Civil Society to the CoSP: Corruption Victims Are Entitled to Compensation

The Council of State Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, the governments of the now 188 nations that have ratified the Convention, meets this week to review its implementation.  

When it comes to prosecuting bribery, embezzlement, and other corruption crimes, progress has been made. The UN Office of Drugs and Crime reports that “[i]n a considerable number of countries, legislative amendments and structural reforms have produced coherent and largely harmonized criminalization regimes, tangible results in terms of enforcement capabilities and action.”

But the Convention’s “enforcement capabilities and action” extend beyond criminal prosecution.  Article 35 requires state parties to ensure those injured “as a result of an act of corruption” can enforce a claim for damages against the perpetrators.

Here little progress has been made.  The UNODC, Transparency International, academics (here and here), and this writer have all found that few corruption victims have recovered damages. 

The UNCAC Coalition, a global network of over 350 civil society organizations in 100 plus countries, urges the CoSP to address this gap in implementation.  In a formal submission, the coalition offers a series of recommendations to see that victims, either individually or through a class or representative action, can recover full compensation for the harm caused by corruption. It’s timely and important submission is here.

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