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Corruption, being the abuse of public office for private or political gain, currently receives an increasing amount of attention from scholars and practitioners in various disciplines, including law. While the phenomenon is as old as mankind, the last fifteen years saw the rise of many anti-corruption treaties, aimed at criminalisation, prevention and cooperation.
At the same time, there seems to be relatively little work done on corruption in the field of human rights law or international criminal law. This book argues that these areas of law can certainly contribute to fighting corruption, by giving a human face to both victims and perpetrators.
The study commences with Part A, containing a broader analysis of the ‘multi-headed monster’ named corruption, looking into issues of definition, measurement, and consequences. This is followed by an overview of the content and functioning of the global and regional anti-corruption treaties that are currently in force, including the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
Hereafter, Part B considers whether or not types of corruption can be qualified as a violation of internationally recognised human rights, enshrined in the International Bill of Rights. It is argued that corruption, especially in the public sector, can have a severe negative impact upon both civil and political rights, as well as upon economic, social and cultural rights. Moreover, the study examines to what extent this is recognised by the human rights supervisory mechanisms at the global and regional level.
The concluding observations and case law of the human rights treaty bodies are scrutinised, as well as the outcomes of the various Special Procedures and the Universal Periodic Review System of the UN Human Rights Council. At the regional level, the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights, as well as the cases of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights are discussed.
Furthermore, Part C of the book aims to view corruption from the angle of international criminal law, inter alia by examining whether or not types of corruption can be qualified as a crime under international criminal law. In this context, the question is answered whether corruption can fall under the current provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court de lege lata. Also, the various possibilities offered by international criminal law de lege ferenda to combat corruption are touched upon.
Finally, Part D draws conclusions and formulates recommendations as to how human rights law and international criminal law can best be used to address corruption. This includes a draft General Comment on corruption and human rights, with the purpose of providing a starting point for further reflection on the topic.