EU Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from the European Commission. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union


Can you provide information on international standards/requirements and best practices with regard to criminal repression of corruption concerning, in particular, the status, powers, composition, rules of appointment of managerial and operational staff, as well as the average financial, human and material/technical resources (taking, for a comparative perspective, small countries with populations between two and five million people) in criminal investigation bodies involved in the fight against corruption?


1. International standards and types of specialised corruption investigation bodies 

2. Effective corruption investigative bodies: towards good practice

3. Overview of selected specialised law enforcement bodies

4. References


An appropriate response to corruption requires credible, timely and reliable investigations. Detecting corruption and collecting the necessary evidence for an effective trial is therefore a key step in the fight against corruption. As such, international and regional standards have underscored the importance of establishing specialised law enforcement bodies to investigate corruption. The types of bodies tasked with such responsibility vary from country to country. They can include a dedicated unit within the police or the public prosecutor’s office, or a fully independent body. Irrespective of the type, their effectiveness and success in corruption investigation depends on: their de facto independence and autonomy to carry out their tasks; the existence of clear and fair rules regarding the appointment and dismissal of directors and other senior posts; fair hiring processes for law enforcement officials; independence in investigations (clear mandate, identification of functions and competence); the provision of adequate resources; and the existence of measures to hold the body to account. 


Maíra Martini, Transparency International, [email protected]


Marie Chêne, Transparency International



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