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

Author

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Anne van Aaken & Eli Salzberger & Stefan Voigt, 2003. "The Prosecution of Public Figures and the Separation of Powers: Confusion within the Executive Branch. A Conceptual Framework," ICER Working Papers 32-2003, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:32-2003
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    File URL: http://www.biblioecon.unito.it/biblioservizi/RePEc/icr/wp2003/Voigt32-03.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Garoupa, Nuno, 2009. "Some reflections on the economics of prosecutors: Mandatory vs. selective prosecution," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-28, March.
    2. Stefan Voigt & Lorenz Blume, 2007. "Wenn Justitia die Hand aufhält - Ursachen und Folgen korrupter Justizbehörden," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 8(1), pages 65-92, January.
    3. Anne van Aaken & Lars P. Feld & Stefan Voigt, 2008. "Power over Prosecutors Corrupts Politicians: Cross Country Evidence Using a New Indicator," CESifo Working Paper Series 2245, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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