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UNODC works together with legal professionals in tackling corruption

Jakarta (Indonesia), 7 July 2011 - On 12 May 2011, UNODC Indonesia hosted a workshop titled "Risk and Threats of Corruption and the Legal Profession" in collaboration with the International Bar Association (IBA) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Local support was provided by the Working Committee of Indonesian Advocates. The workshop was part of a global project on "Anti-Corruption Strategy for the Legal Profession".

In his opening remarks, Mr. Ajit Joy, UNODC Country Manager, said: "It is necessary that business should work against corruption in all its forms and manifestations, including bribery and extortion."

Mr. Nicola Bonnuci, Director of Legal Affairs at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and Mr. Gonzalo Guzman, Senior Staff Lawyer at the International Bar Association, expressed similar views about the legal profession. Because the potential risks of corruption among lawyers is high, they said, containing these risks requires raising awareness of the complex schemes that legal professionals can become involved in and of the punitive sanctions involved for dishonesty.

Mr. Novriady Erman, UNODC Consultant on Anti-corruption, discussed various concepts of corruption as defined by the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and also explained how the conventions apply in an Indonesian legal context. "Considering the complexity of corruption cases in Indonesia," Mr. Erman said, "UNODC has implemented numerous projects to support Indonesia's fight against corruption. More specifically the UNODC continues to support the strengthening of key anti-corruption institutions and provide support to the activities of civil society organisations to fight corruption and increase public awareness."

Mr. Rocco deGrasse, Principal at the Investigative and Integrity Advisory Services, stated that law firms must implement system and process controls in order to identify potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Law firms must also proactively evaluate their environments to determine where risks reside. "Any organisation with international operations or agents may be at risk, but particularly those which interact frequently with governments and which do business in high risk countries," he added.

The three organisations involved in the "Anti-Corruption Strategy for the Legal Profession" project have agreed to actively promote the international anti-corruption framework and to train legal professionals on how to prevent the occurrence of such actions. The anti-corruption trainings were highly successful in their first phase in Latin America during 2010 and are now expanding to Asia.

This half-day workshop was attended by senior representatives of more than 30 law firms experienced in international business transactions in Indonesia.