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Trial Monitoring In Corruption Cases

In order to combat corruption, independent, competent, and effective judiciaries are essential. 

When evaluating the effectiveness of a court system in dealing with corruption charges, both qualitative and quantitative components of performance should be addressed. The evaluation and study of the judicial reaction to corruption can be greatly enriched by trial monitoring. 

The most important points Due to the legal and factual intricacy of these crimes, as well as the danger of undue political pressure during the process, prosecuting and adjudicating grand and political corruption presents particular obstacles. The development and application of criteria and mechanisms for assessing the judiciary’s performance in handling corruption cases has received little attention. It is critical to identify which practices, policies, and reforms work and which do not in order to develop adequate instruments for this endeavor. 


Trial monitoring programs

Trial monitoring programs have the potential to improve how we assess judicial corruption responses. A successful program should include a methodology for assessing all of the characteristics that a judicial system should possess – impartiality, competence, and efficiency – and both qualitative and quantitative aspects of performance should be taken into account when evaluating a judicial system’s effectiveness. 

Trial monitoring by independent organizations can be an effective tool for increasing public and external scrutiny of the court system’s efforts to combat corruption. International players working on anti-corruption and judicial reforms may adopt and execute a new strategy to trial monitoring that would allow for comparisons of results across jurisdictions. The judiciary has a critical role in combating corruption. However, due to the legal and factual intricacy of these crimes, as well as the danger of undue political pressure in the process, prosecuting grand and political corruption presents distinct obstacles. Countries in many regions of the world are investing political capital and experimenting with various institutional setups in order to address these issues. 

The establishment of specialized prosecutors’ offices and/or specialized courts to handle corruption matters is one example of these attempts. Even where general jurisdiction judicial organizations are in control, the trend toward specialisation in this subject may be seen simply by browsing the various manuals and training curricula devoted to the investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of corruption cases available on the internet. In light of these developments, little attention has been made to developing and implementing criteria and procedures for evaluating the judiciary’s performance in handling corruption cases. The significance of such an endeavor should be obvious. Without sufficient assessment tools, it is impossible to determine which practices, programs, and changes work (and which do not). However, assessing court reaction in the handling of corruption cases is not a simple task. It entails a lengthy procedure with several unique steps. 

The evaluators must identify the research questions after establishing the issue (in this case: which questions about judicial performance relating to the processing of corruption they intended to answer). They must then select an approach (based on quantitative or qualitative methods, or a combination of both). Only then can the selection and collecting of relevant data, as well as their analysis and presentation of the results, begin. When I started working with the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (‘the Mission’) on a project called ‘Assessing Needs of Judicial Response to Corruption via Monitoring of Criminal Cases,’ I went through this procedure and its many underlying questions (ARC). The goals was developing a trial monitoring-based technique for analyzing problems and trends in the effectiveness of judicial responses to corruption, as well as proposing methods to increase the judiciary’s capability to handle corruption cases. Based on this technique, the Mission acquired data for two reports (released in February 2018 and April 2019) examining the court reaction to corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina through its established trial monitoring program (BiH). The two reports only make a passing mention to the project’s methodological precepts because they are fact-finding reports aimed at informing judicial and anti-corruption reforms in BiH. 



As a result, the reports provide only a limited amount of information to actors, institutions, or organizations interested in replicating this methodology to analyze other domestic legal systems. This study contributes to the discussion of judicial performance in the handling of corruption matters in a practical way. I’ll outline the project’s methodology, explain how it was implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and suggest that it may be used successfully in other countries or regions. 

The importance of this endeavor resides in my assertion that the methodology in issue is novel in the sense that it combines two sets of instruments that have previously been employed in separate and unconnected initiatives in an original and purposeful manner. There are those used by international organizations and civil society organizations (CSOs) in the context of trial monitoring activities, primarily to assess the justice system’s compliance with international standards, and those used by state institutions to assess the performance of the justice system as a whole or of judges and prosecutors individually.