us seize the opportunity.

About Akaash Maharaj

Akaash Maharaj is Executive Director of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC).