Call for Evidence: Civil Society Actions Against Corruption

The Open Society Foundation’s Justice Initiative is examining what civil society organizations have done to stimulate criminal investigations and civil actions for corruption and what more they can do.  It is looking across developed and developing countries for information on

  • investigations launched at the behest of civil society or civil actions initiated,
  • results, both positive and not,
  • hurdles encountered, and
  • suggestions for further action.

Some examples of the kind of efforts it is looking for:

  • The Justice Initiative worked with a group of Equatorial Guineans and partner groups to convince prosecutors in Spain and the U.S. to initiate investigations into the country’s governing family, the Obiangs, for laundering the proceeds of corruption in these jurisdictions.
  • The French NGO Sherpa together with TI France won the November 2010 illicit gains case in the Cour de Cassation requiring French prosecutors to investigate several African heads of state for laundering the proceeds of corruption in France. (Click here for commentary in French on the case.)
  • The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), a Nigerian NGO, won an action in the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice against the government of Nigeria on the right to education based in part on the impact rampant corruption in the sector was having on the exercise of that right.  (Click here for case summary and government’s reaction.)

Any thoughts on the project, sources to consult, cases or statutes of relevance, or people to speak to are welcome.  Please send materials to Rick Messick, project consultant, at messickrick*at*gmail*dot*com.

For more information, please refer to the initial bibliography, and this chart showing the various theories U.S. plaintiffs are employing in civil actions to recover damages arising from the bribery of foreign public officials.

December 26, 2012 | Namati