Peters: Corruption as a Violation of International Human Rights
Source: International Law Reporter
By Anne Peters
It is a fact that states with a high corruption rate (or a high corruption perception) are at the same time those with a poor human rights record.
Beyond this coincidence, the paper seeks to identify a concrete legal relationship between corruption and deficient human rights protection. This is in practical terms relevant, because the extant international norms against corruption have so far yielded only modest success; their implementation could be improved with the help of human rights arguments and instruments.
This paper therefore discusses a dual question: Can corrupt behaviour be conceptualised as a human rights violation? Should it be categorised and sanctioned as a human rights violation? My answer is that such a reconceptualization is legally sound, and that its normative and practical benefits outweigh the risk of reinforcing the anti-Western skepticism towards the fight against corruption. This assessment leads to the practice recommendation of a mutual mainstreaming of the international anti-corruption and human rights procedures. I conclude that the re-framing of corruption not only as a human right issue but as a potential human rights violation can contribute to closing the implementation gap of the international anti-corruption instruments.