Laws in many countries are hopelessly inadequate to curtail corruption and there are several ways in which these should be strengthened. So concluded the 1,000 delegates drawn from 93 countries attending the 8th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Lima, Peru.
"The conference was not a witch-hunt and was careful to take account of international human rights norms,” said Dr Peter Eigen, chairman of Transparency International, the Berlin-based international anti-corruption NGO. But delegates concluded that many laws are unnecessarily complicated and make it easy for the corrupt to escape punishment.
The conference called on governments to review their criminal laws to abolish any need to prove that an official who received an illegal gift actually gave favours in return and requiring officials in positions of trust to justify increases in their assets out of line with their legitimate sources of income.
"This requirement was universally seen as being consistent with presumptions of innocence and with a fair trial as required by the international human rights covenants and national constitutions,” Dr Eigen explained.
"It has been used effectively in Hong Kong and has passed challenges in the Privy Council," said Dr. Eigen, referring to the highest criminal court in many Commonwealth countries. It is also probably the single most effective step a government can take in deterring senior officials from taking large bribes, he concluded.
The text of the Declaration is available at http://www.transparency.org/iacc/lima/limadecl.html.
Note for editors: Transparency International is the secretariat to the Council of the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC). Transparency is a not-for-profit organisation, aiming to curb corruption at both national and international levels. based in Berlin, it has National Chapters in more than 60 countries.
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