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The Prosecution of Public Figures and the Separation of Powers: Confusion within the Executive Branch. A Conceptual Framework

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  • Anne van Aaken

    ()

  • Eli Salzberger

    ()

  • Stefan Voigt

    ()

Abstract

Criminal investigation and prosecution of politicians, top civil servants and other public figures are topics frequently discussed in the media. The nature of the investigating or prosecuting authority varies between countries – from the general public prosecutor, through magistrates to independent counsels or parliamentary investigation commissions. This paper analyzes the role and status of public prosecutors within the separation of powers-concept. Prosecutors are usually part of the executive and not the judicial branch, which implies that they do not enjoy the same degree of independence as judges, and are ultimately subordinated to the directives of the minister of justice or the government. Conflicts of interest may hence arise if members of government can use the criminal process for their own or partisan interests. The incentives of public prosecutors in different jurisdictions are compared.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ICER - International Centre for Economic Research in its series ICER Working Papers with number 32-2003.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:32-2003

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Related research

Keywords: Separation of Powers; Public Prosecution; Government Offences; Positive Constitutional Economics;

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Cited by:
  1. Stefan Voigt & Lorenz Blume, . "Wenn Justitia die Hand aufhält – Ursachen und Folgen korrupter Justizbehörden," German Working Papers in Law and Economics 2005-1-1133, Berkeley Electronic Press.
  2. Nuno Garoupa, 2008. "Some reflections on the economics of prosecutors: Mandatory v selective prosecution," Working Papers 2008-04, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
  3. Anne van Aaken & Lars P. Feld & Stefan Voigt, 2008. "Power over Prosecutors Corrupts Politicians: Cross Country Evidence Using a New Indicator," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200801, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).

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