Council of Europe Anti-Corruption Conference Starts in Šibenik

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, October 15, 2018 – The Croatian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE), the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) of the CoE and the Croatian Ministry of Justice have organised an international conference on ways of strengthening transparency and accountability in the public and private sectors to combat corruption, which is taking place in the coastal city of Šibenik on 15 and 16 October.

The conference, entitled “Strengthening transparency and accountability to ensure integrity: united against corruption,” also aims to promote national anti-corruption mechanisms and public transparency. Other topics on the agenda are the role of free media to promote transparency and integrity, and to fight corruption; the ethical responsibilities of journalists; and the risk that states may face when captured by corruption.

The conference was opened by Justice Minister Dražen Bošnjaković.

The event brought together more than 250 senior policy makers and experts from different regions of the world – including some 15 ministers of justice and several public attorneys. “The very suspicion of corruption brings into question the credibility of every government and with that the stability and economic prospects of a country,” Bošnjaković said at the conference.

“An efficient fight against corruption, prosecuting corruption crimes and strengthening the legal framework, includes prevention, namely managing contexts that cause corruption. Given that corruption originates in conditions of bad organisational structures and lack of an internalised code of conduct, it is important to organise the system according to principles of good management that represent the most efficient form of corruption prevention,” the minister said.

Marin Mrčela, President of GRECO and Vice-President of the Supreme Court of Croatia, said that GRECO had issued clear guidelines on corruption prevention in the three branches of the government. “Corruption is like a virus. It is always better to invest in prevention than in treatment. Our goal is to introduce a good vaccination tool before the disease spreads,” Mrčela said.

Thorbjorn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, underscored the role of journalists and the media in the fight against corruption, saying that they must act together on the national and international levels. Revealing corruption was never the role of a government, the media play the key role in that, Jagland said, adding that the European Court of Human Rights had called journalists “democracy watchdogs”.

He, however, warned about the difficult position of journalists, saying that they were even being murdered because of their job. Jagland presented figures according to which a total of 24 journalists were killed in CoE member states and another 120 were attacked. The number of journalists who ended up behind bars because of their job is even higher, Jagland said, adding that it was the obligation of the member states to rectify this situation.


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