Protecting the rights of bad guys

31 Oct 2014

The human rights of corrupt politicians, terrorists and organised criminals are the topic of debate in a new book by University of Queensland academic Dr Radha Ivory.

Corruption, Asset Recovery and the Protection of Property in Public International Law: The Human Rights of Bad Guys will be launched ahead of the Brisbane G20 Summit by former Federal Treasurer Peter Costello on Thursday 6 November.

For the past six years Mr Costello has been the Chair of the World Bank's Independent Advisory Board on governance and anti-corruption.

The World Bank has been the global leader in driving sanctions against corruption in development projects.

Global governance will be an important issue that world leaders will be discussing when they meet on 15-16 November.

Dr Ivory said global anti-corruption standards are supposed to increase public trust and promote the rule of law.

“It’s difficult to have sympathy for people like kleptocrats and terrorists,” Dr Ivory said.

“But, how we interpret the fundamental entitlements of ‘bad guys’ says a lot about how we govern ourselves and use the criminal law to respond to globalisation.

“When countries like Egypt or Ukraine go through a radical political change, their new governments understandably want other states to help find and return wealth that has been hidden overseas.

“Asset recovery is seen as a way to secure resources for development and hold old guards to account. This doesn’t mean it is easy to achieve in practice.

“In my book, I ask whether states could violate the human rights of senior political figures, or people close to them, when they help each other with asset recovery.”

To coincide with the book launch, UQ’s TC Beirne School of Law will host a one-day seminar on corporate liability and compliance.

Speakers from the Basel Institute on Governance and Transparency International – Australia will outline how companies are held criminally responsible for crimes such as corruption.

To register for the Queensland Bar Association accredited seminar, visit