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International Criminal Court chief prosecutor will investigate dictators’ secret bank accounts

Transparency International board member Luis Moreno Ocampo becomes first chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

"The fight against graft is gaining momentum," said Peter Eigen, Chairman of Transparency International (TI), the world's leading non-governmental organisation engaged in the fight against corruption, on the appointment of TI Board Member and Argentine lawyer Luis Moreno Ocampo as the first Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ahead of TI's 10th anniversary celebrations in May 2003.

"Mass killings and corruption are two kinds of abuse of power, generally used together against poor people," said Luis Moreno Ocampo today. "Dictators who are killing people usually have millions in secret accounts, and the ICC will investigate and prosecute them," continued Moreno Ocampo, who until his appointment as the first chief prosecutor of the newly inaugurated International Criminal Court (ICC), was a member of the Board of Directors of Transparency International, President of Transparency International in Latin America and the Caribbean (TILAC), and President of Poder Ciudadano, TI's national chapter in Argentina. "The ICC is a new global, independent institution, whose main task will be to act where national judicial systems fail to fulfil their basic missions," added Moreno Ocampo, who was formally elected ICC Chief Prosecutor on 21 April by the Assembly of States Parties to the Court.

Anti-corruption fighters are taking up influential positions in government around the world. In Kenya, the Executive Director of Transparency International's chapter, John Githongo, and a member of the Board of Directors of Transparency International until September last year, recently stepped down after being appointed Permanent Secretary for Governance and Ethics in the Office of President Mwai Kibaki. South Korean Prime Minister Goh Kun was Chairman of Transparency International Korea until his appointment by the Korean president on 22 January. In Chile, Luis Bates, the head of Transparency International's local chapter, was recently appointed Justice Minister.

"The wave of appointments of anti-corruption activists to important positions in government and international institutions is a promising sign that political will to fight corruption is on the rise," said Peter Eigen. "Just ten years ago corruption was a hot potato that policy-makers did not want to touch. Today, it is increasingly being recognised as the single greatest obstacle to development and economic growth. This is a sea-change in thinking," said Eigen. "TI will continue to engage with governments and the private sector, and to act as a civil society watchdog holding them to account and ensuring that they live up to their anti-corruption commitments, " he added.

TI raises awareness about the damaging effects of corruption and campaigns for systemic reform. The non-governmental organisation was founded in 1993 by individuals from diverse backgrounds who had become increasingly aware of the devastating effects of corruption on human development and its distorting effect on trade and investment. Since 1993, TI has grown from a group of concerned individuals to a worldwide network of anti-corruption NGOs in 89 countries on all continents.

The TI approach to building coalitions between governments, the private sector and civil society organisations was evident in the evolution of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. The key to securing support for the Convention, which came into effect in February 1999, was the support of large companies. TI drafted a letter, signed by twenty European companies and sent to their ministers encouraging them to sign the Convention, which outlaws bribery of foreign public officials. According to The Washington Post, "the OECD treaty requiring all signatories to ban international bribery was a victory for Transparency International".

In 2000, TI worked with leading international banks to formulate the Wolfsberg Anti-Money Laundering Principles focusing on the laundering of funds gained through corruption. In 2001 TI chapters from 11 African countries signed the Nyanga Declaration in Zimbabwe, calling for the repatriation of wealth stolen from Africa's developing countries and transferred overseas by corrupt dictators.

TI, together with Global Witness and the Publish What You Pay coalition, is arguing for international regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US to require oil, gas and mining companies to publish taxes, fees, royalties and other payments made to each host government as a condition for being listed on international stock exchanges and financial markets. Relying on voluntary corporate disclosure has failed because companies fear discrimination by host countries if they breach confidentiality clauses. For instance, BP's ambitions to "publish what you pay" in Angola drew threats of concession termination from the Angolan state oil company Sonangol.

TI has also worked with businesses and governments on no-bribes Integrity Pacts in procurement and contracting, in particular in Argentina, Colombia, Pakistan and Mexico, where bidders provided a binding assurance that they have not paid nor will they pay bribes to obtain the contract. Pre-agreed sanctions, including blacklisting, come into force if this undertaking is breached. Companies must establish codes of conduct, including detailed rules designed to combat bribery at home or by their subsidiaries abroad. To this end, TI has developed, together with companies including BP, Shell, Tata and General Electric, a set of Business Principles for Countering Bribery. The proposals include training programmes with guidance for all employees to ensure that bribery - direct or indirect - is outlawed.

TI is campaigning around the world for Access to Information legislation, and for greater governmental, political and corporate transparency. In Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, Panama, Latvia and Germany, TI national chapters have challenged political candidates to publish their campaign finance records and their manifestos on fighting corruption.

The 11th International Anti-Corruption Conference takes place in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on 25-28 May 2003. Confirmed participants include Mary Robinson, the former UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Goh Kun, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Luis Moreno Ocampo, and Swiss theologian Hans Küng. The IACC is followed at the same venue in Seoul by the intergovernmental Global Forum III on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity conference on 29-31 May 2003. To register for the 11th IACC, visit:

Website: http://www.11iacc.org/iacc/index.html


For any press enquiries please contact

Jeff Lovitt
Head of Public Relations, TI Secretariat
Tel: +49-30-3438 2045
Fax: +49-30-3470 3912
Email: press@transparency.org