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Journal Article

Corruption in International Law: Illusions of a Grotian Moment


Somos,  Mark
Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Max Planck Society;

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Ross, S., & Somos, M. (2022). Corruption in International Law: Illusions of a Grotian Moment. Grotiana, 43(1), 55-86. doi:10.1163/18760759-43010004.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000F-1CDC-B
Has there already been a Grotian Moment for corruption? If not, what would it take for new legal rules and doctrines on corruption to crystallise? This article seeks to answer these two questions by reviewing the relevant history of international legal scholarship, the current public international law framework for anticorruption, and recent developments in international legal practice. We conclude that a Grotian Moment may have been reached for a narrow concept of corruption, focused on petty corruption and bribery, with the proliferation of international anticorruption law following the Cold War. However, a Grotian Moment for a broadened understanding of corruption, based on other forms such as institutional, political, and grand corruption, ought to emerge to comprehensively address all forms of corruption. Given the range of challenges, including resistance from political elites and the indeterminacy of criminal liability, a Grotian Moment for a broadened concept of corruption remains improbable.