Corruption, wrongdoing by those in a special position of trust. The term is commonly applied to self-benefiting conduct by public officials and others dedicated to public service. (1)
Corruption is not a technical term; it is not considered a criminal offence in most criminal codes around the world and it also does not have a legal definition in most international treaties (See Mark Pieth, Chapter 2: A Very Short Introduction to Corruption, in: Fritz Heimann/Mark Pieth, Confronting Corruption (New York: Oxford UP 2016)). The most common definition is that used by the NGO Transparency International, according to which corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. Such abuse may happen on the level of day-to-day administration and public service (Â“petty corruptionÂ”), or on the high level of political office (Â“grand corruptionÂ”). These terms do not mark a legal distinction but merely describe variations of the same theme. Often, a particular scheme of corruption permeates the various levels of public administration, and thus links both forms of corruption.
For information on:
- great historical scandals of government corruption, see Credit Mobilier of America; Teapot Dome; Whiskey Ring
- recent scandals of government corruption, see Italy: Shifting Alignments; Japan: Cabinet Turnover; United Arab Emirates: Government and History; Watergate
- notably corrupt leaders and governments, see Alexander VI; Simon Cameron; Chicago (city, Illinois): History; Warren Harding: Corruption; Mexico: The Colonial Period; Republic of the Philippines: The Marcos Regime; Tammany Society; William Marcy Tweed
- exposing corruption in business and government, see Samuel Hopkins Adams; Lincoln Steffens; Journalism: Journalists as Social Critics
- exposing corruption in the Church, see Arnold of Brescia; Girolamo Savonarola
- reform measures to end government corruption, see Civil Service; Electoral Reform; France: Louis IX; Charles Evans Hughes; South Korea: Democratic Reforms
- politicians dedicated to reform, see Fiorello La Guardia; Samuel J. Tilden
- the see spoils system, source of much corruption in 19th-century United States politics, see Chester Alan Arthur
Source: “Corruption”MicrosoftÂ® EncartaÂ® Online Encyclopedia
UN Convention against Corruption
United Nations Convention Against Corruption (same as above)
Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption
The Legal History of Corruption in Chinese Law
This section provides an overview of Corruption in Chinese Law
Corruption in 2011
United States views on international law (based on the document “Digest of U.S. Practice in International Law”): The Fourth Conference of States Parties (“COSP”) to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (“UNCAC”) convened from October 24-28, 2011 in Marrakech, Morocco. This was the first COSP since the adoption in 2009 of a peer review mechanism (“Review Mechanism”) to promote implementation of the anti-corruption standards enshrined in the UNCAC. A State Department Media Note, issued on October 21st and available at (internet link) state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/10/175964.htm, described the participation and support of the United States for the COSP and UNCAC:
The United States supports and will be represented at the October 24-28 Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in Marrakech, Morocco, where the 154 States Parties to the UNCAC**** will discuss implementation of the Convention and ways to advance international efforts to prevent and fight corruption. The United States is committed to engaging with other countries on preventing and combating corruption, and contributed more than .5 billion for anti-corruption and good governance assistance around the globe in the last fiscal year.
The U.S. has also contributed significantly to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime towards implementation of the UNCAC, providing over .5 million in funding in the last three years. This fourth UNCAC COSP will focus on asset recovery; the prevention of corruption; international cooperation; and improving the Review Mechanism that was adopted at the third COSP in Doha in 2009 to review implementation of the UNCAC at the national level. The United States was one of the 27 countries selected to be reviewed in the first year of the first review cycle and is currently in the process of finalizing its report in consultation with its peer reviewers. The United States is committed to leading by example and will publish its entire report online once completed. Additional issues to be addressed at this COSP include the provision of technical assistance to help countries implement their UNCAC commitment and the participation of non-governmental organizations and international organizations as observers in the COSP.
More about the Issue
Over 150 countries attended the Fourth COSP to the UNCAC. The United States worked closely with Egypt and like-minded governments to strengthen international cooperation on asset recovery and develop an efficient forum for practitioners to meet on international cooperation. The United States also led a successful effort to increase financial oversight and discipline relating to the use of United Nations regular budget funding for the Review Mechanism. The COSP adopted a resolution expanding the formal participation of international organizations, signatories and non-signatories in the review process and also the Morocco-sponsored “Marrakesh Declaration” on preventing corruption. The Parties accepted the Russian Federation’s offer to host the sixth COSP in 2015 (Panama will host the fifth COSP in 2013) and decided that the seventh COSP will be held at the seat of the United Nations Secretariat in Vienna.
Corruption (in the Human Development Area)
In this context, Corruption means: abuse, criminal misuse of official position for getting illegal personal benefit.
Embracing mainstream international law, this section on corruption explores the context, history and effect of the area of the law covered here.
This section provides an overview of corruption within the legal context of Good Governance in international economic law, with coverage of Transparency and Good Governance (Principles).
In relation to the international law practice and Corruption in this world legal Encyclopedia, please see the following section:
Use of Force, Arms Control, Disarmament, Nonproliferation
About this subject:
Use of Force
. Note: there is detailed information and resources, in relation with these topics during the year 2011, covered by the entry, in this law Encyclopedia, about Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons: Negotiation of CCW Protocol on Cluster Munitions
- International Criminal Law
- International Crimes
- Social Problem
- Juvenile Delinquency
- Social Issues
- Crime Prevention
- The entry “corruption” in the Parry and Grant Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law (currently, the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law, 2009), Oxford University Press
Notes and References
- **** Editor’s note: As of May 10, 2012, the number of Parties to UNCAC had reached 160.
- Legal Biography
- Legal Traditions
- Historical Laws
- History of Law
- Corruption in Chinese Law in the Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History (Oxford University Press)
- The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Political and Legal History (Oxford University Press)
- Corruption in Chinese Law in the Dictionary of Concepts in History, by Harry Ritter
- A Short History of Western Legal Theory, by John Kelly
Hierarchical Display of Corruption
Law > Criminal law > Offence
Social Questions > Social affairs > Social problem > Crime
Politics > Politics and public safety > Politics > Political behaviour > Political morality
International Organisations > World organisations > World organisation > International Anti-Corruption Academy
Law > Civil law > Civil law > Abuse of power
Politics > Politics and public safety > Public safety > Whistleblowing
Concept of Corruption
See the dictionary definition of Corruption.
Characteristics of Corruption
Translation of Corruption
- Spanish: Corrupción
- French: Corruption
- German: Korruption
- Italian: Corruzione
- Portuguese: Corrupção
- Polish: Korupcja
Thesaurus of Corruption
Law > Criminal law > Offence > Corruption
Social Questions > Social affairs > Social problem > Crime > Corruption
Politics > Politics and public safety > Politics > Political behaviour > Political morality > Corruption
International Organisations > World organisations > World organisation > International Anti-Corruption Academy > Corruption
Law > Civil law > Civil law > Abuse of power > Corruption
Politics > Politics and public safety > Public safety > Whistleblowing > Corruption