ABA ROLI seeks to strengthen the rule of law and civic participation through a multi-sector network. The network, comprised of Lebanese governmental and non-governmental organizations, has developed a comprehensive action plan aimed at promoting the right to access information and providing whistleblower protection for public administration, media and private enterprises. ABA ROLI and the Focus Group Research Center at the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies conducted public perception surveys to inform an anti-corruption public awareness campaign.
ABA ROLI works with Transparency Azerbaijan to support anti-corruption legal advocacy centers (ALACs) in the cities of Baku, Ganja and Lenkoran. These centers provide free legal advice on reporting corruption, enabling citizens to take action against corruption. The centers also distribute information and operate public awareness campaigns. To date, the ALACs have received more than 3,000 complaints, including reinstatement of land titles for illegally displaced citizens, police harassment charges and bribery cases involving government ministries and local government offices. During the last quarter of 2006, there was a five-fold increase in the number of complaints the centers received and responded to compared to the last quarter of 2005.
ABA ROLI and the U.S. Department of Treasury brought together Ecuadorian legal system representatives for a 2008 conference to discuss the expanded role of the Unidad de Inteligencia Financiera (Financial Intelligence Unit), an investigative unit responsible for analyzing potential corruption and money laundering cases. The conference featured both Ecuadorian and international speakers and underscored the importance of increased collaboration in investigating and prosecuting money laundering and corruption cases. Police, judges and prosecutors gave first-hand accounts of cases in which they had been involved. A mock trial, featuring a law enforcement agent accused of taking bribes, was also held.
With a significant number of international donors, government agencies, and national and international organizations working in the area of anti-corruption in Ukraine, communication and collaboration can be a challenge. ABA ROLI has established a monthly forum to discuss programming, identify needs, form partnerships and coordinate their work. These efforts led to the Anti-Corruption Coordination Initiative, which facilitates anti-corruption coordination through an electronic database, weekly news updates, monthly meetings and briefing memos, and an anti-corruption resource website (http://acrc.org.ua).
In June 2008, ABA ROLI, along with Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the government of Georgia, helped to organize the seventh general meeting, held in Tbilisi, Georgia, of the OECD Anti-Corruption Network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The meeting provides a unique regional multi-stakeholder forum for the transition economies. The Tbilisi meeting attracted about 100 participants from more than 40 countries. It served as a discussion forum between national governments, civil society, donors, international organizations and international financial institutions, and provided valuable networking opportunities.
In January 2009, Adala (“Justice”), a prominent Moroccan human rights non-governmental organization and ABA ROLI partner, completed a working draft of a judicial anti-corruption assessment report. The report findings will be used to inform an upcoming conference on judicial reform. On February 27, 2009, ABA ROLI entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Justice. ABA ROLI plans to utilize its new partnership and the findings of the anti-corruption assessment report to build consensus on a strategy to advance judicial reform.
ABA ROLI is assisting the University of Jordan in developing a legal ethics course that is both relevant to Jordan’s legal system and consistent with international standards. In early 2009, the Jordanian professors drafting the course participated in an ABA ROLI-organized U.S. study trip focused on legal ethics. The professors traveled to Washington, DC, and to Los Angeles, CA, to meet with lawyers, judges and law professors specializing in legal ethics.
The ABA ROLI is helping the Pristina University and Mitrovica University law schools develop and introduce a legal ethics and professional responsibility course. In 2008, ABA ROLI completed the Legal Ethics Handbook, which will serve as a primer for a full course. In addition, ABA ROLI will also be working with student leaders, faculty and the academic administration to develop a student honor code.
ABA ROLI, in cooperation with the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded rule of law effectiveness project and the Asia Foundation, has supported the computerization of the Sandiganbayan, an anti-corruption court. From December 2008 to January 2009, ABA ROLI met with various officials and discovered that many of the clerks and technical staff needed additional training and that there were some software and hardware problems preventing full implementation of the court management program. ABA ROLI worked with information technology professionals to develop an action plan to address these issues during the final phase of the case management information system implementation in March and April, 2009.
In February 2008, ABA ROLI initiated its anti-corruption program, which seeks to strengthen the rule of law and civic participation on anti-corruption initiatives through a multi-sector network. The network of 17 governmental and non-governmental organizations committed to corruption reform in Lebanon, with the ABA ROLI’s support, has established an advocacy and public outreach subcommittee. The subcommittee, with support from international specialists, has worked to refine the access to information and whistleblower protection draft laws.
ABA ROLI sponsored activities to publicize the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In September 2007, ABA ROLI sponsored the second annual international right-to-know day in Belgrade. Joining forces with Serbia’s public information commissioner to sponsor the event, ABA ROLI promoted the fundamental right of the public to have access to information held by their governments. The Belgrade ceremony was broadcast live to associated events in Niš. Volunteers in Niš, Novi Sad and Belgrade distributed FOIA leaflets, t-shirts and informational guides—many were emblazoned with a cartoon by a well-known Serbian artist and the text, “Enough of this! I have the right to know.”
In an effort to assist the government of Ukraine in drafting and enacting effective anti-corruption legislation, ABA ROLI cooperates with the Parliamentary Committee on Combating Organized Crime and Corruption (PCCO CC). We provide legal research, comparable regional models, policy recommendations and analysis of Ukraine’s current anti-corruption statutes, draft laws and accompanying legislation. In addition, ABA ROLI has partnered with PCCO CC and the Ministry of Justice to prepare guidelines on the United Nations Convention against Corruption and to provide overviews of other international treaties and conventions to which Ukraine is a signatory. The efforts are meant to familiarize members of parliament, government officials, national and international anti-corruption organizations and the general public with commitments made by Ukraine to halt corruption.
Since September 2002, ABA ROLI has been implementing a regional anti-corruption program in Asia. The program is managed by the regional anti-corruption advisor (RACA) based in Bangkok, Thailand. Working closely with local stakeholders, including government agencies, judges, lawyers and non-governmental organizations, the RACA devises programs to promote public integrity, government accountability and transparency, and to help build the capacity of governments to investigate and prosecute corruption. In addition, the RACA supports efforts to implement multilateral initiatives and instruments, and serves as a resource for anti-corruption training and information. The RACA program in Asia cuts across the five areas of ABA ROLI’s anti-corruption and public integrity work: anti-corruption strategies, assessments and analysis, education and public awareness, ethics and accountability, and legislation. Some of the recent activities of the RACA include:
The RACA served as co-organizer and primary sponsor of Thailand’s 2008 annual conference honoring the U.N.-designated International Anti-Corruption Day. The half-day program, held on December 15, 2008 was attended by approximately 200 people, including Thai officials, and civil society and international organization representatives. Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok James Entwistle was a keynote speaker and the RACA presented on the material harms (including infant mortality) caused by corruption.