Archive for the 'Democracy' Category

The Next Step: Post-Arab Spring

Throughout the International Anti-Corruption Conference, we’ll post exclusive interviews about what happens after the workshops and panels are over. We’ll look at what was accomplished and what strategies participants can actually take back to their countries to fight corruption.

One of the topics that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue here in Brasilia is the Arab Spring and the debate over what the next steps should be and whether change is happening fast enough. So, we decided to dedicate two episodes of The Next Step to different perspectives on what needs to happen in the Arab Region, post-Arab Spring.

Our first guest is an Iraqi parliamentarian from Kurdistan in Northern Iraq, Susan Shahab-Nouri.

Our next guest is Hadeel Qazzaz. She works with the NGO Integrity Action. She is from Palestine and just moved to Calgary, Canada.

Garzón, the last exile from spanish dictatorship

When newspapers in your host country only mention Spain to talk about its crisis, its evictions, cuts and corruption of its politicians, seeing an audience of 140 nationalities cheering Baltasar Garzon was like a reconciliation with my country.

The judge answered questions raised by the public, received books, had his picture taken and answered dozens of reporters- even while having a broken voice due to a virus. In Spain, however, he cannot practice his profession and although for a large segment of society he is a hero, the rest think of him as a villain.

His order to wiretap leaders of the largest network of corruption linked to a political party ended his career. Garzón does not fear saying that the dismissal process was “arbitrary, unfair” and “irregular” and said he will take Spain to the European Court of Human Rights after the Constitutional Court rejected his appeal for protection.

Baltasar Garzón

The judge also criticized Spain for the barriers imposed while he was preparing to investigate the offshore accounts of over a hundred other participants. The diversion of money to offshore territories was one of the claims of his speech. “It is unacceptable that after 10 years of discussion within the European Union, there has been no agreement on such systems. Perhaps the explanation is that, in one way or another, the European Union countries are the most related to transactions and operations in tax heavens.”

Among his claims, he proposed an amendment to laws in order to better facilitate the fight against corruption by the judiciary. Garzón said that corruption is not configured as a crime, but the crime lies in behavior relating to it. Thus arose the need for corruption to be considered a crime under international jurisdiction.

“It is increasingly clear linking corruption and transnational serious facts within the jurisdiction of the international court,” he said. “Genocide crimes, drug trafficking, piracy …. In all of them there are elements of corruption and any judge of any country should have an obligation to investigate.”

“Corruption is itself a major crime category and therefore should have no difficulty to contemplate corruption within the international jurisdiction but there is lack of political intention,” he said.

Garzón, who is representing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, now begins a series of trips through Latin America. He had to leave Spain (he describes himself as the “last exile from Franco) but his corruption lessons now resonate in the rest of the world.

Photo: © http://www.presidencia.gov.ar/

Message from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the 15th IACC participants

Dear Friends:

It gives me great pleasure to extend my greetings to all those gathered in Brasilia for the 15th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC). I am delighted to have this opportunity to thank the IACC Council for its ongoing leadership in raising awareness of corruption, identifying innovative ways to combat it, and mobilizing stakeholders inside and outside of government. I also commend the Government of Brazil for hosting this important gathering. The United States is proud to be your partner in our shared effort to fight corruption and promote open government. > Read full story

¿Son tan malos los lobbies?

¿Es lo mismo hacer lobby para conseguir recursos para investigar el cáncer que para obtener más permisos de prospección de petróleo? ¿Hay que valorarlos de forma diferente? Elija un público al azar y la respuesta será: NO. Pregunte a Karl Isaksson y dirá SÍ sin pestañear.

Karl Isaksson comanda la European Public Affairs Consultancies Association (EPACA). Una entidad que representa los intereses de 42 grupos de lobby en Europa, desde empresas manufactureras a compañías del sector financiero.

Hay quien se sorprendió de que Isaksson aceptase la invitación de participar en la 15th IACC: defender la influencia de los lobbies en las politicas públicas ante un auditorio, en ese sentido, hostil, no es fácil. “Es importante explicar lo que hacemos, si la gente tuviese más consciencia de nuestro trabajo, entenderían lo importante que es para la democracia”, explica Isaksson.

> Read full story

The Next Step: Dirty Money

Throughout the International Anti-Corruption Conference, we’ll post exclusive interviews about what happens after the workshops and panels are over. We’ll look at what was accomplished and what strategies participants can actually take back to their countries to fight corruption.

One of the major obstacles to fighting corruption is dirty money and illicit financial flows. How do institutions restore people’s trust? And what key measures are needed to make sure transparency is rooted in the world of money.

After their panel, Patrick Alley, co-founder of Global Witness and Nicholas Shaxon, investigative journalist and author, joined me to talk about the next steps needed to curtail the flow of dirty money.

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