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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

An International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC) to Mitigate Grand Corruption and Human Rights Abuses

Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 1:30pm
H-137 U.S. Capitol Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing on the creation of an International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC) to combat grand corruption and prevent human rights abuses.

Grand corruption, or corruption at the highest level of government, is extremely costly, creates havens for terrorists and criminals, is devastating for democracy, and is closely correlated with the most egregious violations of human rights. Nations such as Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria, and Sudan are regularly ranked among the most corrupt and most abusive of human rights practice. As former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay of South Africa explained, "corruption is an enormous obstacle to the realization of all human rights, civil, political, economic and cultural." The White House National Security Strategy of 2010 characterized corruption itself as a "violation of basic human rights."

Grand corruption depends on a culture of impunity, which results from corrupt leaders protecting their friends, their families, and themselves. In order to incapacitate the perpetrators of grand corruption who simultaneously violate human rights, and deter others, there must be the credible threat of criminal prosecution outside the countries they control. Recognition of this idea has generated an international movement to establish an IACC.

The panelists will discuss the linkage between grand corruption and human rights, the challenges to combating grand corruption, the mission of an IACC, including how it could complement and collaborate with national systems, and the challenges to the creation of a court with a real ability to punish and deter corrupt leaders.

For any questions, please contact Andrew Longhi at 202-225-8097 or

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chair, TLHRC
Frank R. Wolf, M.C.
Co-Chair, TLHRC


Opening Remarks


  • The Honorable Mark L. Wolf, Senior Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and author of "The Case for an International Anti-Corruption Court"
    Written statement
  • Mr. Arvind Ganesan, Director, Business and Human Rights, Human Rights Watch
    Written statement
  • Professor Ruth Wedgwood, Edward B. Burling Professor of International Law, Johns Hopkins University, President of the International Law Association (U.K. & U.S.), and member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (2003-2011)
113th Congress