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Brunei

Executive Summary

Brunei Darussalam is a monarchy governed since 1967 by Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah. Emergency powers in place since 1962 allow the sultan to govern with few limitations on his authority. The Legislative Council (LegCo), composed of appointed, indirectly elected, and ex officio members, met during the year and exercised a purely consultative role in recommending and approving legislation and budgets.

The Royal Brunei Police Force and the Internal Security Department have responsibility for law enforcement and the maintenance of order within the country and come under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Prime Minister’s Office, respectively. For crimes that fall under the Sharia Penal Code (SPC), which the government fully implemented in April, both entities are supported by religious enforcement officers from the Ministry of Religious Affairs. The Departments of Labor and Immigration in the Ministry of Home Affairs also hold limited law enforcement powers for labor and immigration offenses, respectively. The armed forces under the Ministry of Defense are responsible for external security matters but maintain some domestic security responsibilities. The secular and sharia judicial systems operate in parallel. The sultan maintained effective control over the security forces.

Significant human rights issues included: forms of punishment that raise concerns about torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment–stoning to death, amputation of hands or feet, and caning–included in newly implemented sections of sharia law, although the sharia court did not hand down any sentences imposing such punishment; caning of some individuals convicted under secular law; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; censorship and criminal libel laws; substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association; restrictions on political participation; the existence of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults, although these laws were not enforced; and exploitation of foreign workers, including through forced labor.

There were no reports of official impunity or allegations of human rights abuses by government officials.

Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process

Citizens do not have the ability to choose their government. The sultan rules through hereditary birthright. While the country is a constitutional sultanate, in 1962 the ruler invoked an article of the constitution that allows him to assume emergency powers. The present sultan continued this practice and most recently renewed the state of emergency for an additional two-year period in a December 2018 proclamation.

Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government

The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, and the government generally implemented these laws effectively, although officials sometimes engaged in corrupt practices.

Corruption: Although corruption was not pervasive, the sultan publicly criticized police, the military, and the immigration and labor departments for corrupt activities by some officials, among other shortcomings. In September the high court began a high-profile trial of two former judges indicted in July 2018 on 40 corruption-related charges, including money laundering and embezzling money from Brunei’s court system. The case was particularly noteworthy because the husband-and-wife pair were very well connected–one was the son of the minister of religious affairs and the other the daughter of a retired high-ranking military officer.

Financial Disclosure: Government officials are not subject to routine financial disclosure reports, but by law officials must declare their assets if they are the subject of an investigation. The government did not make these declarations public. The Anticorruption Bureau also issued a public warning to all government workers that it is empowered to investigate any official who maintains a standard of living above or disproportionate to his or her past or present emolument.

Monaco

Executive Summary

The Principality of Monaco is a constitutional monarchy in which the sovereign prince plays the leading governmental role. The prince appoints the government, which consists of a minister of state and five ministers. The prince shares the country’s legislative power with the popularly elected National Council, which is elected every five years. Multiparty elections for the National Council in February 2018 were considered free and fair.

The national police are responsible for maintaining public order and the security of persons and property. The Palace Guard is responsible for the security of the prince, the royal family, and property. Both report to the Ministry of Interior. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.

There were no reports of significant human rights abuses.

There were no reports of abuses committed by government officials.

Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process

The authority to change the government and to initiate legislation rests solely with the prince. The constitution can be revised by common agreement between the prince and the elected National Council. The constitution and law provide citizens the ability to choose the National Council in free and fair periodic elections held by secret ballot and based on universal and equal suffrage.

Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government

The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, and the government generally implemented these laws effectively. There were no reports of government corruption during the year.

Corruption: There were sporadic allegations of governmental corruption during the year but no formal proceedings against government officials for corrupt practices. The Council of Europe’s anticorruption body, GRECO, reported in 2017 there was “no record of criminal or disciplinary proceedings relating to the integrity of a parliamentarian, which may be as much due to the absence of intrinsic problems as to the absence of specific rules and mechanisms designed to preserve the integrity of national elected representatives.”

On June 26, the government announced that the contract of French investigating judge Edouard Levrault, which expired on September 1, would not be renewed. Judge Levrault had been leading into the inquiry of bribery and influence peddling. “The Monaco authorities gave no justification for their decision, something that should not be tolerated under the rule of law,” Levrault told press in October. Rybolovlev is a Russian businessman and the owner of the country’s soccer team. A collector of expensive art, he sued his Monaco-based art dealer for fraud in 2015, accusing him of inflating the prices of paintings he resold to Rybolovlev. In 2018 the government began a formal investigation into accusations that Rybolovlev had bribed several police and other officials to influence the case. The ensuing corruption scandal resulted in the resignation of the former minister of justice in 2017. During the year the government appointed a senior French prosecutor, Robert Gelli, to be the minister of justice, replacing the previous Monegasque incumbent Laurent Anselmi.

Financial Disclosure: Appointed and elected officials are not subject to financial disclosure laws.

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