The Civil Society Principles on the Use of Anti-Corruption Sanctions as a Tool for Asset Recovery were developed through a collaborative process beginning in November 2022 amongst civil society organisations engaged in asset recovery on the global, regional and national levels.
These are designed as high-level principles on the use of anti-corruption sanctions as a tool for asset recovery and aimed to be complemented by precise recommendations at the national and regional levels.
Civil Society Principles on the Use of Anti-Corruption Sanctions as a Tool for Asset Recovery
Sanction regimes specifically designed to tackle corruption should be established, effectively implemented and monitored. Where appropriate, they should be implemented in coordination with other jurisdictions.
Anti-corruption sanctions alone are not enough to address kleptocracy. The imposition of anti-corruption sanctions needs to be linked through law or policy to the opening of investigations by law enforcement into the origins of sanctioned wealth.
Investigations should take place in the sanctioning jurisdiction and, where applicable, the country requesting the imposition of sanctions. The opening of an investigation in the sanctioning jurisdiction should be irrespective of the opening of an investigation in the jurisdiction where the corruption is alleged to have taken place.
As part of this, on implementing anti-corruption sanctions, law enforcement authorities should set out plans to move from sanctions to investigations, prosecutions, and eventual asset recovery.
Requests from the jurisdiction where the alleged corruption took place should not lead automatically to the closure of investigations into criminality in the sanctioning jurisdiction. This should be the case even where sanctions have been imposed on the request of that jurisdiction.
Assessments should be made that address the likelihood of the alleged corruption leading to a criminal conviction in the jurisdiction where the corruption took place and any lifting of sanctions should be taken on the basis of assisting a conviction consistent with the rights of the defense and the principle of a fair trial elsewhere
Criteria should be established for the designation or lifting of anti-corruption sanctions to avoid political interference in this process.
This should include transparent designation criteria and a commitment to apply sanctions consistently.
Designations should be public and published in a timely manner. They should include as much background information on the designation as possible within the remit of ongoing investigations. Court decisions and confiscations relating to those sanctions should be published.
Provision should be made to engage with independent civil society organizations in both the sanctioning jurisdiction and the jurisdiction where the corruption occurred throughout the process.
Any reasoned request from civil society for the imposition of anti-corruption sanctions in relation to a given person should be followed by an appropriate examination and responsible authorities should provide a reasoned response within a reasonable timeframe.
Information should be publicly disclosed on aggregate amounts frozen under anti-corruption sanctions regimes to allow for public and civil society oversight over the implementation of sanctions regimes.
Anti-corruption sanctions should be effectively implemented, and measures should be in place to monitor and enforce compliance.
Institutions or agencies should be assigned or established to oversee the effective implementation of anti-corruption sanctions and respond to breaches. These institutions should be properly resourced.
Breaches of anti-corruption sanctions should incur penalties commensurate with their severity.
The imposition of sanctions should be linked to a broader anti-corruption strategy in the sanctioning jurisdiction and in the jurisdiction where the corruption occurred to reduce the need for sanctions in the long term.