“Grand corruption or ‘kleptocracy’ - the abuse of public office for personal profit by a nation’s leaders - is not a victimless crime.
As then Prime Minister David Cameron explained in 2016, corrupt governments: siphon off resources that should be devoted to the health and education of their citizens; generate migrants drowning in the Mediterranean; and convert their citizens into constituents for terrorists. Indignation at grand corruption is destabilizing many nations and, in the process, creating grave dangers for international peace and security.
As then United States Secretary of State John Kerry asserted, ‘the quality of governance is no longer just a domestic concern.’ Yet, as Prime Minister Cameron noted, ‘when it comes to tackling corruption, the international community has looked the other way for far too long.’
Laws exist to combat corruption. 186 nations are parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (‘UNCAC’). Each has the laws UNCAC requires criminalizing extortion, bribery, and money laundering, and an international legal obligation to enforce those laws against their corrupt leaders. Yet grand corruption flourishes in many countries because corrupt leaders control the administration of justice.
To deter and diminish grand corruption, it is essential that the statutes required by UNCAC be enforced. Greater transparency of beneficial ownership is necessary. Improved international cooperation in investigating the flow of the fruits of grand corruption is important. However, transparency and the acquisition of evidence are not ends in themselves. There must be an impartial International Anti-Corruption Court (‘IACC’) in which corrupt leaders can be held accountable.
— The Honorable Mark L. Wolf
Chair, Integrity Initiatives International