The Progressing Proposal for An International Anti-Corruption Court

V. Conclusion

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Mark L. Wolf, Richard J. Goldstone, and Robert I. Rotberg

Following the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown rightly wrote,

Every day Putin continues to hold power, the case for an International Anti-Corruption Court grows as a forum of last resort, a court of final appeal to intervene where domestic law has not or cannot act against misappropriation of a country’s wealth, and to punish, deter and diminish corruption whenever a nation fails to enforce their own criminal laws against corrupt leaders.82

Important work remains. Efforts to refine the concept of the IACC continue, and further details concerning its structure and operations are still being developed. The May 2022 meeting at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, for which this paper was prepared, made a significant contribution to advancing that work. Many participants in that meeting83 have joined the growing number of world leaders, NGOs, countries, and courageous young people energetically working to make the IACC a reality.

This will continue to be a challenging task. However, at least equally formidable challenges were met in establishing the Nuremberg Tribunal, the ICC, and other international courts. To echo the words of Justice Jackson, “we now have [another] opportunity, not likely to soon recur, to bring international law out of the closet.”84 Once again, “The trouble [may be] that the advocates of international law have too little of what [U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell] Holmes called ‘fire in the belly,’ while the extreme nationalists [particularly including autocratic kleptocrats] have . . . too little else.”85 We hope and trust that the meeting at the Academy will become a milestone in proving that this is not true.


  • 82Gordon Brown, “An International Anti-Corruption Court Would Bring Putin to Justice,” The Times, March 25, 2022.
  • 83Participants in the May 2022 meeting at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences now engaged in the effort to create the IACC include, among others: Farid Hamidi, the former Attorney General of Afghanistan; Gareth Evans, the former Foreign Minister of Australia; Sergio Moro, the former Minister of Justice of Brazil; Danilo Türk, the former President of Slovenia; Allan Rock, the former Minister of Justice of Canada; and Harvard University Professor Kathryn Sikkink.
  • 84Jackson, “Rule of Law among Nations,” 13.
  • 85Ibid.