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International Organization and Crime, and Corruption

Summary and Keywords

The intersection of international organization and crime and corruption has been garnering increasing interest from international studies scholars and practitioners. An international organization can be defined, following the International Law Commission, as an “organization established by a treaty or other instrument governed by international law and possessing its own international legal personality.” International organizations generally have States as members, but often other entities can also apply for membership. They both make international law and are governed by it. Yet, the decision-making process of international organizations is often less a question of law than one of political judgment. Meanwhile, corruption is a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person, or an institution, entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit. Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement, though it may also involve practices that are legal in many countries. Government, or 'political', corruption occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain. Strangely, the most important contribution to the field of organized crime did not come from criminology, legal studies, or international studies, but from philosophy. Recognizing both criminal law and international relations as the exercise of power, Michel Foucault introduced radically new thinking in the area of societal control in relation to the study of organized crime.

Keywords: international organization, corruption, organized crime, international studies, political corruption, criminology, legal studies, philosophy, Michel Foucault


The subject matter of this essay is the intersection of two issues, which have become of increasing interest to international studies scholars and practitioners, namely international organization and crime and corruption. The fact that “organization” is in the singular means that “international organization” refers to the way the world is organized on an international level, including the creation of international organizations (in the plural). The essay also sees transnational crime and its unavoidable lubricant, corruption, as an institution; albeit dynamic and protean (Madsen 2009).

So-called transnational organized crime has become of importance to international relations scholars and practitioners over the last decade or two in a manner which few could have imagined at an earlier stage. As a consequence, both scholars and in particular practitioners have to reflect upon and deal with subjects, which hitherto had been less than central to their concerns, such as extradition, international surveillance and control mechanisms, and the transnational transfer of data.

The essay is divided into two main parts, respectively dealing with transnational organized crime and with corruption. This introduction is followed by a section examining Foucault's contributions – including the academic spin-off known as “surveillance studies” – and the various models built by criminologists in order to provide a framework for the study of organized crime before passing on, in the remaining sections of the essay, to an examination of the international aspects. A brief analysis of globalization follows, since globalization is often invoked as a core contributor to the postulated increase in transnational crime. After a section on the economics of organized crime, including the international use of US dollars, the various countermeasures put in place are examined.

The second part of the essay covers corruption and includes an evaluation of the way organized crime acts as “peace spoiler” in postbellum situations.

Theoretical Frameworks

Surprisingly, the most important contribution to the field did not come from criminology, legal studies, or international studies, but from philosophy. Perceiving both criminal law and international relations as the exercise of power, Foucault introduced radically new thinking in the area of societal control, first in his seminal work Surveiller et punir (1975) and then in lectures at the Collège de France in Paris 1977–8.

Foucault develops a tripartite concept of social functioning, seen in particular as internal security. First, the legal or judicial system, i.e., the archaic form of the penal order, which obtained in Europe from the Middle Ages until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a coupling between the prohibited action and the type of punishment, and a binary division between the permitted and the prohibited. Second, the disciplinary system or mechanism, in which the culprit appears within the binary relationship between prohibited and permitted acts, but alongside a series of adjacent, detective, medical, and psychological techniques, which fall within the domain of surveillance. Finally, the security apparatus, which, having incorporated the former two, obtains today. It is characterized by the fact that the phenomenon (the crime) is set within a series of probable events and that the reaction to it is inserted in a calculation of cost. In other words, the security apparatus abandons the dichotomy of right and wrong, prohibited and permitted, and, instead, establishes “an average,” considered optimal, on one hand, and, on the other, a “bandwidth of the acceptable” (Foucault 2007:47). It responds to a reality, which it nullifies, limits, or regulates; it is therefore positivist, since it works with the nature of and relationships between things rather than with a perceived transcendental criterion of what should be. It is in this sense that this particular security discourse has been and is fruitful in the interrelationship with international studies, since the two in many respects determine one common field of discourse. Furthermore, emphasis is placed on the ratio between the cost of repression and the cost of delinquency, which, in particular on an international level, is of extreme importance.

While the disciplinary approach is centripetal, isolating, and protectionist, the security approach is centrifugal and expanding. It involves organizing or allowing the development of ever-widening circuits: production, psychology, behavior, the behavioral patterns of producers, buyers, consumers, importers, and exporters, and the world market. Security therefore involves organizing, or at the least allowing the development of ever-widening circuits. According to this view, the world is traversing the third period, characterized by the security approach. Designed to operate on reality, the security approach logically has expanded its field of operation on societal reality from the national to the international level in response to the increasing shifts of emphasis of this reality.

In a dialogue with and in opposition to Hans Kelsen's work, Foucault (2007:56) notes that, considering that “Every system of law is related to a system of norms,” one important difference persists, namely that in the disciplinary regime, the norm is established first and the normal obtained in training in relation to the norm. In the security regime, on the other hand, the norm is established on the basis of the normal. In other words, the security regime considers reality and establishes several normal distributions – the norm is an interplay of differential normalities.

Foucault's work had an enormous influence and it was taken up and continued by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. Furthermore, Foucault's work and that of Giddens (1984) led to the development of a new branch of knowledge, surveillance studies, which is of core importance on an international level. Ultimately based on the philosophical findings of Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon (1791) and Foucault and his followers, the proponents of surveillance studies based themselves on a view of the contemporary world as characterized by flows, rather than by locations: namely flows of bodies, objects, and data (Lyon 2006; 2007). Apart from important theoretical studies, scholars of surveillance have also identified the social importance of so-called “non-obvious relationship analysis” (NORA) computer programs and have, rightly, concluded that the full extent of their operability and of their societal consequences is undetermined and, at the present level of knowledge, undeterminable. Another concept developed by this school is of importance: the terms “data-double” or “software self” when applied to a person mean that the accumulated information pertaining to that person constitutes another person, in a sense a double of the physical one. This software double has a life of its own and “[D]ata-doubles have far greater rates of mobility than their real-life counterparts” (Lyon 2007:4–5).

