United Nations

A/RES/51/191


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

16 December 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



                                                   A/RES/51/191
                                                   86th plenary meeting
                                                   16 December 1996
 
 
      51/191. United Nations Declaration against Corruption and
              Bribery in International Commercial Transactions
 
      The General Assembly,
 
      Recalling its resolution 3514 (XXX) of 15 December 1975, in which it,
inter alia, condemned all corrupt practices, including bribery, in
international commercial transactions, reaffirmed the right of any State to
adopt legislation and to investigate and take appropriate legal action, in
accordance with its national laws and regulations, against such corrupt
practices, and called upon all Governments to cooperate to prevent corrupt
practices, including bribery,
 
      Recalling also the further work carried out by the General Assembly and
the Economic and Social Council on the issue of illicit payments and on
elaborating a code of conduct on transnational corporations, consideration of
which helped call attention to and raise international awareness of the
adverse consequences of bribery in international commercial transactions,
 
      Recalling further its resolution 50/106 of 20 December 1995, in which it
recommended that the Economic and Social Council consider the draft
international agreement on illicit payments at its substantive session of 1996
and report to the Assembly at its fifty-first session,
 
      Welcoming the steps taken at the national, regional and international
levels to fight corruption and bribery, as well as recent developments in
international forums that have further advanced international understanding
and cooperation regarding corruption and bribery in international commercial
transactions,
 
      Noting the adoption in March 1996, by States members of the Organization
of American States, of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, which
includes an article on transnational bribery,
 
      Noting also significant continuing work relevant to and consistent with
the objectives of the present resolution in other regional and international
forums, such as the continuing work of the Council of Europe and the European
Union to combat international bribery, as well as the commitment by the States
members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to
criminalize bribery of foreign public officials in international commercial
transactions in an effective and coordinated manner and further examine the
modalities and appropriate international instruments to facilitate
criminalization, and to re-examine the tax deductibility of such bribes with
the intention of denying such tax deductibility in the member States that do
not already do so,
 
      1.    Adopts the United Nations Declaration against Corruption and
Bribery in International Commercial Transactions, the text of which is annexed
to the present resolution;
 
      2.    Notes the work being undertaken by the United Nations and in other
international and regional forums to address the problem of corruption and
bribery in international commercial transactions, and invites all States
concerned to pursue the completion of such work;
 
      3.    Invites Member States, in accordance with the Declaration, to take
appropriate measures and cooperate at all levels to combat corruption and
bribery in international commercial transactions;
 
      4.    Requests the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary
bodies, in particular the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice:
 
      (a)   To examine ways, including through legally binding international
instruments, without in any way precluding, impeding or delaying
international, regional or national actions, to further the implementation of
the present resolution and the annexed Declaration, so as to promote the
criminalization of corruption and bribery in international commercial
transactions;
 
      (b)   To keep the issue of corruption and bribery in international
commercial transactions under regular review;
 
      (c)   To promote the effective implementation of the present resolution;
 
      5.    Invites other bodies of the United Nations system, including the
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, whose competence extends
to this matter, to take action as appropriate within their mandates to promote
the objectives of the present resolution and the Declaration;
 
      6.    Encourages private and public corporations, including
transnational corporations, and individuals engaged in international
commercial transactions to cooperate in the effective implementation of the
Declaration;
 
      7.    Requests the Secretary-General to inform Member States, the
relevant bodies and the specialized agencies of the United Nations system, and
international, regional and non-governmental organizations, of the adoption of
the present resolution, to encourage action towards making its provisions
widely known and to promote its effective implementation;
 
      8.    Also requests the Secretary-General to prepare a report, for
consideration by the General Assembly at its fifty-third session, on the
progress made towards implementation of the present resolution and the steps
taken by Member States, international and regional organizations and other
relevant institutions to combat corruption and bribery in international
commercial transactions; on the results of the work in this regard undertaken
by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and other bodies of
the United Nations system; and on measures taken in accordance with the
present resolution to promote social responsibility and the elimination of
corruption and bribery in international commercial transactions;
 
      9.    Invites Member States and competent international, regional and
non-governmental organizations to provide relevant information to assist the
Secretary-General in preparing the above-mentioned report;
 
      10.   Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-third
session, under an item entitled "Business and development", a review of the
report of the Secretary-General concerning the implementation of the present
resolution.
 
