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Parliamentarians Call for Fighting Grand Corruption as an International Crime

International - Monday, November 25, 2013

The Global Organization of Parliamentarians against Corruption (GOPAC) published this month a discussion paper entitled “Prosecuting grand corruption as an international crime," following the request of its members to include "grand corruption" as a crime under international law given its threat to humanity and its direct threat to human life in general. “Grand corruption” differs from the traditional form of corruption in that it occurs on higher levels of political systems, causes significant damages in the community and contributes to the empowerment of corrupt officials in maintaining their influence, positions and wealth. The creation of a legal, collective and prohibitive definition of "grand corruption" allows its criminalization internationally and is a big challenge as confirmed in the discussion paper. However, the paper does not define “grand corruption” but instead poses a set of questions that must be taken into account when working on developing an appropriate definition. The paper, initially written in English and translated into several languages, including Arabic, provides several proposals addressed to the international community that facilitate tracking, detection and fighting the "grand corruption”. The paper also recognizes that there are several options to achieve this goal, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, and specifies them in four basic options: • To consider "grand corruption" as an international offense viable for prosecution in national courts, like other crimes; • To create special courts and regional mechanisms for fighting "grand corruption"; • To insert "grand corruption" among viable crimes for prosecution under the International Criminal Court; • To develop a new international mechanism or a more dedicated one for fighting "grand corruption". The organization is calling in its paper to use the United Nations Convention against Corruption as a platform to activate the prosecution of "Grand Corruption” at the international level. It highlights the need to find civil litigations in addition to penal litigations to enhance the chances of preventing impunity for the perpetrators of this kind of serious corruption. GOPAC has launched a consultative process through its national and regional chapters to complete the paper and present it at the Fifth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which is will be held in Panama from 25 to 29 November, 2013. And it is to be noted that GOPAC was established in 2002 with the aim to achieve accountability and transparency through effective anti-corruption mechanisms and inclusive participation and cooperation between parliamentarians, government and civil society and have more than 50 chapters around the world in addition to its regional chapters, including the Arab region chapter "Arab Region Parliamentarians Against Corruption", which was founded in Beirut in November 2004 and launched with the support of the United Nations Development Programme.
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