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Public lecture of Eva Joly: The Paris Declaration: the New International Anti-Corruption Agenda

Radisson SAS Grand Hotel, Sofia

On October 23, 2003 Ms. Eva Joly, the renown invastigative magistrate, delivered a lecture depicting her experience in large-scale corruption cases in France. The event was co-organized by CSD and the Royal Embassy of Norway in Sofia.

Ms. Joly started with expressing her view that economic crime should be investigated and penalized on a par with all other violations and that such investigations are successful on condition magistrates are independent.

Ms. Joly recounted in detail her eight-year endeavor over the embezzlement case involving the French oil giant Elf. In the course of investigation, disclosures were made about the referral of substantial amounts into the personal accounts of Elf’s top management. The scandal also implicated France’s former foreign minister and constitutional court president Roland Dumas.

Ms. Joly shared her predicaments in the course of the disclosures of the company’s ever greater financial irregularities. Her life had been put in danger so that even exclusive 24-hour protections measures had had to be ordered.

The most important lessons Ms. Joly stated to have learned during the investigation process were:

-large-scale investigations are time-consuming, therefore demanding high motivation of the investigating team and flexibility of the system. According to Ms. Joly, the French judicial system proved incapable of such investigations;

-support by foreign states and institutions is essential, particularly when account holders in overseas banks need to be identified.

In relation to the overall need to step up cooperation in combating high level corruption Ms. Joly presented the recommendations laid down in the Paris Declaration, a document launched by her on June 19, 2003. The Declaration offers measures to deter serious forms of corruption and ensure efficient investigations in all countries. The document was signed by 25 international figures, amongst them world-known politicians, magistrates, journalists and several Nobel Prize winners.

Ms. Joly was asked a number of questions by the audience, among them Coalition 2000 Media Expert Group Coordinator Mr. Georgi Apostolov’s inquiry about the media’s attitude on the Elf case. She confirmed that she had had the media’s support at the start, but also stated that in the course of the prolonged investigation they had got disillusioned and even taken the side of the perpetrators.

Mr. Konstantin Pashev of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions was interested in the criteria according to which countries are classified as corrupt or less corrupt and whether the wealth of corrupt officials in less developed countries was not taken from rich Western states only to return back to them. In reply, Ms. Joly’s stressed that despite numerous factors affecting the spread of corruption, a crucial feature of a highly corrupt state is the absence of internal control and the dependency of the judiciary. She confirmed the flow of finance from rich to poor and back to rich states, meanwhile expressing hope that the UN Convention Against corruption to be signed in Mexico in December, 2003 would break new grounds for combating corruption on a world scale.

Related links
Official website of the Paris Declaration
Biographical data for Eva Joly
Seminar: The Importance of a Free Media in the Fight against Corruption
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