Club de Madrid calls on World Leaders to Work Towards the Creation of an International Anti-Corruption Court

Club de Madrid
Vector Illustration for international anti-corruption day, 9 December, poster anti corruption illustration for printing

Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) As concerned former presidents and prime ministers committed to promoting the inclusive democratic practice as the best means to defend the rule of law, and human rights and to enhance international peace and security, we call upon you to join the coalition of countries pursuing the creation of an International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC) to help remedy the devastating consequences of grand corruption.

Danilo Türk, President of Slovenia (2007-2012) and President of Club de Madrid

We celebrate the European Parliament’s recent call for the establishment of an IACC in its annual resolution on EU policy on human rights and democracy in the world. We encourage the European Parliament and its members to muster the political will of European states in support of this initiative and related incremental steps and call upon other regional bodies and states to join the growing global effort towards the creation of the IACC.

Grand corruption – the abuse of public power for private gain – continues to thrive in many countries despite the fact that the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument, requires its 189 signatories to criminalize bribery, embezzlement, money laundering, and other forms of corrupt conduct. 

In too many places, kleptocrats enjoy impunity because they control the administration of justice. A new international institution – an International Anti-Corruption Court – is urgently needed to fill the enforcement gap in the international legal framework for combating corruption. The IACC should be a court of last resort with the capacity to prosecute and imprison kleptocrats and their co-conspirators when national governments are unable or unwilling to do so, allowing the democratic process to replace them with honest leaders.

The Court should have the authority to prosecute crimes committed by nationals of member states and nationals of other states who commit crimes in the territory of a member state. The IACC should have the authority to recover, repatriate, and repurpose illicit assets for the benefit of the victims of grand corruption. Furthermore, the Court should be designed to provide assistance at the request of national authorities that are striving to tackle corruption but lack the capacity to conduct complex transnational investigations on their own and properly prosecute them in national courts.

Over 40 former heads of state and government, more than 30 of them Members of Club de Madrid, global political leaders, and over 30 Nobel Laureates from 80 countries, have signed a Declaration calling for the creation of the IACC. Since this Declaration was first published in June 2021, the governments of Canada and the Netherlands have committed to working with international partners toward the creation of the Court. Two successive presidential administrations in Colombia have also endorsed the initiative. Most recently, Ecuador and Nigeria have also expressed their support for an IACC.

As President of Club de Madrid, and on behalf of my fellow Members, I urge your governments to commit to the long-term efforts to establish the IACC and to engage in initial discussions on how to make such an institution effective in securing a more just, rules-based global order.

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