There is no longer any doubt that corruption does enormous harm – to individuals, businesses, governments, and whole societies. Nor is there any dispute that those harmed should have a right to recover damages for their injuries. In drafting the UN Convention Against Corruption, governments agreed quickly and without dissent upon what is now article 35. It requires parties to ensure their domestic law permit any person or entity harmed by corruption to “initiate legal proceedings against those responsible for the damage to obtain compensation.”
Yet what evidence there is shows article 35’s promise remains largely unfulfilled.
For the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the StAR Initiative, I am examining just how far there is to go for that promise to be met. With their resources and the help of the International Bar Association, I have reviewed the case law in close to one-third of the 187 UNCAC states parties. The most common victim recovery cases I find are those where a government agency or state-owned corporation has recovered damages when an employee took a bribe. In a few, courts have also awarded damages to third-parties harmed by the bribery. There are in addition a miscellany of actions I am still digesting covering actions by the competitors of a bribe-payer, consumers, and NGOs.
Below are the bribery victim cases I have located to date. A second post will review the other cases. Reader contributions and comments warmly solicited.Continue reading