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by Guy STESSENS (English)

The international fight against corruption

Most legal systems are traditionally familiar with the offence of corruption. It was conceived as an offence against public order (infraction contre l’ordre public), which allowed sanctioning behaviour by public officials who misused their public office in exchange for undue advantages and the behaviour of private persons aimed at inducing public officials into this type of behaviour. The French Napoleonic Code pénal of 1810 introduced tough penalties to combat corruption in public life and as such constituted the legal epitome of the modern, nineteenth-century State’s concern to make public officials' misuse of their offices a serious offence against public confidence in the administration's probity and impartiality. After the French revolution, the political idea that government powers are derived from the people and hence should be used only to the interest of the people became firmly entrenched. It is this fundamental modern, democratic political concept, which lies at the basis of the criminalisation of corruption.

Journal/Publisher: Revue internationale de droit pénal, Volume 72

Publication type: Article

Number of pages/Page range: 891-937

Language/s (content): English

Date of publication: 01-03-01

Personal data

Full name Guy STESSENS

Current occupation Member

University/Institution General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union

Address Rue de la Loi 175

Postal code B-1048 Brussels

Telephone 0032 2 2816711