On June 24, 2020, approximately 160 students from the China-EU School of Law attended a special lecture on the fascinating topic of "Transnational Corruption and Its Victims". The lecture was given by Professor El Cid Butuyan through Tencent Conference. Professor Silley was the host of the lecture.
El Cid Butuyan, who has previously been a Visiting Professor at the University of Hawaii and a Lecturer at Harvard Law School, is one of the world's leading experts on issues of integrity, fraud, and corruption. He has held various high level positions at international organizations, including the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. He is currently with the world’s primary international agency on climate action.
In his lecture, Professor Butuyan described two goals of his teaching. One was to give a descriptive overview, that is, to describe what is happening in the international space in terms of anti-corruption efforts, specifically norm building and articulation of various legal architecture that tries to enforce anticorruption norms at the international stage. Recently, he has paid more attention to the constructive part, which is basically trying to reimagine or reexamine the underlying concepts and approaches in anti-corruption work. This descriptive work feeds into the second part which is a Constructive project, which reconceptualizes and reimagines the key ideas and strategies in anticorruption such as what is the harm or damage caused, who are the victims and try to identify gaps, blindspots and explore the lack of voice, standing and remedies for victims.
Secondly, Professor Butuyan gave an overview of the World Bank and its role in preventing global corruption. Special mention was given to the unit which he worked for: WB Integrity. When asked why we must pay attention to corruption, he gave an example about a health project in south Asia to illustrate the harm of corruption; not only does it distort competition and lead to waste, but also impacts the delivery of works, goods and services, especially to the poor and most vulnerable.
For the legal architecture of anti-corruption, Professor Butuyan pointed out that we need to consider the overlapping, fragmented, but also collaborating elements of the legal framework. He highlighted two important points in the design of the enforcement regime, one is the use of softs norms and informal networks, including audits, cooperation agreements, negotiated settlements and an administrative sanctions blacklisting regime.
On the issue of victim relief, the World Bank has started a program called the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative, which aims to recover corrupt funds around the world, including in otherwise safe haven jurisdictions. Professor Butuyan also shared the contributions he and his students have made in this field. They are publishing an article entitled "A Victim Centered Approach to Anti-Corruption" and proposed an amendment to the US FCPA. They already received a letter from a member of the United States Congress to express his approval and support for legislation to adopt the changes they have recommended.
In the Q&A session, Professor Butuyan answered a series of students' questions with his abundant knowledge and practical experience. By the end of the lecture, many students were curious to learn more about this field of law and some were even inspired to perhaps pursue it as a career themselves. Finally, he sent his sincere wishes to all the students and looks forward to teaching at CESL again in the future.