Conflicting Trends: Lessons from Current Evaluative Mechanisms in International and Regional Anti-Corruption Systems Regarding Conflicts of Interest
Alexandra R. Harrington
Global Institute for Health and Human Rights; Albany Law School
September 6, 2012
George Mason Journal of International Commercial Law, Forthcoming
Albany Law School Research Paper No. 5 of 2012-2013
Corruption is an important topic at the domestic, regional and international level. The focus on corruption has intensified as it has become widely understood that corruption impacts on facets of law and policy ranging from finance to development to human rights to environmental concerns, as well as general concepts of good governance. Like the areas that it impacts, corruption itself is not one-dimensional. Rather, it consists of many components that – individually and collectively – undermine the legal and societal stability of states. One of the most fundamental aspects of corruption is conflicts of interest because, this article asserts, conflicts of interest lay at the heart of corrupt acts in that without the existence of a conflict the act in question would likely not qualify as corrupt. Indeed, combatting conflicts of interest, particularly in the public sphere, is a theme that runs through the understanding of anti-corruption measures at all levels of jurisdiction.
This article explores the impact of conflicts of interest evaluations in international and regional systems, specifically the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, the Group of States Against Corruption, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Asian Development Bank/OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia-Pacific, along with the trends that can be observed from these evaluations. It then examines the implications of these trends in terms of effectiveness and future development for the existing conflicts of interest provisions. The article also uses these trends to suggest areas in which the yet-to-be implemented evaluations procedures under the UNCAC and EU systems could be better focused to address the member state-based issues that arise in attempting to regulate conflicts of interest through international and regional treaty regimes.
The goal of this article is to gain a more robust understanding of both how conflicts of interest are treated in international and regional anti-corruption treaty regimes and the trends that can be discerned from evaluations of regime member practices regarding these conflicts of interest measures. The lessons and trends from these existing mechanisms offer insights and lessons for those regimes that are in the process of implementing review mechanisms in the future.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 50
Keywords: international law, corruption, human rights, environmental
Date posted: September 6, 2012