There are some forms of corruption so grave and whose effect on human life, human rights and human welfare are so catastrophic that they should shock the conscience of the international community and mobilize the will of nations to act across borders.
In order to combat these forms of corruption, the GOPAC membership unanimously mandated GOPAC to establish grand corruption as a crime of international law to enable international institutions and alliances to apprehend, prosecute, judge and sentence the guilty. This mandate was declared at the Fifth Global Conference of Parliamentarians Against Corruption, held in Manila, Philippines, in February 2013.
Following the Global Conference, GOPAC worked with its chapters and international partners to develop options to fulfill the mandate given by the members. In the fall of 2013, GOPAC released a discussion paper outlining those options. The paper was widely circulated to the GOPAC membership, parliamentarians, observers and partners to seek opinions on the most viable solutions to prosecute perpetrators of the worst forms of corruption.
On 27 November 2013, GOPAC convened an in-depth discussion of these options at the Forum of Parliamentarians, an event parallel to the Fifth Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, held in Panama City, Panama. What emerged was a bold Declaration where GOPAC members resolved to:
- encourage states to enact and implement laws that place crimes of grand corruption under universal jurisdiction, within the responsibilities of their national law enforcement agencies, national prosecutors, and national courts;
- encourage regional courts to accept and enforce jurisdiction to adjudicate crimes of grand corruption committed in their respective geographic regions of responsibility;
- encourage states, the United Nations, and international institutions to deem crimes of grand corruption as crimes against the common community of humanity in violation of peremptory norms and international law;
- encourage states, the United Nations, and international institutions to recognise crimes of grand corruption as being crimes against humanity;
- encourage states, the United Nations, and international institutions to develop additional international mechanisms to apprehend, prosecute, judge, and sentence those who have committed crimes of grand corruption.
Legal Advisory Group
The Legal Advisory Group provides expert guidance to the GOPAC Global Secretariat on legal, jurisdictional, and procedural issues towards the implementation of the Declaration. It also provides opinions and briefs necessary to support GOPAC’s work with its project partners.
Where possible, the Legal Advisory Group helps cultivate relationships with the legal community, prosecutors, courts, states, international institutions, and other actors whose assistance will be necessary for implementation of the declaration.
Plan of Action
In the months to come GOPAC will launch an international campaign with parliamentarians and international partners to encourage states, the United Nations and international institutions to recognize crimes of grand corruption as being crimes against humanity. We will also work to strengthen current national and regional structures working in this area.
Over the midterm, GOPAC will examine how to develop additional international mechanisms to prosecute those who have committed grand corruption.
We would welcome your support and input.
For further information please contact Priya Sood, Global Task Force Program Advisor.