IACA highlighted the nexus between national and regional security and anti-corruption efforts, stressing in particular that corruption is a push factor for illegal migration and a facilitating element for human trafficking and smuggling, at an informal meeting of the European Union (EU) and Eastern Partnership Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs last week.
The meeting brought together justice and home affairs ministers from Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, and Romania, representing the troika of presidencies of the Council of the EU and the incoming presidency, with their counterparts from the Eastern Partnership countries, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine. The European Commission was represented by the Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Ms. Věra Jourová, and the Commissioner for the Security Union, Mr. Julian King; the European External Action Service was also represented.
The focus of the meeting was on promoting the rule of law and combatting corruption in security and judicial authorities, in line with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals and Deliverable 9 of the 20 Eastern Partnership Deliverables for 2020, which is to “strengthen the rule of law and anti-corruption mechanisms”.
During the meeting, IACA reaffirmed the importance of the fight against corruption, which was also recently highlighted as a priority contemporary criminal justice issue by UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the 27th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in May in Vienna.
Furthermore, IACA restated its availability to support EU and Eastern Partnership countries in providing integrity and anti-corruption training for security and judicial authority officials.
IACA’s Dean and Executive Mr. Martin Kreutner spoke on the important relationship between anti-corruption and safeguarding the Rule of Law, in particular within judicial systems, as well as on the eminent role of (anti)corruption in a comprehensive notion of security. He also pointed out that investing in anti-corruption, including in capacity-building for officials, is a strategic approach for countries to take, given the high cost of corruption on a nation’s GDP and the relatively small resources required to strengthen anti-corruption efforts and capacities.
Mr. Kreutner also highlighted the “let crime pay principle” as an avenue for financing anti-corruption efforts, as recently applied by the Principality of Liechtenstein in its voluntary contribution of funds from a bribery case to IACA’s general budget. This principle is exemplified by Article 62.2(c) of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and reaffirmed by the IACA Assembly of Parties.
The official press release is available here.