On August 25, coordinator of the Education stream at TI Russia Alyona Vandysheva delivered a lecture in Yerevan.
This event was a part of this year’s Anticorruption school program organized by the Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center (TIAC), the Transparency International’s national chapter in Armenia.
The lecture covered the topic of corruption and war. Alyona spoke of the corruption risks in the security sector and the connections that exist between armed conflicts and corrupt practices.
Major corruption risk factors in the security sector are:
- potential for the corruption of state officials by foreign equipment suppliers;
- secrecy and other measures, such as withdrawal of procurement data from public registers, which make civil oversight problematic;
- high financial value of contracts;
- state monopoly on defense services.
Corruption can lead to armed conflicts and make withdrawing from them more difficult. According to World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development, countries with high levels of corruption face higher risks that violent conflicts erupt. 11 of 20 countries with the lowest scores in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) and Worldwide Governance Indicators ratings are also the ones that have suffered the most from military conflicts. 9 of these countries endured peacekeeping operations by the UN, NATO, the European Union and the African Union, and they also have the highest rate of mortality caused by violent crime.
Investigations and verification of official information can be effective means of civil oversight. In 2022, a New York Times investigation of US Army airstrikes was awarded a Pulitzer prize. The journalists obtained 1311 official reports through information requests and lawsuits. Then they verified the information from these documents with the witnesses and compared it with data from public bases. According to the findings of this investigation, 1 of 5 airstrikes led to deaths of civilians, an estimate which is 31 times higher than the official version. The journalists created a methodology for assessment of official military reports and documents which can be used in other investigations.
At the end of the session, an open discussion took place with the participants, among which were the Anticorruption school graduates and representatives of the Armenian civil society.
photo by Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center (Armenia)