The call for the establishment of an International Anti-Corruption Court, IACC has been made by stakeholders and participants, who gathered at a High-Level Side Event in New York, the United States, with the theme, “The UNGASS 2021 On Corruption: A Path Forward to Enhance and Strengthen the International Anti-Corruption Legal Framework”.
Speaking at the event, on September 24, 2019 as part of activities marking this year’s 74th United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, Mark Wolf, Chair of the Integrity Initiatives International, III, a non-governmental organization “fighting grand corruption” at the international level, noted that the time was ripe to create an IACC.
“The refugee crisis around the world has been generated by people fleeing failed corrupt states,” he said, stressing that “indignation and grand corruption is destabilizing many countries”, thus necessitating the need for the creation of such a special court, in order to “prosecute and punish corrupt leaders in countries that are unwilling or are unable to prosecute such leaders because of the clout they have over the system”.
According to Wolf, the international anti-corruption court will operate on the principle of complementarity, “so that only leaders of countries that are unable to prosecute kleptocrats that rule them will be vulnerable to prosecution at the court”.
“It will also strengthen countries to enforce their own laws in order to keep their leaders out of the anti-corruption court,” he added.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for his anti-corruption stand, Wolf harped on the words of Buhari at the 20th Anniversary of the International Criminal Court, last year, where he noted that: “Strong and effective international criminal court, can also act as a catalyst for other justice efforts, expanding the reach of accountability. This could include serious cases of corruption by state actors that severely compromise the development efforts of countries and throw citizens into greater poverty.”
He expressed the support of the III for Nigeria, Colombia, Peru, and Malaysia who he said, were great partners in promoting the creation of the International Anti-Corruption Court.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru, Néstor Popolizio, noted that corruption had become an international phenomenon that kills democratic governance and citizens’ trust in institutions.
“Consequently, joint action is necessary,” he said, as he revealed that Peru and Colombia will convene a special session of the United Nations General Assembly Against Corruption, to take place in the first half of 2021.
His counterpart, Carlos Trujillo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Colombia, further stressed “the need to address the challenges prevailing against the fight against corruption and explore international cooperation”.
While sharing from the experience of Malaysia in combating corruption, its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Saifuddin Bin Abdullah, noted that his country “aspires to be among top countries in the world based on integrity and transparency”, and so launched the National Anti-Corruption Plan 2019-2023 “to achieve integrity and become a corrupt-free nation”.
“This fight needs strong political will, and one of the ways forward, is for politicians to among others, declare their assets, and for it to be open for public scrutiny,” he said.
He further noted that the Malaysian government implemented the Political Financial Act, which ensures strict monitoring of donations or sponsorships for political campaigns and activities.
On his part, Norway’s Minister of International Development, Dag-Inge Ulstein, noted that corruption was geographically widespread, and so there was a need for national and international cooperation.
“Closer and stronger cooperation and alliance across borders are critical, as well as a broader and stronger coalition, and establishing an international anti-corruption court,” he said.