United Nations

A/RES/51/191


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

21 February 1997

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



Fifty-first session
Agenda item 12


                  RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

              [on the report of the Second Committee (A/51/601)]


            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, 1/ 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, 2/ 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 3/ 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.

                                                          86th plenary meeting
                                                              16 December 1996


                                     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.


                                     Notes

1/    E/1991/31/Add.1.

2/    See E/1996/99.

3/    See E/1996/106.



 

This document has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last posted: 10 January 2000 10:55:20
Comments and suggestions: esa@un.org