A BRISBANE academic is calling for an international debate on the relationship between political corruption and human rights, with a focus on how countries treat the ‘bad guys’ from allegedly corrupt and oppressive former regimes.
University of Queensland professor Dr Radha Ivory (pictured) launched her book, ‘Corruption, Asset Recovery and the Protection of Property in Public International Law: The Human Rights of Bad Guys’, ahead of the G20 summit earlier this month.
Keynote speaker Peter Costello AC officiated at the unveil before a broad cross section of Brisbane’s legal and political community.
This is the first time Ivory has solely authored a book, and she says it has been well received for its topical significance.
“The feedback has been incredibly positive so far,” says Ivory.
“It resonates with people who are working on these issues of asset recovery and anti-corruption, as well as people who are concerned with the legal responses to terrorist financing and organised crime.”
The book is a revised edition of Ivory’s PhD thesis which uses international human rights standards to analyse the legal obligations on states in recovering assets from politically exposed people, their family members and associates.
“I asked the question in the book whether states violate international civil and political rights when they cooperate in the confiscation of illicit wealth,” she says.
“When a regime loses power through some kind of political transition, a new government comes in and quite understandably wants to get back what the state has lost through corruption.
“However, one barrier to asset recovery is the consideration for the civil and political rights of the people who are subject to confiscation, including the politicians in question and the people close to them.”
Ivory hopes that her book will prompt further debate within international legal and political spheres when dealing with asset recovery cases.
“Even though there aren’t too many political transitions and asset recovery cases, those that do occur are in places where the stakes are high, like Egypt and Ukraine.
“There is a possibility of tensions between international laws governing human rights, corruption and asset recovery.”
Also in attendance at the book launch were members of the Basel Institute of Governance and Transparency International, Australia.
“It [the launch] couldn’t have gone better, with my colleagues from practice and academia from both Australia and abroad to share in the occasion, and being given a platform to publicise what I think are really important issues.”
Ivory’s book can be found on Amazon.com and at the Cambridge University Press site.
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