10 January 2003

Corruption Convention Moves Forward 

VIENNA, 10 January (UN Information Service) -- Further negotiations on a United Nations Convention against Corruption will take place in Vienna next week (13 - 24 January 2003). The fourth session of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Negotiation of a Convention against Corruption will continue the second reading of the draft convention.

In the fourth session discussions will focus on three key areas: private sector corruption, asset recovery and the way the convention will be monitored. It is expected that the second reading of the draft text will be completed.

The question of whether private sector corruption should be criminalized under the Convention is one of the difficult issues delegates will be addressed at the fourth session. There is some opposition to including it in the convention because of concerns about the possible negative impact on businesses in terms of restraining trade. Recently the European Union agreed on a framework decision on the criminalization of private sector corruption, which may have a bearing on the negotiations at the Ad Hoc Committee.

Asset recovery is a key issue in the draft Convention and remains a complex matter. The discussions so far have been about reaching a common understanding of the various aspects of the problem and what can be done about it most effectively. One of the issues under consideration is the treatment of public funds which have been embezzled and transferred to another country and their return to the country of origin.

The Ad Hoc Committee will also explore ways to monitor the implementation of the Convention against Corruption once it is in force. There are two main proposals under consideration: one foresees a mechanism similar to that set down in the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the second recommends more detailed monitoring of the implementation of the Convention.

There will be further discussions on the question of a definition of corruption and whether such a definition should be included in the Convention.

Good progress has been made at the first three sessions of the committee and there has been a high degree of commitment and participation by Member States.

There are two more sessions of the Ad Hoc Committee planned for 2003 and then the convention is expected to go before the United Nations General Assembly for approval at its fifty eighth session later this year. The General Assembly in its resolution GA57/169 has approved the holding of a High-level Political Conference in Mexico for the purpose of signing the UN Convention against Corruption in 2003.

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