The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is the first global legally binding instrument in the fight against corruption. It was adopted by General Assembly resolution 58/4 of 31 October 2003 and entered into force on 14 December 2005. In a remarkable demonstration of commitment and determination of the international community, to date the Convention has acquired 122 Parties. The objectives of the Convention are to promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption more efficiently and effectively; to promote, facilitate and support international cooperation and technical assistance in the prevention of and fight against corruption, including in asset recovery; and to promote integrity, accountability, and proper management of public affairs and property.
The Convention requires the establishment of a range of offences associated with corruption and devotes a separate chapter to its prevention. It further attaches particular importance to strengthening international cooperation to combat corruption and, in a major breakthrough, includes innovative and far-reaching provisions on asset recovery, as well as on technical assistance and implementation. The present Technical Guide to the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Corruption is the result of a collaborative effort by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), designed to promote the implementation of the Convention by States Parties. A group of experts from around the world held two meetings for developing the draft content of the Guide, one in Turin, Italy, in May 2006 and one in Vienna, Austria, in September 2006. In elaborating the final version of the Guide, thorough consideration was given by the Secretariat to comments, amendments and suggestions received as a result of wide consultations.
Following the elaboration of the Legislative Guide for the implementation of the Convention, which was made available in 2006, the present Technical Guide primarily focuses on the provision to anti-corruption practitioners and authorities of relevant technical advice, tools and examples of good practices to make the articles of the Convention operational. The two Guides actually complement each other: the Legislative Guide had been drafted for use mainly by legislators and policymakers in States preparing themselves for the ratification and implementation of the Convention. The Technical Guide focuses not so much on guidance in relation to the necessary legislative changes for the incorporation of the Convention into the domestic legal system of the States concerned, but attempts to highlight policy issues, institutional aspects and operational frameworks related to the full and effective implementation of the provisions of the Convention. In view of this complementarity, the Technical Guide has to be considered in conjunction with the Legislative Guide. This is why the Technical Guide resorts to cross-references to the content of the Legislative Guide on several occasions (especially in relation to the criminalization provisions of chapter III and some of the provisions of chapter V of the Convention).
In any case, both Guides are to be used jointly as components of a comprehensive package of tools aimed at enhancing the knowledge and capacity of stakeholders, in particular of anti-corruption agencies, as well as criminal justice and law enforcement authorities, on specific aspects related to the implementation of the Convention. The joint consideration and use of the two Guides entails significant advantages for both Member States and the Secretariat: on the one hand, national authorities that need to acquire a full understanding of the provisions of the Convention will profit by the existence of a consultative framework provided by the Guides.
The Secretariat, on the other, can use the Guides as a helpful basis for more comprehensive technical assistance activities encompassing a broader range of policy and institutional challenges that need to be addressed for the full implementation of the Convention. The objective of the present Guide is to lay out a range of policy options and considerations that each State Party needs, or may wish, to take into account in national efforts geared towards implementation of the Convention. Thus, the Guide intends only to raise and highlight issues pertinent to such implementation and by no means purports to be used as a complete and exhaustive counselling material for national policymakers, especially in view of the different legal systems and traditions and the varying levels of institutional capacity among States Parties. The structure of the Guide follows the text of the Convention and its main parts correspond to the different chapters of the instrument.
This is in recognition of the fact that the four pillars of the Convention (prevention, criminalization and law enforcement, international cooperation and asset recovery) are constituent elements of a comprehensive and multidisciplinary anti-corruption strategy. The breadth and comprehensive scope of the provisions of the Convention will certainly require much more detailed tools. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in its capacity as the guardian of the Convention and Secretariat to the Conference of the States Parties, and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, as a leading United Nations institute in applied research and crime prevention, are committed to continue work on the development of a full set of such tools, in collaboration with a broad range of partners.