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Combating Corruption Through International Law in Africa: A Comparative Analysis


Thomas R. Snider


WilmerHale

Won Kidane


Seattle University School of Law


Cornell International Law Journal, Vol. 40, No. 691, 2007

Abstract:     
"Little did we suspect," remarked Nelson Mandela, "that our own people, when they get that chance, would be as corrupt as the apartheid regime. That is one of the things that has really hurt us." Africa is the only continent that has grown poorer over the last three decades. The causes of Africa's existing predicaments are complete; however, there is no argument that deep-rooted corruption is one of the most serious contemporary developmental challenges facing the continent. Mr. Adama Dieng, who the Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the precursor of the African Union (AU), entrusted with the task of studying the legal, political, and economic implications of corruption in Africa, stated in his 2004 report that "corruption and impunity are antithetical to the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights and the enemy of the principle of good governance." Cognizant of this fact, the AU adopted the Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AU Corruption Convention). Foremost among its objectives is promoting development through renting, detecting, and punishing acts of corruption. By no means unique, the AU Corruption Convention is the latest in a series of international efforts to combat corruption through international law. Although the very adoption and entry into force of the AU Corruption Convention is a significant step, its real impact will depend on several crucial considerations, including clarity of the substantive obligations imposed, conformity of the newly adopted norms with existing legal and human rights obligations, proper municipal implementation of these norms, good governance, proper monitoring, and robust international enforcement.

This Article makes a timely effort to evaluate the recently adopted AU Corruption Convention in light of existing international legal norms relating to corruption, which will inevitably inform and shape its future progress. More particularly, this Article endeavors to characterize the AU Corruption Convention's approach to combating corruption and discern lessons regarding interpretation, implementation, and enforcement from other pre-existing instruments.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 58

Keywords: Africa corruption, corruption convention, Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, AU Corruption, OAS Corruption, International Law on Corruption, UN Corruption

JEL Classification: K33

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Date posted: August 12, 2008 ; Last revised: July 19, 2010

Suggested Citation

Snider, Thomas R. and Kidane, Won, Combating Corruption Through International Law in Africa: A Comparative Analysis. Cornell International Law Journal, Vol. 40, No. 691, 2007. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1220398

Contact Information

Thomas R. Snider
WilmerHale ( email )
1875 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20006
United States
202-663-6638 (Phone)
Won Kidane (Contact Author)
Seattle University School of Law ( email )
901 12th Avenue
Sullivan Hall
Seattle, WA 98122
United States
206-398-4390 (Phone)
206-398-4036 (Fax)

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