Declaration calls for an International Anti-Corruption Court

The luxurious private residence of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in Mezhyhirya is now a museum of corruption. Substantial Ukrainian assets are still hidden across the world. Image: Mala Iryna/Shutterstock

Integrity Initiatives International, a US-based organization fighting corruption, announced today that more than one hundred world leaders from over forty countries have signed a declaration calling for the creation of an International Anti-Corruption Court, in short IACC. The statement says that this new international body «is urgently needed to promote democracy and human rights, protect human life and health, and enhance international peace and security.»

Signatories of the document include former President of Colombia and Nobel Laureate Juan Manuel Santos, former President of Tunisia Moncef Marzouki, former Prime Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt, Nobel Laureate and former Judge Shirin Ebadi of Iran, former Foreign Minister of Canada Lloyd Axworthy, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Peter MacKay, former UN High Commissioners for Human Rights Navi Pillay and Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, former Judge Claudia Escobar Mejía of Guatemala, and the President of the International Bar Association Sternford Moyo.

“Kleptocracy and impunity for crimes of Grand Corruption are an enduring and a growing evil in many countries. The victims are invariably the poor and powerless from whom vast sums are, in effect, are stolen. An International Anti-Corruption Court is urgently needed to prosecute, punish and deter kleptocrats, and to recover, repurpose and repatriate vitally needed illicit funds,” said Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa, the first Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and a board member of Integrity Initiatives International, according to a press release published by the organization.

Integrity Initiatives International stresses that «corruption, particularly Grand Corruption, is increasingly recognized as a major international problem». The organization refers to a memorandum issued by US President Jo Biden on June 3 in which he stated: “Corruption erodes public trust; hobbles effective governance; distorts equitable markets; undercuts development efforts; contributes to national fragility, extremism, and migration; and provides authoritarian leaders a means to undermine democracy worldwide.” Further, on June 2, the G7 Foreign Ministers stated that they “recognize that corruption is a pressing global challenge” that they will address at their next ministerial meeting in September, 2021.

“The declaration is a strong statement from world leaders that an international forum to hold kleptocrats accountable is needed now more than ever to end impunity for Grand Corruption. Its signatories signal the emergence of a coalition catalyzed by Integrity Initiatives International that will campaign throughout the world for the creation of the International Anti-Corruption Court,” said U.S. District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf, the Chair of Integrity Initiatives International.

The Executive Director of Democracy Without Borders, Andreas Bummel, who is one of the signatories of the declaration, stated that corruption, money laundering and illicit financial flows undermine democracy across the world in a dramatic way. «An International Anti-Corruption Court represents a crucial project to help counter authoritarianism and kleptocracy and to strengthen democracy», he said, adding that the initiative for the court deserves «the full support from democratic forces across the world».

The board of Democracy Without Borders decided recently to endorse the efforts for an International Anti-Corruption Court.