Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors,
must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.
A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both.
-- James Madison --

Deutschauf Deutsch:

Walter Keim, Email:
Torshaugv. 2 C
N-7020 Trondheim, 26. January 2012

Transparency, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Informationsfreiheit, Aktionsbündnis Informationsfreiheit für Bayern, Greenpeace, Humanistische Union, netzwerk recherche, Mehr Demokratie, German Institute for Human Rights,,,, Open Government, Pirate party

Copy: GRECO, Transparency International, European Commissioner for home affairs (EU COM(2011) 308: Fighting Corruption in the EU), OSCE, OECD, WTO, The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)

What can be done to improve transparency and fight against corruption in Germany?


Summary: Germany has to improve the federal FOI law, adopt FOI laws in 5 federal states (Bundesländer), ratify CoE and UN conventions against corruption, improve transparency of funding of political parties and join the Open Government Partnership to catch up with Europe, America, OSCE, OECD, G 20 and BRIC states (see appendix K: weakness no. 2, 3, 4, 8, 34, 35 and 52 of National Integrity Report Transparency Germany).

Freedom of Information, Transparency and Anti-corruption Treaties in Germany

The human right of access to public documents (ICCPR, ECHR) is recognized as precondition for democracy and essential in the fight against corruption.

10 years ago development showed (Appendix G: Will Germany abandon Freedom of Information? Appendix H: Banana Republic Germany), that Germany was least developed in Europe.

Now many countries outside Europe are more advanced then Germany looking at transparency and fight of corruption.
  1. 88 states with approx. 5.5 billion inhabitants i. e. 78% of the world population give better access to information then the federal Freedom of Information Law in Germany ( 
  2. more than 115 states ( with more then 5.9 billion inhabitants i. e. 84 % of the worlds population adopted FOI laws or provisions in constitutions. 5 German states with half of the population lack FOI laws.  
  3. The UN Convention against Corruption is ratified by more than 159 states with more then 6,5 billion inhabitants, but not by Germany (Appendix A). 
  4. Germany did not ratify the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and does not follow Recommendation Rec(2003)4 on common rules against corruption in the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns of the Council of Europe as GRECO (Group of States against Corruption) suggested 4 December 2009 (Appendix B, Appendix C).
  5. Germany is the only state in Europe which has not ratified any of these to conventions against corruption (Appendix D).
GRECO (Group of States against Corruption) concludes 29. December 2011 in report Greco RC-III (2011) 9E that Germany has implemented or satisfactorily dealt with only four of the twenty recommendations contained in the Third Round Evaluation Report (Appendix 3). Germany has to report on progress 30. June 2012 at the latest. But nothing happened up to now.

51 states participate in the Open Government Partnership for transparent accountable governments. This OGP initiative wants governments to commit to openness, participation for citizens, fight against corruption and use of new technologies. But Germany does not participate, even it would be very necessary.

Germany has to improve the federal FOI law, adopt FOI laws in 5 federal states (Bundesländer), ratify CoE and UN conventions against corruption and improve transparency of sideline jobs for members of parliaments and funding of political parties to catch up with other states in Europe, America, OSCE, OECD (see weakness no. 2, 3, 4, 8, 34, 35 and 52 of National Integrity Report by Transparency Germany). But how does Transparency Germany come to the overall conclusion: Germany gets good to very good testimony, concerning anti-corruption prevention and repression: ("Insgesamt wird Deutschland ein gutes bis sehr gutes Zeugnis zur Korruptionsprävention und –repression ausgestellt"). Here is a human right missing which is a precondition for democracy.

Therefore I ask for support for these suggestions:
  1. Letter to UN Human Rights commission because the human right of access to public documents is missing in 5 federal states (see Appendix 1),
  2. Complaint against refusal of access of the reasons why Bavaria does not meat the suggestions of the CoE Human Rights Commissioner (Appendix 2).

UN, OSCE and AOS Special Mandates for Protecting Freedom of Expression confirmed in Joint Declaration of 6. December 2004, that access to information is a human right: (Appendix 4):

"The right to access information held by public authorities is a fundamental human right which should be given effect at the national level through comprehensive legislation (for example Freedom of Information Acts) based on the principle of maximum disclosure, establishing a presumption that all information is accessible subject only to a narrow system of exceptions."

The federal FOI law violates the principle of maximum disclosure. 5 federal states violate the human right of access to public documents. i. e. no FOI law is adopted.

The "General Comment No. 34 on Article 19 of the ICCPR" confirms this (Appendix J):

"18.   Article 19, paragraph 2 embraces a general right of access to information held by public bodies. Such information includes all records held by a public body, regardless of the form in which the information is stored, its source and the date of production."
"19.   (...) States parties should also enact the necessary procedures, whereby one may gain access to information, such as by means of freedom of information legislation."

The UN Human Rights Committee decided that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Article 19 (3) recognizes the right of individuals and the media to receive state-held information without requiring a demonstration of direct interest (Appendix L).

The European Court of Human Rights recognizes the human right of access to public documents (Appendix M).

The CoE Human Rights Commissioner suggested to educate administration and judges in international law and human rights (Appendix E). The refusal to give access to the reason of Bavaria not to follow these suggestions (Appendix F), shows that this suggestion is important.


Walter Keim

Copy: German Institute for Human Rights, Menschenrechtszentrum, BMJ, Lehrstuhl für Menschenrechtsbildung, Menschenrechtsbeauftragter der Bundesregierung, Ausschuss für Menschenrechte und Humanitäre Hilfe


  1.  08. April 2011: Freedom of Information is missing in the 6. state report of Germany according to Article 40 of the Civil Covenant CCPR
  2. Draft: Can court give access to reason why Bavaria refuses to consider the suggestions of the Commissioner of Human Right?
  3. 29. December 2011 in report Greco RC-III (2011) 9E:



Published on Internet:

  1. 160 states have ratified United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Germany has not ratified. 
  2. GRECO Third Evaluation Round (launched in 2007):
  3. 4 Dezember 2009, Evaluierungsbericht über Deutschland zur Kriminalisierung der Korruption (SEV Nrn. 173 und 191, Leitlinie 2):
  4. Lobbypedia - GRECO:
  5. Report Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg about his visit in Germany 9. – 11. and 15. – 20. October 2006: and administration should be educated in human rights
  6. 13. December 2011: Application to access documents telling why suggestions of Commissioner of Human Rights are refused:
  7. Verabschiedet sich Deutschland vom Informationsfreiheitsgesetz?
  8. Bananenrepublik Deutschland:
  9. 21. December 2004: Joint Declaration by the Three Special Mandates for Protecting Freedom of Expression   UN, OSCE and OAS:
  10. "General Comment No. 34 on Article 19 of  the ICCPR" (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights):
  11. January 2012, Transparency Germany: - 84 weaknesses in the fight against corruption (conventions against Corruption to be ratified, improve FOI laws):
  12. UN Human Rights Committee decisions:
  13. The European Court of Human Rights cases Article 10 of ECHR:


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