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Specialised Anti-Corruption Institutions

Review of Models: Second Edition

image of Specialised Anti-Corruption Institutions

This report provides a comparative overview of common standards and key features of specialised anti-corruption institutions and comprehensive descriptions of 19 anti-corruption institutions operating in different parts of the world, presented in a comparable framework. This new edition of an 2008 report reflects the evolving understanding of international standards and the practice and the most recent experiences of anti-corruption institutions. The report discusses three "models" of anti-corruption institutions: multi-functional anti-corruption agencies, institutions fighting corruption through law enforcement and prevention institutions.  

Encouraged by international conventions and success of some specialised anti-corruption institutions in earlier times, such as the Hong Kong’s anti-corruption commission, many countries around the world, including those in Eastern Europe, have created new specialised institutions to prevent and combat corruption over the past decade. Establishing such bodies was often seen as the only way to reduce widespread corruption, as existing institutions were considered too weak for the task, or were considered to be part of the corruption-problem. The report highlights that while many of these new anti-corruption agencies have shown good results, they cannot fight corruption alone. Other public institutions, including various specialised integrity and control bodies, and internal units in various public institutions should play a role in preventing and detecting corruption in different sectors of public administration.

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Sources of International Standards

In the mid-1990s the problem of corruption was recognised as a subject of international concern and drew the attention of numerous global and regional intergovernmental organisations. The last decade witnessed a growing constellation of international “hard law” (treaties and conventions) and “soft law” (recommendations, resolutions, guidelines and declarations) instruments elaborated and adopted within the framework of organisations such as the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the OECD, the Organization of American States, the African Union, and the European Union. The multitude of international legal instruments on corruption varies in scope, legal status, membership, implementation and monitoring mechanisms. However, all aim to establish common standards for addressing corruption at the domestic level through its criminalisation, enforcement of anti-corruption legislation and preventive measures. In addition, international legal instruments also aim to identify and promote good practices, and to facilitate co-operation between member states.

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