Honorable Mark L. Wolf
Senior United States District Judge; Chair, Integrity Initiatives International
Integrity Initiatives International
Mark L. Wolf is a Senior United States District Judge and the Chair of Integrity Initiatives International ("III"). III advocates for the creation of an International Anti-Corruption Court and related measures, and is forging a network of young people dedicated to combating corruption. http://www.iaccnow.org
An International Anti-Corruption Court for Grand Corruption
Grand Corruption – the abuse of public office for private profit by a nation's leaders – is not a victimless crime. As Prime Minister David Cameron has explained, corrupt governments syphon off resources that should be devoted to the health and education of their citizens; generate migrants drowning in the Mediterranean; and convert their citizens into constituents for terrorists. Indignation at grand corruption is destabilizing many nations and, in the process, creating grave dangers for international peace and security.
As Secretary of State John Kerry asserted, "the quality of governance is no longer just a domestic concern". Yet, as Prime Minister Cameron noted, "when it comes to tackling corruption, the international community has looked the other way for far too long."
Laws exist to combat grand corruption. 178 nations are parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). Each has the laws UNCAC requires criminalizing extortion, bribery, and money laundering, and an international legal obligation to enforce those laws against their corrupt leaders. Yet grand corruption flourishes in many countries because corrupt leaders control the administration of justice.
To deter and diminish grand corruption, it is essential that the statutes required by UNCAC be enforced. Greater transparency of beneficial ownership is necessary. Improved international cooperation in investigating the flow of the fruits of grand corruption is important. However, transparency and the acquisition of evidence are not ends in themselves. There must be an impartial court in which corrupt leaders can be held accountable.
In 2014, I called for the creation of an International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC), similar to, but separate from, the International Criminal Court (ICC). Like the ICC, the IACC would operate on the principle of complementarity, meaning only officials from countries unable or unwilling to punish grand corruption would be subject to prosecution. Since 2014, the IACC has received support from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Transparency International, Human Rights Watch, Global Witness, Global Parliamentarians Against Corruption, and leading international prosecutors. It is also supported by courageous young people from many countries. Integrity Initiatives International was recently formed to campaign for the creation of the IACC and related measures.
In 2002, the evils of genocide and other intolerable human rights abuses led to the creation of the ICC. It is time to recognize that the comparable consequences of grand corruption require the creation of the IACC.