26. November 2020

Spotlight on non-conviction based confiscation at UNGASS preparatory meeting

2nd session of the UNGASS 2021 preparatory meeting - Oscar Solorzano speaks by video

Senior Asset Recovery Specialist Oscar Solorzano has emphasised some of the key opportunities and challenges of non-conviction based confiscation laws at a preparatory meeting for the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) against Corruption in 2021.

Speaking at a panel on optimizing cooperation and assistance mechanisms, especially those involving vast quantities of assets, Oscar Solorzano explained that international standards over the last 20 years have positioned non-conviction based confiscation as a suitable mechanism for states to recover the proceeds of corruption.

However, he pointed to problems with international cooperation in enforcing asset recovery decisions based on non-conviction based confiscation. Discrepancies between national laws have led to some requested states refusing mutual legal assistance in such cases.  

This, he said, is despite the fact that Article 46 of the UNCAC requires States Parties to afford mutual legal assistance “to the fullest extent possible.” This implies making sincere efforts to apply principles that support the prosecution of crimes and the recovery of assets.

Solorzano gave positive examples where Peru, whose non-conviction based confiscation law is known as extinción de domino, was able to recover millions of dollars of stolen assets from Switzerland and Luxembourg despite these jurisdictions not having a comparable law. He noted that in his opinion, the proactive attitudes of both requesting and requested states was fundamental to achieving this "paradigm shift".

As Head of Latin America at the Basel Institute, Oscar Solorzano oversees our growing programme of work in the region, which includes supporting asset recovery in Ecuador and Peru, promoting the use of financial investigation tools in the context of environmental crime enforcement, and our new US State Department-funded project to promote the use of non-conviction based confiscation in key partner countries across Latin America and Asia.

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