Pascale Hélène Dubois
The author is the World Bank’s sanctions evaluation and suspension officer. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and cochairs the ABA Section of International Law’s Anti-Corruption Committee.
Litigators strive to protect their clients’ interests, whether those are strictly legal—for example, avoiding an indictment—or involve ensuring a client’s prospective ability to continue doing business. For many clients in the business of providing goods and services to governments, being formally “debarred” (that is, being put on the “we don’t do business with these people” list) can have dire consequences. But debarment is also a tool increasingly used by international organizations to discipline companies involved in fraud and corruption and to send the message to the global business community that certain conduct simply will not be tolerated. Findings of misconduct, moreover, are increasingly shared between organizations and governments and can lead to legal and regulatory actions being taken in many places at once.