Transparency International

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from one of Transparency International’s national chapters. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union


How do judicial pardons, clemencies and commutation of sentences in corruption cases impact the effects of corruption? What does the international experience teach us about this? Are there alternative regimes or best practices for corruption crimes?


  1. Overview of judicial clemency
  2. Corruption risks of judicial clemency
  3. Alternatives and best practices to mitigate and control judicial pardons
  4. References


Judicial clemency is an essential part of many judicial systems around the world aimed to provide an executive check on judicial power, mitigate harsh sentences and correct systemic issues in judicial sentencing. Nevertheless, there are major integrity and corruption challenges associated with judicial clemency, ranging from risks of fuelling impunity, state capture and human rights abuses. There are examples of abuses by governments worldwide of clemency powers in corruption-related crimes. Regardless of the risks, many states have undertaken reforms and introduced restrictions on the way clemency powers are considered and implemented, and which crimes are eligible for clemency and which are not


Iñaki Albisu Ardigó, Transparency International, [email protected]


Marie Chêne, Transparency International, [email protected]




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