19th Conference of European Ministers of Justice

14-15 June 1994, Valletta (Malta)

Resolution No 1 on civil, administrative and criminal law aspects of corruption

The Ministers participating in the 19th Conference of European Ministers of Justice (Valletta, 1994);
Having examined the report submitted by the Italian Minister of Justice on administrative, civil and penal aspects, including the role of the judiciary, of the fight against corruption;
Having examined the co-reports of the Ministers of Justice of Malta and the Netherlands;
Considering that corruption is a serious threat to democracy, the rule of law and human rights, which constitute the fundamental values of the Council of Europe;
Considering that the Council of Europe, being the pre-eminent European institution defending those values, is called upon to respond to that threat;
Convinced that the fight against corruption should take a multi-disciplinary approach, involving all aspects of law (civil, administrative, criminal and constitutional) as well as other measures specially designed effectively to counter corruption, including guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary;
Concerned about the links which have been established in many countries between corruption and organised crime;
Concerned that corruption creates a climate prejudicial to civic attitudes and to relations between the public and the authorities;
Underlining the adverse financial consequences of corruption to the individual and the State as well as to international institutions,
Noting that it is necessary to involve and motivate the public to fight against corruption;
Convinced of the necessity to adopt appropriate legislation, where needed, in this area as soon as possible;
Aware of the need to develop other measures such as codes of conduct and administrative regulations;
Believing that an effective fight against corruption requires increased cross-border co-operation between States, and between States and international institutions;
Aware of the need to involve also non-member States of the Council in this fight;
Considering the need to promote the co-ordination of measures, including preventive ones, at a European level and beyond;
Having regard to the Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime, done at Strasbourg on 8 November 1990 and the Directive of the Council of the European Communities of 10 June 1991 on Prevention of the Use of the Financial System for the Purpose of Money Laundering and ongoing work in the OECD and the United Nations;
Agreeing that the speedy ratification and effective implementation of the Convention and other international instruments relating to money laundering would constitute an important step towards the eradication of the use of ill-gotten gains, including corrupt money;
Expressing their gratitude to the Minister of Justice of the Italian Republic for his proposal to set up a Group on Corruption within the Council of Europe open to the participation of non-member States of the Council of Europe,
RECOMMEND that the Committee of Ministers:


a.Consideration of the nature of corruption, also with a view to appraising the feasibility of arriving at a common legal definition, or one which is harmonised as far as possible. Study of the question whether there is or should be a distinction between corruption and coercion. Research on corruption.

Administrative, public, civil and tax law aspects

b.Public and private codes of conduct and other preventive measures.
c.Administrative liability and auditing.
d.Administrative penalties.
e.Civil remedies (for example injunction, damages).
f.Means of obtaining evidence relating to corruption and evidence required to prove corruption and damage resulting from corruption.
g.Identification of the injured party and protection of third parties.
h.Subsequent action to be taken with regard to contracts, especially public contracts for works, and consideration of making rules for public procurement.
i.Control of or taxation of illicit payments (for example requiring more detailed tax returns or annual reports).
j.Financing of political parties. Role of "lobby" organisations. Role of members of Parliament representing sectoral interests.
k.Protection and responsibility of civil servants and elected officials, at national and local level. Study of legal consequences of conviction for corruption: disqualification and loss of right to hold office.
l.Protection and responsibility of legal professions, including judges, prosecutors and members of Bar associations.
m.Protection and responsibility of other professions, including persons responsible for investment funds.
n.Setting up of special bodies responsible for the fight against corruption.
Criminal law aspects
o.Study of the importance of "background corruption" and trading in influence.
p.Need to render illegal the laundering of the proceeds of corruption, irrespective of where the offence was committed.
q.Seizure and confiscation of the proceeds of corruption, including confiscation of the equivalent value.
r.Criminal liability of legal persons.
s.Corruption and criminal law aspects of illicit financing in politics.
t.Criminalisation of corruption of foreign officials.
u.Immunity from ordinary jurisdiction and maintaining special procedures for some categories of persons.
v.Protection of witnesses.
International co-operation
x.Extradition and mutual assistance for offences or corruption.
y.Corruption of officials of international and supranational organisations.