United Nations Convention against Corruption

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United Nations Convention
against Corruption
Short title: UN Convention against Corruption (not official)
Title (engl.): United Nations Convention against Corruption
Abbreviation: UNCAC
Date: October 31, 2003
Come into effect: December 14, 2005
Reference: Chapter XVIII Treaty 18 UNTS
(English text) (PDF; 263 kB)
Reference (German): BGBl. 2014 II p. 762, 763 (in three languages)
or BBl 2007 7417 (PDF; 597 kB)
Contract type: Multinational
Legal matter: Criminal law
Signing: 140
Ratification : 186 Current status
European Union: Ratification (November 12, 2008)
Germany: Ratification (November 12, 2014)
Liechtenstein: Ratification (July 8, 2010)
Austria: Ratification (January 11, 2006)
Switzerland: Ratification (September 24, 2009)
Please note the note on the applicable contract version .

The United Nations Convention against Corruption is the first internationally binding treaty to combat corruption . It obliges the contracting parties to punish various forms of corruption against public officials and to cooperate internationally.



In 2001 the General Assembly of the United Nations set up an ad hoc committee , which was to draw up an international agreement to combat corruption independently of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime . This committee negotiated the agreement from January 21, 2002 to October 1, 2003 in Vienna . On October 31, 2003 the Convention was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations (resolution 58/4). From December 9th to 11th, 2003, the signing conference took place in Mérida ( Mexico ).

State of ratification

  • ratified
  • signed but not yet ratified
  • not signed
  • The Convention entered into force on December 14, 2005, 90 days after the deposit of the 30th instrument of ratification. It was signed by 140 states by the end of the signature period on December 9, 2005. By June 2018, 186 parties, including the European Union, had ratified the UNCAC. The most populous states that are not yet bound by the agreement are North Korea , Syria , Somalia and Eritrea .


    Germany signed the convention on December 9, 2003, but initially did not ratify it. This required numerous changes to the Criminal Code (StGB) , in particular an expansion of the criminal offense of bribery of parliamentarians (Paragraph 108e StGB). In October 2007, the Federal Government submitted to the 16th German Bundestag the draft of a Criminal Law Amendment Act, with which it proposed most of the necessary changes to the Criminal Code. A supplementary draft of a law amending Paragraph 108e of the Criminal Code should be introduced from the middle of the Bundestag. The Left parliamentary group submitted such a draft in April 2008. Due to the end of the legislative period in October 2009, both projects ended. In the 17th German Bundestag , the parliamentary group Die Linke in April 2010, the parliamentary group Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen in May 2011 and the parliamentary group of the SPD in February 2012 presented draft laws to amend Paragraph 108e of the Criminal Code. All drafts were referred to various committees of the Bundestag (under the leadership of the Legal Committee ) for further discussion . At the end of June 2013, the governing coalition of the CDU / CSU and FDP, with its majority in the Bundestag, rejected stricter rules against the bribery of MPs . In 2013, too, there was no consensus in the CDU / CSU parliamentary group in support of the ratification. The CSU chairman, Horst Seehofer, campaigned for ratification and described the current situation as "not promoting the image" because Germany has not yet ratified the convention and is therefore in company with countries such as Syria, Sudan and North Korea. The parliamentary managing director of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group Michael Grosse-Brömer (CDU) declared on August 10, 2013 that there were “still considerable constitutional concerns”.

    On February 21, 2014, the Bundestag passed a law to tighten the rules against the bribery of parliamentarians in second and third readings, which came into force on September 1, 2014 ( Federal Law Gazette 2014 I p. 410 ). On September 25, 2014, the Bundestag unanimously approved the ratification, and on October 10, 2014, the Bundesrat approved. The ratification took place on November 12, 2014, so that the convention came into force for Germany on December 12, 2014 (Art. 68 (2) of the convention, Federal Law Gazette 2015 II p. 140 ).


    Austria signed the convention on December 10, 2003 and ratified it on January 11, 2006.


    The Switzerland has signed the Agreement on 10 December 2003 and ratified on 24 September, 2009.


    The Convention deals with the prevention, investigation and prosecution of corruption and the freezing, seizing and confiscating the proceeds of crime.

    In Articles 5 to 14, it contains the following preventive measures against corruption:

    • Codes of conduct for civil servants and measures to ensure the independence of the judiciary,
    • objective criteria for the recruitment and promotion of civil servants and for public procurement,
    • Promoting transparency and accountability in the management of public finances and the private sector,
    • Participation of civil society.

    Articles 15 to 42 regulate the duty of states to criminalize various issues relating to corruption.

    Articles 43 to 50 describe international cooperation in anti-corruption work, the core of which is a system for mutual administrative assistance. Many anti-corruption proceedings are currently being closed because the lack of cooperation between countries makes it impossible to follow the trail of the money. It is particularly important to introduce international cooperation in the return of stolen assets. Measures to encourage the return of assets are contained in Articles 51 to 59. This is also intended to create the possibility of returning the assets acquired through corruption and brought abroad by corrupt top politicians.

    The Convention also covers regulations on money laundering and the possibility of claims for damages for victims of corruption.

    Finally, a Conference of States Parties to the Convention will be established to improve the ability of States Parties and cooperation between them to achieve the objectives set out in this Convention and to promote and review its application.

    Web links

    Individual evidence

    1. ^ UNCAC Signature and Ratification Status
    2. BT-Drucksache 16/4329 (PDF; 354 ​​kB) from February 16, 2007, No. 12; BT printed matter 16/10520 (PDF; 568 kB) from October 10, 2008, No. 19; BT printed matter 17/8958 (PDF; 14.7 MB) from March 9, 2012, No. 24.
    3. BT-Drucksache 16/6558 (PDF; 338 kB) from October 4, 2007.
    4. Bundestag printed paper 16/8979 (PDF; 148 kB) from April 25, 2008.
    5. Bundestag printed paper 17/1412 (PDF; 112 kB) from April 21, 2010.
    6. Bundestag printed paper 17/5933 (PDF; 108 kB) from May 25, 2011.
    7. Bundestag printed paper 17/8613 (PDF; 97 kB) from February 8, 2012.
    8. BT-Drucksache 18/476 of February 11, 2014: Extension of the criminal offense of bribery of parliamentarians (PDF)
    9. Germany ratifies UN rules against corruption , accessed on September 26, 2014
    10. Federal Council approves convention against corruption , accessed on October 13, 2014