U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.


What existing instruments are available to address impunity in grand corruption cases?

Impunity is a central element of grand corruption, not only because it often follows this type of corruption but also because it allows for these schemes to be perpetuated. More broadly, the lack of punishment for perpetrators serves as encouragement for others to engage in similar misconduct. It also means that the rights of victims continue to be violated with little prospect of reparation. Grand corruption cases often go unpunished because of numerous obstacles to criminal prosecution in the countries in which related offences were committed. The goal of this Helpdesk Answer is to provide an overview of alternative pathways to address impunity in grand corruption cases.

Some of the alternative pathways covered include international criminal courts, prosecution in an alternative jurisdiction, private prosecution, international commissions, civil litigation by law enforcement authorities, civil litigation led by victims or CSOs, administrative proceedings, sanctions by international organisations, targeted unilateral anti-corruption sanctions, human rights courts and procedures, and the OECD national contact points.


  1. 1. Introduction
  2. Alternative pathways to impunity through criminal prosecution
    1. International criminal courts
    2. Prosecution in an alternative jurisdiction
    3. Private prosecution
    4. International anti-corruption enforcement and investigative agencies
  3. Alternative pathways to address impunity through civil litigation
    1. Civil litigation by law enforcement authorities
    2. Civil litigation led by victims or CSOs
  4. Alternative pathways to address impunity through non-judicial mechanisms
    1. Administrative proceedings
    2. Sanctions by international organisations
    3. Unilateral anti-corruption sanctions
    4. OECD national contact points
  5. International Human Rights procedures
  6. References



Guilherme France (TI)

[email protected]

Reviewed by

Sofie Arjon Schütte (U4)

Matthew Jenkins, Adam Foldes & Kush Amin (TI)




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