Sunday Read: Looking to Lithuania and #IACC2024

National Whistleblower Center
5 min readMay 28, 2024


This article highlighting anticorruption laws and philosophies was sent as part of NWC’s “Sunday Read” series. For more information like this, please join our mailing list.

Brave people have spoken out to expose acts of corruption, fraud, and waste — often at great personal risk — but the legal protections vary from country to country. Stronger protections against corruption will empower more people to come forward. Until then, initiating meaningful legal actions and stopping future malicious activity will remain a major challenge.

This underscores the need for more professional forums where leaders from different countries and areas of practice can offer ideas on strengthening laws that govern corruption. One such event is the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC), which will be held in Vilnius, Lithuania from June 18 to 21.

National Whistleblower Center (NWC) will have a presence at the IACC to educate, inform, and share knowledge on whistleblowing, deep sea mining, and more. Let’s discuss why attending this conference and commitments to climate and anticorruption campaigns are integral to NWC’s international outreach.

Background of the IACC

The IACC is the world’s largest independent global forum in the fight against corruption. Since 1983, the IACC has brought together policymakers, business leaders, civil society organizations, and journalists from more than 140 countries to highlight the global impact of corruption and how they can unite to fight it. Washington, D.C. was the host city of the most recent IACC event in 2022 and featured speakers such as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, USAID Administrator Samantha Power, Moldova President Maia Sandu, and Head of Investigations at the Anti-Corruption Foundation Maria Pevchikh.

The IACC council strategically chose Lithuania to host the 2024 conference, due in part to its government’s commitment to fighting corruption since reestablishing its independence from the Soviet Union in 1990.

Transparency International hosts and organizes the IACC and on the conference’s site, noted how Lithuania’s successes can teach the world to better understand and uphold principles of anti-corruption, democracy, and freedom.

“Right now, the world faces myriad threats to human rights and the global order — from the rise of kleptocracy and authoritarianism to climate change — and corruption fuels each of these challenges,” Transparency International Chair Delia Ferreira Rubio said on her organization’s site. “The IACC presents an invaluable opportunity for world leaders to focus in on fighting corruption, to learn from each other and forge new partnerships going forward.”

‘Integrity’ At #IACC2024

The theme of this year’s IACC is “Confronting Global Threats: Standing Up For Integrity.” Whether the risks are caused by human rights violations, pollution and ecological crimes, or a mistrust in public governance, efforts to sustain good and human security will face enormous challenges. People need to feel empowered to demonstrate their integrity in the face of adversity.

Various educational sessions are offered via seven thematic tracks, which run the gamut from environmental risks and kleptocracy to technological innovations, violence, and human rights.

Along with the first workshop about whistleblower laws, NWC Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, Stephen M. Kohn, Esq. will help close out IACC as a panelist on the June 21 workshop, “Anti-Corruption: The New Burden of Proof to Deep Sea Exploitation.”

The session will delve into the crucial intersection of anti-corruption efforts and global governance, particularly in the realm of deep-sea mining. Beyond exploring compliance issues, the panel will discuss corruption risks in awarding mining licenses, shining a spotlight on the dangers posed when unethical practices infiltrate this vital industry.

“The IACC will hold important discussions about whistleblowing and counter-corruption strategies, which we are looking forward to participating in,” Kohn said.

As Kohn noted in Rules for Whistleblowers: A Handbook for Doing What’s Right: “The decision to use environmental whistleblower laws to defend jobs and careers is a viable option for employees who may raise concerns over hot-button environmental issues such as climate change.”

Exposing the international leaders in anti-corruption initiatives to the application of these laws and ideas is where the real change can begin.

“Our side event at the IACC, though, is about how to walk the talk,” Kohn said. “How do we take the problems and goals identified at IACC and actually act on them? The U.S. transnational whistleblowing laws work. They are the most powerful tool we have for anti-corruption enforcement, but human rights defenders and civil society organization leaders need to know how to properly use them.”

Help NWC send its two-person delegation to the International Anticorruption Conference.

NWC’s Climate Commitments

Kohn’s presence at IACC workshop reaffirms the NWC’s commitment to its ongoing climate initiatives. In March, NWC announced its membership in the Nature Crime Alliance, a global network of governments, law enforcement bodies, local communities, companies, and civil society organizations working together to fight nature crime.

NWC intends to work with the Alliance members on how to best leverage whistleblowers in the fight against nature crime, including through the use of whistleblower awards and anonymous reporting channels.

“By working with NWC,” said Yulia Stange, Director of the Nature Crime Alliance, “we hope we can build the support systems needed to encourage and protect whistleblowers which, in turn, will lead to more prosecutions of the perpetrators of these crimes.”

NWC’s additional environmental campaigns include:

NWC Anti-Corruption Campaign Developments

On May 13, an international coalition of anti-corruption organizations sent an open letter to the United States Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco with recommendations for the Department of Justice (DOJ) whistleblower award program currently in development.

“We, the undersigned organizations, believe that a U.S. Department of Justice whistleblower rewards program has the potential to be instrumental to each of our anti-corruption efforts,” write the organizations, who are based in over 20 countries and work directly with whistleblowers and other anti-corruption actors.

The four key recommendations include:

1. Anonymous and Confidential Reporting Channels

2. Dedicated Whistleblower Office

3. Mandatory Awards of 10–30% of Proceeds Collected

4. Eligibility Requirements Modeled off the SEC Whistleblower Program

“However,” the letter continues, “without careful consideration for the unique risks of international whistleblowers and without the implementation of the best-practice protocols identified above, this program could be damaging for international whistleblowers, and their catalytic role in transnational anti-corruption efforts.”

Read the full letter here.

Resources for Whistleblowers

The decision to come forward is not one to be taken lightly, nor should selecting a whistleblower lawyer. NWC provides resources that can connect you with the right legal professional.

Help us get to IACC. Support NWC

The NWC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and our awareness-building work, especially in other countries, is made possible with the support of our generous donors who help us get there. Please consider donating $100 today to help us continue our important advocacy for whistleblowing and whistleblowers around the world. Donors of $100 or more will receive a copy of Rules for Whistleblowers: A Handbook for Doing What’s Right, written by NWC Chairman Stephen M. Kohn, Esq.

This story was written by Justin Smulison, a professional writer, podcaster, and event host based in New York.



National Whistleblower Center

National Whistleblower Center is the leading nonprofit working with whistleblowers around the world to fight corruption and protect people and the environment.