In too many nations, ruling elites rob the populace on a grand scale, awarding friends and relatives lucrative government contracts, siphoning off revenues from oil and other natural resources, even writing checks to themselves on the central bank. Curbing such “grand corruption” will require much: an active, informed citizenry; coordinated international action; vigorous diplomacy; shrewd application of international sanctions.
A new volume from the Open Society Justice Initiative, pictured below, describes how civil society can mobilize courts of law in the struggle. It recounts efforts that range from using international tribunals to force government to address corruption, as the Nigerian NGO SERAP’s case before the court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States illustrates, to bringing suit against a kleptocratic ruler in a foreign jurisdiction, as Sherpa and TI-France did against Equatorial Guinean Vice President Teodoro Obiang, to the creative use of domestic law doctrines common to most legal systems to force wrongdoers to answer for their crimes in their own courts.
Grand corruption is behind many of the globe’s most pressing problems: massive environmental degradation, gross human rights abuses, large-scale emigration. Taming it must be a priority for the global community. Legal Remedies for Grand Corruption offers an important set of tools for doing so.