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A call for real consequences for corruption

One of the reasons people took to the streets was the abuse of power by the military police. In São Paulo more than 100 protesters and at least 15 journalists were reported injured as the military police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets indiscriminately. I was arrested for carrying a bottle of vinegar that I used to neutralise the effects of tear gas."

– Piero Locatelli, one of the 2012 International Anti-Corruption Conference’s Young Journalists, recounts the protests against military police impunity and other issues on the streets of Brazil, and the powerful effects of collective action.

A culture of impunity is created when people in power break the law, escape social or legal punishment, and then continue breaking the law. Impunity allows the powerful to get away with it – to break existing laws but also to exploit legal loopholes like weak regulations, statutes of limitation, sovereign immunity or delayed trials. If this is not addressed, corruption will flourish.

Ending impunity for the corrupt

Bending the law, beating the system or escaping punishment – and getting away with it – define impunity for corruption. Impunity is anathema to the fight against corruption and, especially in the judiciary and law-enforcement sectors, is a direct challenge to the rule of law. But rooting out undue influence from government or business interests in the legal system, or detecting bribery, is difficult. That 31 per cent of people who came into contact with the police and 24 per cent of people who came into contact with the judiciary in the previous 12 months report paying a bribe, only underscores the unjust and persistent nature of impunity for corrupt acts.

There is much that can be done to end impunity. Emphasising the appropriate political, legal and social sanctions for those who enjoy impunity for corruption, Transparency International’s efforts are increasing accountability and making it ever more difficult for individuals, corporations and others to get away with corruption.

Transparency International is working around the world to end impunity, particularly through strengthening the judicial system. To enhance the integrity of judicial bodies, Transparency International’s chapter in Palestine prepared codes of conduct and trained both judges and prosecutors. In Senegal we are enhancing the technical capacity of the judiciary by providing expertise on issues related to asset recovery and illicit enrichment; while in Slovakia, we are developing an online tool that allows citizens to observe, monitor, and discuss decisions of individual judges.

Source: the Global Corruption Barometer 2013

The Brasilia Declaration, adopted in November 2012 at the conclusion of the 15th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC), charted the way forward and made it clear about how we must stop the corrupt – “Don’t let them get away with it”, it was declared.

Heading to Tunisia

Now we call upon people with integrity, from all sectors of society, to take action together. Under the theme “Ending Impunity: People. Integrity. Action” the 16th IACC will take place in Tunis, Tunisia from 21 to 24 October 2014.

It will create space for all participants to collectively discuss and devise solutions on how to break the silence where justice has not been served, and create sustainable change.

Since 1983, the conference series has served as the leading international platform for those who want to put an end to corruption and eliminate its negative impacts on the economy, the environment, democracy and most importantly on people’s everyday lives.

Now more than ever, people need to embrace the combination of engaged societies and national and international justice systems that hold people accountable for their actions.

Held every two years in a different region of the world, with thousands of participants from more than 100 countries, the IACC is the global space to collaborate with activists, influential people and participants from myriad sectors to design strategies for effective action against corruption.

You can attack the culture of impunity not simply throught the courts and the legal system, but normatively through popular support.”

Andrew Mack of the Human Security Report speaking at the conclusion of the 15th IACC.

In Tunis, more than 2,000 corruption fighters from over 130 countries and from all sectors of society will come together to set the global anti-corruption agenda and forge solutions. People in government, civil society, the private sector, media, young people, journalists, and social innovators will all join in the conversation on the different dimensions of impunity, the different sectoral approaches to addressing it, and seek concrete solutions to create positive and lasting change.

For more information, regular updates and details on the ways you can get involved with the 16th IACC, whatever your area of interest or expertise: visit the 16th IACC website, find us on Twitter: @16iacc or #16iacc, and on Facebook.

Translations: AR | FR | ES

Tunisia delegation


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