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Peace and Conflict Studies Centre nominates OCCRP for Nobel Peace Prize

1 February 2023
The “Nobel Peace Prize Working Group” of the Peace and Conflict Studies Centre (PACS) at the VU has nominated the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) for the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize.

The working group was convened by Prof. Wolfgang Wagner who is eligible to make a nomination. Wagner invited students of the minor peace and conflict studies and the Master Law and Politics of International Security to discuss the purpose of the Peace Prize and criteria for good candidates. The group collected various ideas and did background checks on potential candidates. After a video conference with OCCRP’s co-founder Drew Sullivan, the group decided to nominate OCCRP for the Nobel peace prize. One of the students, Helen Zotz, commented: “It was a fascinating process discussing different meanings of peace. We wanted to highlight the OCCRP and their investigative works as a often overlooked contribution to peace!”

The OCCRP was founded in 2006 with the mission to work against corruption and organized crime by exposing shadow economies and fight misinformation through investigative journalism. The organization contributes to the prevention and ending of conflicts by strengthening good governance and outing corrupt leaders. The group felt that the ingoing war in Ukraine reminds us of the corrosive force of corruption and organized crime. The OCCRP has reported on Putin and his network benefitting from the economy and the war. These oligarchs have often made it hard for anyone to track their assets. The OCCRP tries to uncover their wealth and make it easier for governments to impose sanctions against them by publishing their assets in a database. $17.5 billion worth of assets belonging to these oligarchs has already been uncovered due to the work of the OCCRP. Investigative journalism is a public good supporting democracy and peace by giving civil society a voice and exposing governmental wrongdoings and predatory behavior. The organization supports investigative journalism globally as they continue to work on training and hiring staff internationally.

OCCRP just moved its headquarter to Amsterdam. The group had the pleasure to meet co-founder Paul Radu and investigate journalist Pavla Holcová (pictured). Another student, Rogier Bakker, notes: ‘’the meeting with some of the staff of the OCCRP and the co-founder, Paul Radu, was highly interesting. They shared their views with us on the most efficient way to fight global cooperation and crime. The meeting strengthened my belief that they are worthy of this nomination.’’