People have taken to the streets in recent years in many European countries, including Romania, Malta, the Republic of Moldova, Bulgaria, the Slovak Republic, and Ukraine, to protest systemic corruption, demanding respect for the rule of law, accountability for corrupt politicians, and a steadfast fight against corruption.
Corruption is correctly referred to as one of the most pervasive social ills. It erodes public trust, stifles economic progress, and has a disproportionate impact on the enjoyment of human rights, notably by persons from marginalized or disadvantaged groups such as minorities, disabled people, refugees, migrants, and convicts. It also has a disproportionate impact on women, children, and individuals in poverty, obstructing their access to essential social rights including healthcare, housing, and education.
From a global perspective, it is concerning because bribes amount to hundreds of billions of Euros per year, and that corruption, bribery, embezzlement, and tax evasion cost poor countries $1.26 trillion per year, according to estimates. This amount would be enough to bring the 1.4 billion people living on less than $1.25 per day above the poverty line for at least six years.
According to Transparency International’s 2019 study The Ignored Pandemic, over 7% of global healthcare expenditure is lost to corruption, which is one of the most glaring examples of corruption’s catastrophic effects on our lives. According to the paper, a research based on data from 178 countries found that corruption is responsible for almost 140 000 child fatalities per year. Anti-corruption regulations that are strict.
The Council of Europe has developed a set of strong anti-corruption legal standards and tasked its specialized body, the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), with overseeing their implementation through a dynamic process of mutual evaluation and peer pressure designed to identify flaws in national anti-corruption policies and prompt the necessary legislative, institutional, and administrative changes. The Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (together with the 2003 Additional Protocol) and the Civil Law Convention on Corruption, both developed in 1999, are the most relevant instruments. [two] Other benchmark legal instruments, such as the Twenty Guiding Principles for the Fight Against Corruption contained in Committee of Ministers Resolution (97) 24, are supplemented by these treaties.
Corruption is increasingly addressed in the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, demonstrating the various linkages between corruption and human rights breaches. In the case of Kövesi v. Romania, the European Court of Human Rights found violations of Article 6 (right to a fair trial) and Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the Convention in relation to the removal of the national anticorruption prosecutor’s office chief before the end of her second term, following her criticism of legislative reforms in the area of corruption.
The applicant’s office was given special weight by the Court, which noted that “those functions and duties included expressing her opinion on legislative reforms that were likely to have an impact on the judiciary and its independence, and, more specifically, on her department’s fight against corruption.” [three] Documents adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly with the goal of stepping up the fight against corruption and restoring trust in the efficiency and effectiveness of democratic institutions, such as Resolution 2170 (2017) and Recommendation 2105 (2017) on Promoting integrity in governance to combat political corruption, and Resolution 2192 (201 The Committee of Ministers also adopted useful norms in the fight against corruption, such as Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)7 on the Protection of Whistleblowers, which was issued on April 30, 2014. The Opinion No. 21 (2018) of the Consultative Council of European Judges on the Prevention of Judge Corruption defines corruption of judges in a broader sense as dishonest, fraudulent, or unethical activity by a judge in order to obtain personal profit or profit for third parties. It includes a set of recommendations for member states to implement in order to avoid corruption in the judiciary.
These include a regulatory framework for deciding on a judge’s career; a set of rules, principles, and guidelines for judges’ ethical conduct; a robust system for declaring assets; rules for judges’ recusal and self-recusal; and adequate criminal, administrative, or disciplinary penalties for a judge’s corrupt behavior to increase transparency and thus public trust in the judicial system. Preventive measures, criminalization and law enforcement, international co-operation, asset recovery, technical aid, and information exchange are all included in the 2003 United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
Furthermore, Sustainable Development Goal 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) contains a commitment to significantly reduce all forms of corruption and bribery. Corruption is a severe threat to justice and human rights administration. The court and law enforcement are two of the most corrupted institutions.
Governments in several Council of Europe member states have rushed judicial reforms through parliament, reinforcing the executive’s strong influence on the judiciary, seriously undermining the judiciary’s independence, weakening judicial oversight of the executive, and, as a result, its ability to fight corruption.
GRECO has emphasized the importance of ensuring judges’ independence in order to avoid undue political influence on the judiciary, which can result in biased, corrupt judgements that serve interests other than the public interest.