Details of Treaty No.173

Criminal Law Convention on Corruption
Title Criminal Law Convention on Corruption
Reference CETS No.173
Opening of the treaty Strasbourg, 27/01/1999  - Treaty open for signature by the member States and the non-member States which have participated in its elaboration and for accession by other non-member States and by the European Union
Entry into Force 01/07/2002  - 14 Ratifications.

The Criminal Law Convention on Corruption is an ambitious instrument aiming at the co-ordinated criminalisation of a large number of corrupt practices. It also provides for complementary criminal law measures and for improved international co-operation in the prosecution of corruption offences. The Convention is open to the accession of non-member States. Its implementation will be monitored by the "Group of States against Corruption - GRECO", which started functioning on 1st May 1999. As soon as they ratify it, States which do not already belong to GRECO will automatically become members.

The Convention is wide-ranging in scope, and complements existing legal instruments. It covers the following forms of corrupt behaviour normally considered as specific types of corruption:

  • active and passive bribery of domestic and foreign public officials;
  • active and passive bribery of national and foreign parliamentarians and of members of international parliamentary assemblies;
  • active and passive bribery in the private sector;
  • active and passive bribery of international civil servants;
  • active and passive bribery of domestic, foreign and international judges and officials of international courts;
  • active and passive trading in influence;
  • money-laundering of proceeds from corruption offences;
  • accounting offences (invoices, accounting documents, etc.) connected with corruption offences.

States are required to provide for effective and dissuasive sanctions and measures, including deprivation of liberty that can lead to extradition. Legal entities will also be liable for offences committed to benefit them, and will be subject to effective criminal or non-criminal sanctions, including monetary sanctions.

The Convention also incorporates provisions concerning aiding and abetting, immunity, criteria for determining the jurisdiction of States, liability of legal persons, the setting up of specialised anti-corruption bodies, protection of persons collaborating with investigating or prosecuting authorities, gathering of evidence and confiscation of proceeds. It provides for enhanced international co-operation (mutual assistance, extradition and the provision of information) in the investigation and prosecution of corruption offences.

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