On 10 November 2017, Mark L Wolf, a Senior United States District Judge and the former Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, presented the argument for an international anti-corruption court. Justice Wolf was in Canberra thanks to cooperation between the Transnational Research Institute on Corruption and the Carnegie Mellon University Australia.
Public corruption is endemic at the highest levels of government in many nations. Such ‘grand corruption’ is costly, closely correlated with the most serious abuses of human rights, and threatens the stability of many nations and the world. Grand corruption depends on a culture of impunity that exists because of the unwillingness of leaders to permit the honest and able investigation of their friends, families, and, indeed, themselves.
International efforts to combat grand corruption have been inadequate and ineffective. Similar circumstances concerning genocide and other egregious abuses of human rights led to the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2002.
An International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC), similar to the ICC or as part of it, should now be established to provide a forum for the criminal enforcement of the laws prohibiting grand corruption that exist in virtually every country, and the undertakings that are requirements of various treaties and international organisations.
Justice Wolf previously received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for exceptional success in prosecuting public corruption in Massachusetts. Mark is currently the Chair of Integrity Initiatives International, which has been championing for the establishment of an international anti-corruption court to combat impunity in grand corruption.
The Transnational Research Institute on Corruption (TRIC) was established in 2010 as a cross disciplinary centre to bring together ANU expertise in the study of corruption. Its prime focus is research, though it will develop capacity in teaching about corruption and corruption prevention, as well as undertake technical assistance.
This public lecture was presented by the School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University Australia, and the Transnational Research Institute on Corruption and Crawford School at The Australian National University.