However, Europe is just one of the places where today international crime and international cooperation against crime are rising up - admittedly, with a lag between the second and the first one. The most important form of international crime today is organized crime, i. Important groups of international organized crime are the mafias Sicilian, American and Russian , the Japanese yakuza, the Colombian drug cartels of Medellin and Cali, the Chinese triads.
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However, the crime group is not a unitary organization of rigidly subordinated groups. It is, instead, a network of homogeneous groups linked to one another by various forms of solidariety, complicity and spurious hierarchical order. Such relations make very hard to fight crime organizations and put their action under control.
Rivalry and conflict between crime organizations are settled according to rules and mechanisms only partially known to the outside and usually without giving place to all-out confrontation. According to Phil Williams , labels such as Pax Mafiosa or global organized crime "do help to draw attention to the growing linkages amongst transnational criminal organizations that make them an even more formidable challenge than they are in isolation".
In addition, he notes, crime alliances encounter significant problems. The common aim of circumventing law enforcement agencies provides an underlying incentive for sustained cooperation, but such an aim may be neutralized by factors like different criminal cultures and codes of honor, different priorities and concerns over relative gains and who is benefiting most from the collaborative ventures.
International crime is in continuous change. It becomes more diversified every day, oving from traditional fields, such as gambling, loan-sharking and prostitution, to international automobile smuggling, art and archaeological theft, arms trafficking, trade in illegal wildlife products, credit-card fraud and other transnational enterprises.
A crime organization may prefer a particular sector of crime rather than others, but most orgnizations act in drug traffic, arms trade, prostitution and the international recycling of dirty money - this last being the natural complement of all kinds of criminal occupation. Modern technology in the banking, communications and electronic sectors has provided criminals with new tools enabling them to steal millions of dollars and to launder their huge illicit profits across borders and continents.
For that reason, in present times, money laundering is the most important step in the crime process to attack national and transnational crime. Today it has more than quintupled. Intemational criminal organizations are frequently involved in the privatization programs many governments are holding todays to re-start national economies after years of crisis. They buy previously state-owned banks and financial, telecommunications and service institutions as a front or cover for their clandestine operations.
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Businesses acquired by organized crime are likely to have an edge over their law-abiding competitors, and criminals tend to widen that edge by violent means. In that manner, near-monopolistic situations are created, forcing honest entrepreneurs into bankruptcy. The vast sums moved by organized crime are often higher than the total budgets of most developing countries. Inflation and currency fluctuation can result from such business, throwing the domestic financial institutions into disarray with tremendous injury to the conditions making possibile the achievement of fundamental social and economic rights.
Transnational criminal organizations are mostly concerned about profit rather than about politics, and are unlikely to want to undermine a system that they are able to exploit and abuse for their own purposes. But, organized crime is always a form of lawlessness that cynically exploites citizens' rights and threatens the most basic elements of democracy.
Corruption is one of the most destructive accompanying phenomena. Corruption of public officials is often the preferred way of doing business, since violence is likely to attract unwanted public attention.
The resulting public reaction to revelations of corruption of officials is one of profound distrust, fear and unwillingness to cooperate with authorities. Further damage to public order and human rights inevitably follows to such distrust.
There is no alternative way to fight international organized and not organized crime than to collaborate and coordinate national police and judiciary actions. To improve such coordination, agencies like the Interpol and the new Europol have been constituted; the United Nations have taken action since their foundation; groups of states like the G7 formulate specific plans and run concerted strategies.
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The operation of such actions and institutions faces great problems and obstacles because the states have peculiar penal law codes and regulate in very different ways police operations like, for instance, preventive incarceration, collection of information and telephone controls. In addition, they have different priorities in combatting different kinds of crime. Resistence and even opposition originate from governments not disposed to fight crime because of political reasons create troubles to rival governments and disorder in enemy countries , economic interest state treasuries may take advantage of certain crime business and corruption in the ranks of politicians, army and police officers, state administrators.
International police cooperation has long tradition.
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Since crime has assumed the character of an international phenomenon, the police has responded with cross-border cooperation. In the first international police organization was created, but during the first half of the present century cooperation was of an informal nature, not based on formal agreements and conventions. The situation changed in the s. Interpol deals with such organized criminal activities as drug-trafficking, arms smuggling, artwork and car stealing, money-laundering and slave trading. It operates under a constitution which states as its aims to ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police authorities within the limits of the laws existing in the different countries and in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Almost all the states of the world are members of Interpol. About eighty police agents of different countries work at the headquarters of the organization in the French town of Lions. These Bureaus communicate directly for information exchange.
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The central data bank in Lions receives and gives information and data. Interpol mainly exchanges and analyzes information, supply national police forces with data and analyses to recognize international criminal structures and connections, provides the tools that enable them to work together when something international has to be dealt with See: Anderson, ; Bresler,; Fooner, ; Valleix, Judiciary and police cooperation among the countries of the European Union EU started in the s.
It was aimed mostly at fighting terrorism. The recent acceleration of such cooperation is linked, instead, to the upsurge of drug-related crimes and to the wish to control immigration and prevent illegal immigration Ahnfelt and From, In the early Os, Germany advocated to go straitghly to the establishment of a common police agency. It was the extent of political terrorism experienced by several member states to lead to the creation of TREVI, the intergovemmental forum of Ministries of Justice and Home Affairs established by the European Council of Rome in to coordinate anti-terrorism measures See: Benyon, ; de Boer and Walker, Like foreign and defence affairs the 2nd Pillar of Maastricht , justice and home affairs the 3rd Pilar are sensible matters of state sovreignty.
