Determination of the term “Government official” in the Context of the United Nations Convention against Corruption
The article deals with the problems of determining the concept of “public official” and definiteness of terms in the context of enforcement of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The author carried out the analysis of the specified category, identified its attributes and features of the international legal enshrinement both in the text of the Convention, and in the text of other international legal acts in the field of anti-corruption, mainly of regional value. It is established that the definition of “government official” unified by the Convention makes it possible to clearly and unambiguously determine the range of subjects of corruption to which international legal influence of not only the Convention itself, but also the corresponding coordinated activities of international anticorruption institutions and national governments of the states ratifying the Convention applies. At the same time, it is proved that there is a distinction between the concepts of “official” and its separate special type – “government official” at the level of international legal regulation, which is a shortcoming of the Convention. In particular, it is established that the Convention is limited by the category of only those civil servants who hold positions in public authorities financed from the state budget and perform state functions only. In this context, it is concluded that there is a need for significant terminological clarification of the legal regulation provided by the Convention through the implementation of the category of “local self-government officials”. In addition, the article pays special attention to the issue of enshrining the concept of “government official” for the enforcement of the provisions of the Convention in the legislation of a number of countries that have ratified it. It is proved that most national legislations contain exhaustive features of a “government official” only in acts of criminal law. Most acts of national law do not contain the category of a “government official”, but the set of concepts and categories of positions defined in such national lawfully meets the needs of the Convention, and is generally covered by this concept within the meaning of the Convention itself. But the need to prosecute individuals for corruption offenses committed not only by public authority officials explains the need for a broader interpretation of this definition at the level of national law. At the level of scientific discourse, the existence of stable trends to replacement of the category of “government official” with a broader category in its content –“public official” or the category of “public authority official”. This corresponds to the general trend of changing the essence of public governance for a new paradigm – public administration, when public officials not only perform administrative functions, but also meet public needs by providing appropriate administrative services. In this context, the author also considers it necessary to amend the Convention.