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GOPAC Welcomes New Chapter in Italy

A multi-partisan group of parliamentarians and former parliamentarians in Italy committed to joining the global fight against corruption in October and launched GOPAC’s most recent national chapter, GOPAC Italy. As part of the meeting, the group elected an Executive Committee and adopted a constitution. They have elected Hon Guglielmo Picchi to lead the fight as Chair of the national chapter. He is joined on the Executive Committee by former parliamentarians Riccardo Migiliori and Claudio D’Amico as Vice-Chairs and Hon Leonardo Comucci as Treasurer.
Hon Gaetano Nastri, Hon Alessio Tacconi and Hon Fucsia Nissoli Fitzgerald were elected as members of the Executive as well.

GOPAC welcomes this new chapter to our ever growing organization and looks forward to working with the dedicated GOPAC Italy members to promote the rule of law and good governance in Italy and around the world.

Parliamentary Oversight and the UNCAC in Nigeria

On 21-22 October, GOPAC and the African Parliamentarians’ Network Against Corruption (APNAC), in collaboration with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), held an anti-corruption for members of the National Assembly of Nigeria, in Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria.   The meeting was attended by 16 parliamentarians from the Senate and the House of Representative, together with their parliamentary clerks and a representative from the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC). Speakers included Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Vice-Chair of GOPAC and Chair of APNAC, Samuel De Jaegere, the regional representative of the UNODC, and Vicki Baxter-Amade, Program Advisor at GOPAC’s Global Secretariat.

The workshop, which was funded by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), focussed on parliamentary oversight and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, including the Jakarta Principles on maintaining the independence of Anti-Corruption Agencies. 
Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, spoke about the importance of effective oversight in helping to curb corruption and urged them to ensure that their governments respect the separation of powers established in the Constitution.   Delegates also expressed a strong interest in anti-money laundering and the participation of society and resolved to work collaboratively with civil society in order to lower public tolerance of corruption.

The group also agreed on the need to reactivate an APNAC chapter in Nigeria and elected a steering committee to take this process forward, with the Hon Jagaba Adams Jagaba as Chair.  

Prosecuting Grand Corruption as an International Crime

There are some forms of corruption so grave, whose effects on human life, human rights, and human welfare are so catastrophic, that they should shock the conscience of the international community and mobilise the will of nations to act across borders. This grand corruption is an affront and an assault against the common good of all mankind.

At the recent Global Conference, held in Manila, Philippines this past February, our members unanimously mandated GOPAC to seek to establish grand corruption as a crime under international law, to enable international institutions and alliances to pursue, apprehend, prosecute, judge, and sentence the guilty. 
Since then, GOPAC has been working with its chapters and international partners to develop options to fulfil this mandate.

In the lead-up to the fifth Forum of Parliamentarians, GOPAC released Prosecuting Grand Corruption as an International Crime, a discussion paper laying out those options. Each potential path forward has its advantages and disadvantages, and each strikes a different balance between the ideal and the possible.  GOPAC held an in-depth discussion of these options at the Forum. Information on the outcome of these discussions will be available on our website shortly and in the next newsletter.

Help Put Corruption on C20 Agenda in Australia

The Australian government has started planning for its 2014 Presidency of the G20, including launching an initiative to select the topics for discussion at the civil society forum – C20. Anti-corruption is one of the policy options but its inclusion is not yet guaranteed. 
We encourage all GOPAC members, observers and supporters to visit the C20 website to nominate anti-corruption as one of the key topics. The process takes only a minute or two and enables you to have your say in setting the agenda for such an important meeting.
Do you believe that women leaders and/or government officials are less or more likely to engage in corruption than their male counterparts?

Share your thoughts here: GOPAC Question of the Month

International Anti-Corruption Day

The United Nations (UN) named 9 December International Anti-Corruption Day following the passage of the UN Convention Against Corruption on 31 October 2003. It is a day to raise awareness about corruption and how we can fight it.

In the lead up to International Anti-Corruption Day, we encourage our members to plan events and activities in their countries.
To help you, the UN has launched a campaign and website, ACT Against Corruption, that is filled with the resources you will need to make your celebration of the day a success. In addition, we would like to feature your events in our next newsletter. Please send your articles and stories to our Communications Manager, Ann Marie Paquet.

Twenty Years Fighting Corruption: the anniversary of an idea

GOPAC congratulates Transparency International on its 20th anniversary and all that it is has achieved in so brief a period. TI was founded at a time when speaking of corruption was often considered more unacceptable than being corrupt. Yet twenty years later, TI remains strong and has developed into one of the leading lights in the fight against corruption.

In November, TI celebrated this milestone with On Corruption, a daylong conference in Berlin, Germany. GOPAC was honoured to be invited to participate and was represented by GOPAC Board Member, Dr Naser Al Sane and GOPAC’s Executive Director, Akaash Maharaj. 
Our participation served to reinforce our already strong relationship with TI and highlighted the importance of collaboration in the fight against corruption.

Going forward GOPAC and TI must leverage the momentum of the past twenty years, and press words into deeds. We will succeed in this fight if, and only if, we can build a vigilant, relentless, and fearless coalition of citizens and parliamentarians, standing together against the corrupt.

Restoring Trust in Government

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) invited Hon Terry Mercer, GOPAC Canada member and Senator in the Government of Canada, to speak at Restoring Trust in Government, a policy dialogue forum held in Paris, on 14-15 November. The forum brought together representatives from the public and private sectors and provided a venue for discussions on political financing with regards to regulations; risks and opportunities; and policies options.
Hon Mercer spoke at a session on political finance that examined the new and existing challenges associated with money and undue influence in politics, both in the demand and supply side, and current regulatory efforts. 
 He presented a case study on political finance in Canada, sharing what Canada has done to improve public confidence in how political parties are financed and how political activities are governed.
In his presentation, Hon Mercer shared that despite regulations being introduced by many OECD countries, undue influence, and even corruption, still occurs. He reminded participants that it is their job to recognize and prevent it. It his concluding remarks, he stressed the importance of transparency and fairness in political financing regimes.

Global Dialog on Transitional Justice and Corruption

On 24-25 October 2013, Freedom House and Transparency International organized a Global Practitioner’s Dialogue on Transitional Justice, with the aim of examining what transitional justice and anti-corruption tools can be used in pre- and post-transition settings to build and maintain the legitimacy of government, fight impunity and provide redress for human rights violations. The event brought together 20 practitioners from Africa, Australasia, Europe, North America and the Middle East, as well as representatives from the International Criminal Court Trust Fund for Victims and the Commission of the African Union.

The Vice-Chair of APNAC and Chair of APNAC Rwanda, Senator Marie Claire Mukasine, represented GOPAC at the event and spoke about the experiences of Rwanda in using a “Gacaca” court mechanism to identify truths behind the 1994 genocide, fast-track trials related to genocide and contribute towards a system of reconciliation and unity in the country. 
Sen Mukasine also cited some of the measures which Rwanda has taken to fight corruption since the genocide, commenting that “the genocide against the Tutsi was the result of a long period of discrimination, corruption, and lack of mechanisms to prevent abuses of human rights.” Sen Mukasine highlighted the importance of building strong institutions to prevent corruption and abuse of human rights, as well as a spirit of collaboration between all the key players, both nationally and internationally. In considering the overlap between transitional justice and anti-corruption initiatives, Sen Mukasine noted that “the two are intricately linked by their common pursuit of justice against impunity”.
Copyright © 2013 Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), All rights reserved.

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