Document Type



Harnessing International Law to Restrain and Recapture Indigenous Spoliations, 83 American Journal of International Law 56 (1989)


The ritual of condemnation of foreign corporations' spoliations of the resources of developing countries and their elevation to the level of international concern have obscured the problem of spoliations by national officials of the wealth of the states of which they are temporary custodians. The pathology is not restricted to developing countries. Quite the contrary. Gibbon called it "the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty." But the consequences for developing countries are often catastrophic, for the issue is not garden-variety corruption. The amounts involved can be stunning, at times reportedly equaling the national debt.' In some cases, absconding officials have left the economies of their countries ransacked and destroyed.

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