Civil Society Principles on the Role of Victims in Asset Recovery

The Civil Society Principles on the Role of Victims in Asset Recovery were developed through a collaborative process between November 2022 and december 2023 amongst civil society organizations engaged in asset recovery on the global, regional and national levels.

These are designed as high-level principles on the role of victims in asset recovery both during the prosecution of cases of grand and cross-border corruption and in the recovery and reuse of stolen assets.

Civil Society Principles on the Role of Victims in Asset Recovery


Funds should be returned swiftly to identifiable victims or groups. Where victims cannot be identified, funds should be returned to the countries, regions, communities and peoples from whom they were stolen.


Legal and policy frameworks should be established for victim compensation. These should include broad definitions of victims in corruption cases and should be applicable to both domestic and international recoveries.


Victims’ rights to be heard in judicial proceedings and other procedural rights as set out in international human rights law and under the UNCAC should be respected, protected and fulfilled. This can include through allowing civil society to both represent victims in ongoing cases and to bring complaints on behalf of victims and victim groups in criminal, civil and administrative cases, depending in the respective national jurisdiction.


Rules listed in the UNCAC, and international best practice on victim compensation should be taken into account when allocating the confiscated proceeds of corruption.


Transaction costs for mechanisms to return funds should be minimized to ensure that victims receive the maximum compensation possible.


Recovery of the proceeds of corruption to the victims of that corruption should not preclude the possibility of compensation claims being brought for damage occurred.


Where individual victims cannot be identified, or direct compensation is impractical, open and accessible public consultations must be held to determine the allocation of funds to broader groups of victims. All victims must have the opportunity to participate without discrimination, with transparent decision-making and the right to appeal any irregularities.