UN gives Israel thumbs up for fighting corruption

Report compliments the country over prosecution of ministers, MKs, notes room for improvement.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (photo credit: REUTERS)
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A UN-sponsored report on Israel’s compliance with the UN Convention against Corruption has given the country high marks for its regulatory system, enforcement and international cooperation on the issue, the Justice Ministry announced on Sunday.
“Israel has established a comprehensive and coherent legal framework on international cooperation in criminal matters,” said the 400-page report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) dated March 31, which lists a number of the state’s “successes and good practices.”
It also states that “the battle against corruption has been, and remains, a matter of high priority for the executive, legislative and judicial organs” in Israel.
The report describes recent efforts by the Justice Ministry’s Office of the State Attorney to issue “guidelines on the consideration of requests for MLA [mutual legal assistance between countries] concerning seizure and confiscation,” noting that the guidelines are “expected to make international cooperation more effective.”
The report also says “Israel is a provider of technical assistance in the form of expert knowledge to foreign law enforcement authorities… through the exchange of intelligence and legal information by the Israeli police... with international counterparts.”
Moreover, it compliments Israel regarding the significant number of prosecutions of ministers and members of Knesset, the seriousness of the sanctions it uses to deter and punish crimes, the coordination between the State Comptroller and the Witness Protection Authority for whistleblowers and rules for overcoming confidentiality considerations to obtain needed information from banks.
However, the report also state that Israel could improve how it addresses certain “challenges in implementation” of its duties and recommends “Israel adapt its information system to allow it to collect data on the type of MLA and extradition requests, the time frame for providing responses to these requests and the response provided, including any grounds for refusal.”
Further, it encourages the state to “actively promote a policy of acceding to or concluding new bilateral and multilateral agreements or arrangements to carry out or enhance the effectiveness of extradition,” including adopting more specific guidelines for “transferring criminal proceedings among States’ parties.”
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked responded to the report, stating: “The strong positive evaluation of the UN regarding Israel’s efforts in its struggle with corruption constitutes a clear indication of the excellence and global leadership of the prosecution and law enforcement authorities in Israel.”
Israel signed the Convention against Corruption in 2005 and ratified it in 2009.