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Who can enforce rights to justice for corruption?


Law enforcement authorities and other state agencies

Any individual or organisation can report suspicion of corruption to investigative authorities. See the section headed “How do I start an investigation into corrupt conduct?“.

In most countries it is the role of law enforcement authorities such as the police to investigate and gather evidence about corruption offences. If the police consider that there is evidence of corruption, their concerns and the supporting evidence will often be given to the public prosecution service. The state prosecutors will then consider the strength of the evidence that corrupt acts have occurred, apply the prescribed statutory tests, and decide whether to commence a criminal prosecution.

Bear in mind that in most countries, any attempt to confiscate assets wrongfully taken as a result of corrupt acts must be brought by law enforcement authorities.

What do you do if the police and public prosecutors fail to act? In some countries it is possible for individuals to commence private criminal prosecutions. This can be a useful means of bringing publicity, putting pressure on the corrupt actors, and persuading the state authorities to take over the prosecution to pursue it themselves. Unfortunately, however, private prosecutions of corruptions are rare.


Victims of corruption

If you or others in your community have suffered loss as a result of corruption, you may be able to bring a court action against the wrongdoer, via a civil or criminal case.   Bear in mind that the person who suffered the loss needs to be a party in the case.

For example, claims for compensation may be brought by

  • the employer of the corrupt individual which may be a public office, a company or other organisation if the corruption was somehow related to the position the corrupt person held
  • anybody who suffered from uncompetitive behaviour caused by corrupt actions, for example losing a business opportunity or contract because of corruption
  • shareholders of a company on their own behalf who suffered damages because of the corrupt conduct of an employee or other related person.



NGOs and other entities

In some countries court cases may also be brought by representative entities. For example, in some countries NGOs are authorised by law to represent groups of people, for example where the members of those groups cannot be (or do not wish to be) identified individually.

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