They involve the use of coercion, the restriction of liberties, the definition of the conditions of public and social order. In spite of this, the results achieved in the first years of existence of the Third Pillar are not irrelevant to the pursuit of the communautarization of internal security. Article K. The mandate of Europol is "to improve the effectiveness and cooperation of the competent authorities in the Member States in preventing and combating terrorism, unlawful drug trafficking and other serious forms of international crime where there are factual indications that an organized criminal structure is involved and two or more Member Stares are affected The supplementary Declaration appended to the Treaty refers also to different instruments provided by Europol like support, analysis of national prevention programmes, training and research and development.
Lastly, the Europol Convention, currently under ratification by the member countries, describes Europol's tasks as exchange of information, analysis, facilitating the co-ordination of ongoing investigations, increasing expertise, training. Every country is obliged to set up a national intelligence service Europol National Unit. However, Europol is not a fully new agency. Its mandate has been extended from drugs-related crime to illicit trafficking in radioactive and nuclear substances, illicit vehicle trafficking, clandestine immigration networks and all associated money-laundering activities.
EDU and Europol do not take charge of cases but provide assistance and support. Each team of liaison officers remains under the exclusive control of the national authorities and the management of EDU and Europol co-ordinates the team, not the cases. In , EU ministers signed two milestone documents on criminal cooperation. Beside the Europol Convention, signed in June, the convention simplifying extradition procedures between the 15 member states was signed in September. The Third Pillar is a kind of a rising star in the Union. Governments are aware that closer cooperation over justice and home affairs is vital today as never.
Indeed, working at the Europol and extradition conventions, EU ministers expressed a level of mutual trust never shown by their predecessors. Yet, disputes continue. The most clear sign of uneasiness is the quarrel over the role of the European Court of Justice. To sign the Europol convention, a compromise was reached between those like the British government who want to resist any extra transnational involvement in national affairs and those who argue that only a European law court could pass judgement on third pillar instruments.
Under the reached compromise, member states accept certain degrees of jurisdiction only if they want to. Since the early s, the G7 has been engaged in developing a long-term anti-terrorist strategy. Such strategy focuses on cooperation between national administration for the enforcement of existing conventions and the harmonization of laws on extradition and other issues.
The final Declaration of the last Summit of the G7 and Russia, held in Lyon in June , extended the fight against terrorism to related activities such as fundraising, the preparation of terrorist acts, recruiting, the acquisitions of arms and incitement to violent acts. It stressed the need for giving attention also to the threat of terrorist use of nuclear, chemical and biological products and other toxic substances. The participants at the Lyon Summit decided to call for a meeting of their Foreign Ministers and Ministers responsible for security.
The document invites all States to two forms of actions: A adoption of "internal measures" to improve counter-terrorism cooperation and capabilities, deter, prosecute and punish terrorists, apply appropriate measures on asylum, borders and travel documents; and B inrease of international cooperation to fight terrorism by expanding international treaties and other arrangements, preventing terrorist fund raising and improving information exchange on terrorism.
From a practical point of view, the eight countries attending the conference decided to establish a common directory of counter-terrorism competences, skills and expertise to facilitate practical cooperation. The Group of Seven industrialized countries - along with Russia - condemned the Tupac Amaru rebels as terrorists, "reaffirmed the general principle under which no concession must be made in the face of a terrorist action" and promised to help the Peruvian government with "all the appropriate means that it could request" 2.
The U. The same can be said with regard to money laundering. In such a field also the United Nations take part with their agencies, especially those for drug control because the proceeds by which organized crime convert "dirty money" usually cash received from criminal activities into "clean money" through the financial system are most often associated with illicit profits derived from the sale of narcotics. The decision was taken at the Summit. In April , the Task Force issued a report listing 40 recommendations to improve national legal systems, enhance the role of financial systems, and strengthen international co-operation against money laundering.
FATF's principal purpose is to assess and report on the procedures adopted by its members to prevent the use of the financial system as a conduit for money laundering. Also the United Nations have called for an urgent crackdown on money laundering to block the spread of organized crime. Its convention against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances includes tough measures requiring signatory govemments to make money laundering a criminal offense and to use all the powers of seizure and confiscation that such a move implies.
Despite enormous support by the United Nations for these measures, more than one-third of the UN members have yet to become parties to the treaty. Many more, who are signatories, have not put into force the necessary laws and controls to make the treaty work Giacomelli, Membership in the Commission grew from 15 States in to 21 in , 24 in , 30 in , 40 in and 53 in That growth reflected the need to broaden the Commission's representational base to keep pace with the worldwide expansion of the drug abuse phenomenon.
The Board is independent of governments as well as of the United Nations. It is the Board's responsibility to promote government compliance with the provisions of the drug control treaties and to assist them in this effort. Broadly speaking, the Board deals with two aspects of drug control.
With regard to licit manufacture, commerce and sale of drugs, the Board endeavors to ensure that adequate supplies are available for medical and scientific uses, and that leakages from licit sources to illicit traffic do not occur. With respect to illicit manufacture and trafficking of drugs, the Board identifies where weaknesses in the national and international control systems exist and contributes to correcting the situation.
Since the United Nations was formed, the control and prevention of crime has been an area of its concern. Over the years, the area has developed considerably, reflecting the growing awareness of member states of the structural and sociological causes of crime and the need for measures to alleviate the economic and social conditions that foster criminal behaviour, as well as the need for more effective strategies for incorporating planning for crime prevention and criminal justice within overall social and economic development planning. On 21 June , the Economic and Social Council requested the Social Commission to consider how effective machinery could be developed for studying, on a wide international basis, the means for the prevention of crime and the treatment of offenders.