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Corruption Persists in Latin America Due to Lack of Political Will and Institutional Independence, Legal Experts Conclude

Lack of political will and inadequate independence of judges and prosecutors pose the main challenges to implementing anticorruption policies in Latin America, according to a report by the Lawyers Council for Civil and Economic Rights of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice. The Latin America Anticorruption Assessment 2020, available in English, Spanish and Portuguese, delineates legal efforts and shortcomings to preventing and redressing corruption in eight countries.

Significant differences exist among these countries, according to the assessment, which employs quantitative criteria to rank the countries in the success of their anti-corruption efforts from zero (lowest) to ten (highest), based on data from legal experts in the countries:

The criteria focus on key aspects of the fight against corruption: public vs. private sector corruption; complaint mechanisms; whistleblower protection; specialized agencies; institutional coordination mechanisms; civil society engagement and participation; and transparency and access to information. It relies on the legal expertise and practical experience of lawyers engaged in anti-corruption practice in various sectors, including law firms, businesses, academia, civil society organizations, human rights defenders, and others.

According to Vance Center Latin America Policy Director Jaime Chavez Alor, the assessment is innovative for following a legal approach to analyze legislative and regulatory efforts, aimed at preventing, targeting and prosecuting corruption. Moreover, “for each of the countries analyzed there are specific issues identified and recommendations in which the legal community can create initiatives to advance or strengthen the legal framework or its implementation.”

In the assessment, the Lawyers Council for Civil and Economic Rights in the Americas calls on the legal community to address regional and country-level challenges that it identified. The recommendations highlight the importance of technology in mechanisms to prevent corruption and regional cooperation  of the private sector and the legal community to promote best practices.

The Lawyers Council for Civil and Economic Rights brings together private-practice law professionals in the Americas to combat corruption and to support the rule of law and the work of civil society. The Lawyers Council consists of 18 lawyers from 14 countries, distinguished in private legal practice nationally and regionally, with demonstrated civic commitment.

Read the full report here:

About the Vance Center
The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice of the New York City Bar Association advances global justice by engaging lawyers across borders to support civil society and an ethically active legal profession. The Vance Center is a unique collaboration of international lawyers catalyzing public interest innovation that brings together leading law firms and other partners worldwide to pioneer international justice initiatives and provide pro bono legal representation to social justice NGOs.