Fight against Corruption – and GRECO

In order to combat corruption comprehensively, the Council of Europe has drawn up two conventions:

1. Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (CETS No. 173)

The convention entered into force in 2002. Parties to the convention are required to prosecute:

  • all forms of active and passive corruption
  • money-laundering of proceeds from corruption offences
  • accounting offences connected with corruption offences

Furthermore, they are asked to exchange information concerning such offences with the other parties, provide mutual assistance and grant extradition requests.

2. Civil Law Convention on Corruption (CETS No. 174)

The convention entered into force in 2003. Parties to the convention are required to provide in their domestic law for effective remedies for persons, who have suffered damage as a result of acts of corruption: Victims must be able to defend their rights and interests, including the possibility of obtaining compensation for damage.

The Convention deals with the following issues:

  • liability
  • contributory negligence
  • validity of contracts
  • protection of employees who report corruption
  • clarity and accuracy of accounts and audits
  • acquisition of evidence
  • court orders to preserve the assets necessary for the execution of the final judgment and for the maintenance of the status quo pending resolution of the points at issues
  • international co-operation



The Group of States against Corruption – GRECO – was founded in 1999 as a monitoring body for the compliance of its members with Council of Europe anti-corruption standards.

On the one hand, GRECO offers its members a platform for their mutual exchange of experience in the fight against corruption. On the other hand, GRECO members assist each other in the fight against corruption by regularly providing peer-reviews, containing information obtained through a questionnaire as well as through visits to every member state in turn.

Party to GRECO are member states of the Council of Europe as well as non-member states like the US. Institutional partners like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are observers to GRECO.


GRECO works in cycles, with every evaluation round covering specific themes like, for example, the extent and scope of immunities of public officials; the prevention and detection of corruption in public administration; the prevention of legal persons from being used as shields for corruption; the incriminations provided for in the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption or the transparency of party funding.

Country reports and recommendations

After each of their visits to a member state, the GRECO experts draft a report, which is sent to the government of the country under scrutiny for comments, before it is finally submitted to GRECO for examination and adoption. On the basis of this report, as well as the government response, GRECO may feel compelled to make recommendations.

Compliance Procedure

The recommendations made by GRECO are of a binding nature, and, therefore, require action: Within 18 months, the country in question has to implement the measures recommended by GRECO and hand in a compliance report. GRECO will then check compliance and will only terminate the compliance procedure, if all recommendations have been satisfactorily implemented.

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