8 November 2022, 11.30-13.00 - Room 10 – Palais de l’Europe

Interpretation: EN/FR

The rule of law is one of the fundamental democratic principles, as it safeguards the body politic from abuses of power or potential “tyranny of the majority”. The Council of Europe, with its European Court of Human Rights, has a rich case law, which has had a real role in preserving human rights, democracy and the rule of law in its member States. Nevertheless, every violation found by the Court in Strasbourg has first made its way through the full measure of domestic legal proceedings without adequate resolution.

A deterioration in the quality of the rule of law is symptomatic of a general democratic decline: rights and liberties without accountability is both inimical to the common good and untenable in a democratic society. If corruption undermines public trust and confidence in the integrity of government is essential for good governance, then whistle-blowers and anti-corruption activists are on the front lines of democracy’s defense, yet they so often pay a very high price for their courage.

Forum Talk 5: Corruption and Accountability- keeping faith in democracy
Palais de l'Europe, room 10 8 November 2022 - 11.30-13.00
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Full screen: ENFR / ORIGINAL

moderator moderator


Co-founder and senior associate of the Democratization Policy Council


Kurt Bassuener is co-founder and senior associate of the Democratization Policy Council, a Berlin-based think-tank established in 2005. His received his PhD in 2021 from the University of St. Andrews’ Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence for his dissertation titled: “Peace Cartels: Internationally Brokered Power-Sharing and Perpetual Oligarchy in Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia.” He resides in Sarajevo, where he serves as a regional strategic advisor for Kvinna Till Kvinna. He is also co-author and research director for the Diplomat’s Handbook for Democracy Development Support, a project of the Community of Democracies.

panel panel


Former Mayor of Palermo (1985–1990, 1993–2000 and 2012–2022)


SULLIVAN Drew 2022


Co-founder of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Drew Sullivan co-founded the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) in 2007 where he serves as editor and publisher. Before that, he founded the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) in Bosnia. Under his direction, OCCRP has won more than 100 investigative journalism awards including the European Press Prize, IRE award and the Global Shining Light. OCCRP is one of the world’s largest investigative media with more than 50 investigative editors on six continents. Before OCCRP, he was a reporter for the Tennessean newspaper and the Associated Press. Before becoming a journalist, he was an aerospace engineer on the Space Shuttle project for Rockwell Space Systems.


Lt Col (Ret.) Alex VINDMAN

retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, former Political-Military Affairs Officer


Alexander Vindman, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, was most recently the director for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Russia on the White House’s National Security Council. Previously, he served as the Political-Military Affairs Officer for Russia for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as an attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia. While on the Joint Staff, he authored the National Military Strategy for Russia and the Global Campaign for Russia. He is currently a doctoral student and senior fellow for the Foreign Policy Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Pritzker Military Fellow at the Lawfare Institute, executive board member for the Renew Democracy Initiative, senior advisor for VoteVets, and the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, Here, Right Matters.

discussant discussant


Youth Delegate


My name is Hamed Ajab and I am a hopeful individual with the aim to improve democratic processes via economic and financial reform. I am originally from Afghanistan but have lived the majority of my life in Saudi Arabia as the son of Afghan immigrants who fled Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion. I have spent all my life living in different places but never feeling like I ever belonged as I was always deprived of the most fundamental democratic rights and this led to fight for my rights and reinstate them. However, this was not a possibility in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia—which are both countries notorious for their lack of human rights and disregard for democratic principles. Hence, I went to continue my education in Poland and since then I have directed my vision at educating people about their rights and theorising on how our current understanding of democracy could be developed.

LAWAL Hamzat 2022

Hamzat LAWAL

“Follow the Money” anticorruption initiative from Nigeria, Democracy Innovation Award Winner in 2019


Hamzat Lawal is an activist who has successfully led campaigns in over 40 African countries with over 15 years experience in the non-profit sector and specializes in practical issues associated with Climate Change, Open Data, advocacy campaigns and development policies as it affects rural and deprived grassroots communities. He is also the Founder of Follow The Money, the largest Pan-African grassroots data-driven movement and leads a team of technology and innovation-driven campaigners to amplify the voices of marginalized grassroots communities in promoting accountability. Hamzat was recently appointed on Beyoncé’s BeyGood Global Citizen Fellowship as an Advisory Board Member. He was also recognized amongst the 100 most influential Africans in 2019. He is currently leading a global education campaign to accelerate girl’s’ education and ending girl-child marriages.

rapporteur rapporteur


Political Science student