UNODC and Ibero-American prosecutors debate Corruption

06 December, 2011 - "Corruption: Need for Efficient Punishment" was one of the issues discussed during the Ibero-American Seminar on New Forms of Crime, Monday, 05 December. The seminar brings together 21 countries members to the Ibero-American Association of Public Prosecutor's Offices (AIAMP).

Opening the meeting, the attorney general of Brazil, Roberto Gurgel, highlighted the importance of international legal cooperation in combating transnational crimes and called attention to the fight against corruption. He recalled that 09 December the International Day Against Corruption and that the challenges are magnified to the extent that criminals find new practices. "Our persecution institutions should bring together efforts to combat this type of crime and should be in line with international regulatory frameworks to enhance mutual legal assistance," he said.

The attorney general of Spain and President of AIAMP, Candido Conde-Pumpido Touron, also stressed the importance of fight against corruption. He quoted the experience of his country with the creation of a corruption specialized attorney and stressed that society requires from the Public Ministry "strict and rigorous behavior".

During his panel, the regional attorney of the 4 th region in Brazil, Douglas Fischer, said that among the main problems that contribute to impunity of corruption is the fact that in Brazil it is not considered a serious crime and that hardly a prison penalty is applied for cases of corruption. Among the measures to be undertaken to have a more severe punishment of corruption, the prosecutor suggested increased supervision with a guaranteed autonomy to assessing agencies.

"More effective than monitoring is to punish corruption. We need at least to try to deal with the present situation, we already have laws, we need to have a new view," said the attorney.

The regional representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for Brazil and Southern Cone, Bo Mathiasen, stressed the importance of combating corruption. "This is not an issue that divides the world in north and south, east or west, because it is a problem of all" said Mathiasen.

According to World Bank data, the impact of corruption is somewhere around US$ 1 trillion, costing between US$ 20-40 billion in developing countries. "Impunity prevents development, threats security, weakens states and can endanger democracy," said Mathiasen.

Among the alternatives to facing corruption, Mathiasen named a change of culture as a daily responsibility of each individual, the responsibility of authorities and the effective punishment of corrupts through criminal prosecution and an effective judicial system. Transparency in public spending was also mentioned.

On Tuesday, 06 December, member countries open the 19th Assembly of the Ibero-American Association of Public Prosecutor's Offices. The event takes place in the Royal Tulip Hotel in Brasilia.

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Source: Procuradoria Geral da República

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