 
                                       Annex
 
             UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION AGAINST CORRUPTION AND BRIBERY
                     IN INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS
 
      The General Assembly,
 
      Convinced that a stable and transparent environment for international
commercial transactions in all countries is essential for the mobilization of
investment, finance, technology, skills and other important resources across
national borders, in order, inter alia, to promote economic and social
development and environmental protection,
 
      Recognizing the need to promote social responsibility and appropriate
standards of ethics on the part of private and public corporations, including
transnational corporations, and individuals engaged in international
commercial transactions, inter alia, through observance of the laws and
regulations of the countries in which they conduct business, and taking into
account the impact of their activities on economic and social development and
environmental protection,
 
      Recognizing also that effective efforts at all levels to combat and
avoid corruption and bribery in all countries are essential elements of an
improved international business environment, that they enhance fairness and
competitiveness in international commercial transactions and form a critical
part of promoting transparent and accountable governance, economic and social
development and environmental protection in all countries, and that such
efforts are especially pressing in the increasingly competitive globalized
international economy,
 
      Solemnly proclaims the United Nations Declaration against Corruption and
Bribery in International Commercial Transactions as set out below.
 
      Member States, individually and through international and regional
organizations, taking actions subject to each State's own constitution and
fundamental legal principles and adopted pursuant to national laws and
procedures, commit themselves:
 
      1.    To take effective and concrete action to combat all forms of
corruption, bribery and related illicit practices in international commercial
transactions, in particular to pursue effective enforcement of existing laws
prohibiting bribery in international commercial transactions, to encourage the
adoption of laws for those purposes where they do not exist, and to call upon
private and public corporations, including transnational corporations, and
individuals within their jurisdiction engaged in international commercial
transactions to promote the objectives of the present Declaration;
 
      2.    To criminalize such bribery of foreign public officials in an
effective and coordinated manner, but without in any way precluding, impeding
or delaying international, regional or national actions to further the
implementation of the present Declaration;
 
      3.    Bribery may include, inter alia, the following elements:
 
      (a)   The offer, promise or giving of any payment, gift or other
advantage, directly or indirectly, by any private or public corporation,
including a transnational corporation, or individual from a State to any
public official or elected representative of another country as undue
consideration for performing or refraining from the performance of that
official's or representative's duties in connection with an international
commercial transaction;
 
      (b)   The soliciting, demanding, accepting or receiving, directly or
indirectly, by any public official or elected representative of a State from
any private or public corporation, including a transnational corporation, or
individual from another country of any payment, gift or other advantage, as
undue consideration for performing or refraining from the performance of that
official's or representative's duties in connection with an international
commercial transaction;
 
      4.    To deny, in countries that do not already do so, the tax
deductibility of bribes paid by any private or public corporation or
individual of a State to any public official or elected representative of
another country and, to that end, to examine their respective modalities for
doing so;
 
      5.    To develop or maintain accounting standards and practices that
improve the transparency of international commercial transactions, and that
encourage private and public corporations, including transnational
corporations, and individuals engaged in international commercial transactions
to avoid and combat corruption, bribery and related illicit practices;
 
      6.    To develop or to encourage the development, as appropriate, of
business codes, standards or best practices that prohibit corruption, bribery
and related illicit practices in international commercial transactions;
 
      7.    To examine establishing illicit enrichment by public officials or
elected representatives as an offence;
 
      8.    To cooperate and afford one another the greatest possible
assistance in connection with criminal investigations and other legal
proceedings brought in respect of corruption and bribery in international
commercial transactions.  Mutual assistance shall include, as far as permitted
under national laws or as provided for in bilateral treaties or other
applicable arrangements of the affected countries, and taking into account the
need for confidentiality as appropriate:
 
      (a)   Production of documents and other information, taking of evidence
and service of documents relevant to criminal investigations and other legal
proceedings;
 
      (b)   Notice of the initiation and outcome of criminal proceedings
concerning bribery in international commercial transactions to other States
that may have jurisdiction over the same offence;
 
      (c)   Extradition proceedings where and as appropriate;
 
      9.    To take appropriate action to enhance cooperation to facilitate
access to documents and records about transactions and about identities of
persons engaged in bribery in international commercial transactions;
 
      10.   To ensure that bank secrecy provisions do not impede or hinder
criminal investigations or other legal proceedings relating to corruption,
bribery or related illicit practices in international commercial transactions,
and that full cooperation is extended to Governments that seek information on
such transactions;
 
      11.   Actions taken in furtherance of the present Declaration shall
respect fully the national sovereignty and territorial jurisdiction of Member
States, as well as the rights and obligations of Member States under existing
treaties and international law, and shall be consistent with human rights and
fundamental freedoms;
 
      12.   Member States agree that actions taken by them to establish
jurisdiction over acts of bribery of foreign public officials in international
commercial transactions shall be consistent with the principles of
international law regarding the extraterritorial application of a State's
laws.