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  1. UN OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS – SOCIAL FORUM 2008 The Social Dimension of the Globalization Process: Good Governance/Corruption A Practical Experience ADVOCACY AND LEGAL ADVICE CENTRE (ALAC) 1st-3rd September 2008

  2. What is an ALAC ? Centre at which victims of corruption receive legal advice by lawyers to file a complaint and to pursue it with relevant public institutions

  3. Approach: Why is an ALAC necessary? • Reject notion of apathetic citizens • Empower citizens • Help ordinary citizens to become active • Translate concerns into systematic changes • Past: Anti-corruption work was somehow perceived as an “expert” subject • Need to have both bottom-up (e.g., ALAC) and top-down • One without the other will not work

  4. ALAC Methodology Four Components: • Receipt Complaint: Hotline/Office • Legal Advice • Advocacy • Capacity Building

  5. ALAC – Core Activities • Receive Complaint: initial contact via telephone hotline or on-site visit: • Advice about rights • Identify “real” acts of corruption • Legal Advice: • Help articulate, develop, file and pursue a complaint

  6. ALAC – Core Activities • Advocacy: • Authorities: accompany cases • Media: raise public awareness about complaint sectors/ institutions and legal vulnerabilities • Capacity Building: • Impetus for policy and institutional reform • Support authorities to strengthen their capacity to process complaints

  7. UniquenessWhat is the difference to other hotlines and legal advice centers? • Narrow focus of corruption • Specific expertise • High quality services • TI ‘brand name’: reputation opens doors • Trusted and known by the public • Respected by policy makers

  8. Practically:How to Set-Up an ALAC? • Permission for Phone number • ALAC website • Citizen’s Guide • Recruit and Train ALAC staff • Directory • Database (statistics)

  9. Receipt of Complaint -How to Identify a “Real” Case of Corruption? • Does it fall under TI corruption definition: “Corruption is the misuse of entrusted power for private gain, whether in the public or private sector, in the scope of satisfying some personal or group interests.” • Does evidence exist? • Vulnerable group? • Are all other institutions used? • Compliance with all judicial administrative procedures?

  10. Legal Advice -How to Provide Legal Advice? • Explain legislation • Identify weaknesses • Identify legal code under which authorities are being urged to investigate • Draft complaint • Ready to be forwarded to responsible institution • Identify competent institution • Ensure complaint is signed by client, not by TI • Draft accompanying cover letter

  11. Partnership with Government ALACs are often welcome by government: • Well-documented / articulated cases facilitate government work • Growing awareness of benefits of a strong civil-society • Signing of Memorandums of Understanding to ensure cooperation even in difficult cases

  12. Media • Raise public awareness • Advocate via public media pressure • Regulate volumes of incoming calls • Usage of Media: • Campaign for ALAC Opening • Conduct regular press conferences • Host of radio ‘phone-in’ shows • Facilitate contacts between ALAC users and investigative journalists

  13. When is a Case Closed or Resolved? • Issue exceeds ALAC mandate • Client misses agreed deadline/meeting • Case is resolved when act of corruption was rectified by individual or organisation which committed the offence • Case is resolved when victim feels satisfied

  14. Limitations -What limitations do ALACs face? • TI does not represent clients or ‘take on’ their cases in court • Advice only offered for proven corruption • No advice where a final court decision exists • No advice to magistrates, lawyers and other categories of legal professions • No recommendation for lawyers

  15. Where are ALACs? Albania, AzerbaijanBosnia I Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Kazakhstan (Almaty), Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine, Zambia, Kenya, Haiti, Guatemala….

  16. Evidence of Success External evaluation in BiH, Romania, Macedonia: • Cases range from petty to grand corruption • Initial cases concern ‘petty corruption’, as centers become better known, much larger cases were brought to light • Impact difficult to measure (e.g. changes in laws, resignations, prosecutions) • Compelling evidence: encourage ordinary citizens to become engaged

  17. Evaluation Statistics • Initial results: over 5,000 individuals contacted three ALACs in their first year of operation • Hotline: 50% of calls: not pursued • Advocacy: 20% of cases: referred by ALAC to authorities • Result: 15% of cases are resolved

  18. In What Areas Are Most Cases? All Sectors and Areas of Society are covered: • Administrative: • Government Inspections of Business and Licenses/Permits • Public Procurement • Judicial malfunctioning (criminal proceedings) • Privatization (asset stripping)

  19. Expansion of ALAC Model Good Reasons for Expansion: • Important development in the fight against corruption • Hope to individual victims • Important test-bed to ensure that anti-corruption reforms are firmly rooted in reality • Remarkably cost effective

  20. Conclusion To be more successful • We need effective legal reform to take place • Commitment from State Parties on the signature, ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) • Partner with Human Rights Institutions & civil society group as well as international institutions and the governments