ENHANCING JUDICIARY`S ABILITY TO CURB CORRUPTION - A PRACTICAL GUIDE
Although extremely difficult to prove, judicial corruption can be identified through analysing the
behaviour of judges or prosecutors in conducting cases, such as finding bias in the gathering, hearing
and judging of arguments and evidence, committing intentional procedural errors that void trials or
exclude significant evidence, or improperly sentencing those convicted of crimes.
Corruption pursued, prosecuted, adjudicated and effectively sanctioned
by the judiciary
Corruption crimes include a wide range of criminal offences, from bribing public or private officials,
trafficking in influence and abuse of positions of authority to more subtle forms such as distortion of
competition, access to privileged information during public procurement processes, ‘revolving doors’
arrangements where political and business interests are aligned due to actors moving between the
public and private sectors, and crimes concerning illicit political donations.
The role of the judiciary is to investigate, prosecute, adjudicate and sanction equally those who
abuse their positions of authority for personal gain, whether they are politicians, civil servants, private
business, foreign officials or even judicial officials. Judiciary’s ultimate goal is to sanction corruption
in all the branches of the government and society overall.
1.2 Impact of judiciaL corruptION
When judicial corruption occurs it fundamentally annuls the basic human right to a fair trial and denies
citizens an impartial settlement of disputes with their neighbours, service providers or the authorities.
A corrupt judiciary becomes captive to political and economic interests and bends judgements to
serve the interests of a few, favouring inequality above delivering justice to all. The victims of injustice
are encouraged to do justice by themselves, outside the limits of the law, threatening peace and the
respect for human rights. Moreover, when a person is convicted for real corruption acts or deeds, but
in an unfair trial, he/ she will be perceived as a hero, by the public opinion, instead of being socially
punished for corruption.
In addition, a corrupt judiciary condones corruption in every other branch of government and economic
activity in which it may have taken root. A culture of tolerating corruption develops and this enables
the bypassing of the law in favour of doing politics, governance and business through a network of
informal channels. As a result black markets, trafficking, money laundering and tax evasion schemes
flourish thus impacting public budgets and causing responsible companies to close their operations
due to the very high costs associated with surviving in a corrupt market.
Formal development is abandoned to the detriment of the poor and marginalized who are deprived
of basic services such as health care, education or food and water supply. Citizen morale is corroded
and governance is hollowed out.
A culture of impunity fed by a systematic failure to sanction those found to be in breach of relevant
laws sends a blunt message to the people: that corruption is tolerated. Thus corruption becomes the
most frightening enemy of democracy, peace and development.
The following chart summarises the impact of judicial corruption on society.