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Veranstaltungen: Dokumentation


Panel II: (Fighting) state corruption: Actors, forms, methods

IRRESISTIBLE? A symposium on the phenomenon of CORRUPTION

Saturday 17 June 2017, 11.30-13.00

PDF-Icon Panel II german

Ioan Amariei (National Anticorruption Directorate, Romania)
Alena Ledeneva (University College London, Great Britain)
Artem Sytnyk (National Anti-Corruption Bureau, Ukraine)
Moderator: Manfred Sapper (German Association for East European Studies, Germany)

Audio-Record: Panel 2: (Fighting) state corruption: Actors, forms, methods; June 17, 2017 (© 2017 Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung)

"The Prosecutor General’s Office is the most corrupt organ of the state." State corruption, oligarchy, nepotism or patronage have been and continue to be one of the most important reasons for protest in Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, Romania or Georgia. The second panel of the symposium was concerned with anti-corruption at the local and cross-regional scale, potential actors, reforms and methods.

Anti-corruption campaigns

Ioan Amariei, state prosecutor with the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) in Romania, gave a short introductory presentation on his organisation as this could serve as a potential template for other countries. A particular success is that the Directorate is able to prosecute ministers and prime ministers, which it did several times already. Public support is also remarkable: With an approval rate of 62%, it is the judicial authority most trusted by the population.

He then sketched the prerequisites and current challenges faced by the Directorate. A particular problem is the inability to prosecute former elected officials as they enjoy immunity after their term in office.
IRRESISTIBLE? – A symposium on the phenomenon of corruption - Panel IIIRRESISTIBLE? – A symposium on the phenomenon of corruption (© bpb/Dorothea Tuch)
Amariei was followed by Artem Sytnyk of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau in Ukraine. After explaining the root causes of the Maidan uprising, he described the current situation and possible future developments. Existing structures have not been successful in fighting corruption in the aftermath of the Maidan revolution; the state prosecutors’ offices continue to be the most corrupt organs within the Ukrainian judicial system. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau was established as a new structure for this reason, responding to international pressure and working in collaboration with civil society and government. This is the first judicial organ to be newly created since Ukrainian independence. Sytnyk emphasised that expectations of this new organ were very high within society. This became apparent when a journalist visited the new body on its first day of operation and asked whether anyone had been convicted yet.

To be able to fight corruption, the Bureau has been given some of the General Prosecutors’ competencies since the latter had largely been ignoring cases of corruption. It is the only Ukrainian authority that can take legal proceedings against current elected officials and that does so on a regular basis. Currently, the head of the Electoral Committee is under investigation.

However, the present situation is very tricky, which is why the creation of an anti-corruption court is being discussed. Given sufficient political will, the fight against corruption in Ukraine has a real chance, Artem Sytnyk concluded.

Practices of corruption

Alena Ledeneva, Professor of Political Sciences, has considerable expertise in the functioning of Russian politics and society; as such she was able to give a good overview of recent developments.
IRRESISTIBLE? – A symposium on the phenomenon of corruption - Panel IIIRRESISTIBLE? – A symposium on the phenomenon of corruption (© bpb/Dorothea Tuch)
The problem within Russian society is that the long periods under oppressive regimes have led people to develop "survival practices". To abandon these in times of democracy is more than difficult. Ms Lede“eva pointed out th”t established "informal practices" also exist in western European countries, although they sometimes take other forms. She used the well-known “Cologne cronyism” as an example of informal politics, although this is a case where the networks are not only used in a negative, but also partly in a positive sense.

The subsequent discussion critically debated the suggested connection between hidden practices in civil society and so-called "grand corruption". Mr Amariei emphasised that civil society must be the first building block for systematic corruption to be tackled successfully. From an economic point of view, business people also play an important role as the development of a healthy economy is rather hampered by the payment of bribes. Throughout, the support and pressure of international partners such as the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were confirmed as crucial. According to Artem Sytnyk, "this role of the international partners cannot be overestimated".

Summary: Christoph Velling

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