One of the major tasks facing scholarship has been the establishment of a theoretical framework, within which appropriate analysis could be carried out. The difficulties are caused not only by differences in aspect among the various schools – in international studies as much as in criminology and the social sciences – but also, and perhaps more importantly, by the entrenched, but unhelpful use of a series of terms that are ill-defined, if defined at all, for example, international, transnational, organized crime, white-collar crime, and terrorism.

The group-focused models use criteria based on structural aspects, nature of membership, internal dynamics and relation to surrounding environment; one of these, the bureaucratic or hierarchical model was heavily influenced by the portrayal of La Cosa Nostra as representing an archetypal model: formalized, hierarchical command structure and an established division of labor designed for the commission of crime (Abadinsky 2006). This model is mainly characterized by being an entity of quasi-permanent existence with a non-ideological, hierarchically subdivided, limited membership, which uses violence and bribery. The functioning of this postulated monopoly-seeking organization is governed by explicit rules and regulations, and is labor specialized. The ethnic model, also called the alien conspiracy theory, resembles the hierarchical model, but stresses the ethnic or cultural distinction of criminal groups; the latter thus becomes “alien.” This view also entails the “ethnic succession thesis,” namely that organized crime is formed by the least enfranchised and least empowered ethnic groups in order to obtain wealth and social status; therefore, old groups move out and on, and new groups move in. The model has been severely attacked by Lupsha (1981), who claims that organized crime membership is based on personal choice and in the United States is the result of a perversion, namely that only suckers work.

The “official” US view, as the name indicates, was proposed by the US government; this model became the inspiration for the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute. The main characteristic is that organized crime is a kind of parallel corporate world since it exhibits many structures typical of legitimate corporations; for example, in attempting to monopolize by expanding in size, inter alia by forming national and international cartels. The model stresses a belief that organized crime undermines foundations of democracy by corruption.

Three more models have been proposed: first, the patron–client model (Ianni and Reuss-Ianni 1972) which holds that US organized crime is not modeled on modern corporate principles, but on a patron–client network that originated in southern Italy and is based on personalized and ritualized relationships. It is grounded, academically, on an anthropological approach and it assumes ethnic homogeneity. Second, the multiple constituencies model sees organizations, including criminal ones, as the product of intersecting constituencies, which meet around shared interests. Finally, the global monolithic threat model was proposed by Claire Sterling, who in her 1994 work Crime without Frontiers perceives organized crime as an “empire of evil.” According to this view, the traditional organized crime groups are merging to form a unified entity, “a borderless consortium of organized crime across the globe.” This model was challenged by Naylor (2002:3–5), who claims that organized crime, far from being predatory and segregated from mainstream economic activity, is consensual and institutionally embedded within the legal economy.

As a reaction to the hierarchical model, the flexible network model was created by Mastrofski and Potter (1987). This proposes a view of organized crime as an informal, loosely structured, open system, which is reactive to fluctuations in the economic, political, and legal environment. Its expansions and contractions are correlative to those of the environment, and, also in this respect, it is best compared to small enterprises, rather than corporate syndicates. Contrary to the traditional view, strict intra-group discipline is not the norm; rather, competition, treachery and disorganization are common traits. The innovative and initially shocking aspect of this model was that it firmly predicated a close, symbiotic bond between “upperworld” and underworld, and an inherent difficulty in distinguishing between corrupter and corrupted, while rejecting ethnic homogeneity as a conditio sine qua non. This and the related multiple constituencies model have gained recognition as a useful theoretical standpoint from which to observe and study organized crime, whereas models based on ethnic exclusivity have gradually been abandoned. When transposed on an international level, this model shows itself even more relevant, since groups of disparate geographical and ethnic origin seem to cooperate – often seamlessly – and to exemplify the replacement of “geographical distance” by “effective distance” (Burton 1972:471). Effective distance is constituted by a number of elements, for example language affinity, available corruption facility, and trust relationships, whereas geographical distance and transportation costs are less relevant.


The existence, meaning, and extent of globalization are hotly contested among scholars and have given rise to an abundant literature. The more general implications of this discussion will not be examined here, but only such aspects as are of particular importance in the present context. Williams and Baudin-O'Hayon (2002:130) observe that “The geographical realities of today are not simply about power, boundaries and territory; they are about transnational flows – of money, commodities and people – and linkages, about networked organizations, about ethnic connections and loyalties that transcend national borders, about wire transfers and underground banking systems, about global communications and the internet, and about megacities and global transportation links.” So transnational organized crime is both a reflection of and a contribution to a new form of geopolitics. Other scholars, however, agree with Naylor (2002:4–5) and do not believe that there has been an economic globalization. Furthermore, they doubt that contemporary technological developments have had a major influence on illegality compared, say, with the development of the steam engine and the telegraph.

Two writers would appear to be of particular relevance here, namely Panic and Waters. Panic (2003) underlines the overwhelming importance of transnational enterprises (TNEs) in the globalization process and Waters (2001:22) points out that culture tends toward universalization. While this leads to a high level of abstraction of values and standards and therefore perhaps to higher levels of cultural differentiation, both, that is the role of the TNEs and cultural universalization, also open metaspaces necessary for various nefarious activities. There is little doubt that organized crime and in particular transnational organized crime stand in a mimetic relationship to society. Therefore, the globalizing activities of TNEs serve as a model for and the high level of international commerce facilitates illicit traffics; cultural differentiation operates in the same sense. It should be noted, though, that organized crime does not operate in a borderless world, but rather engages in arbitrage along borders (Williams and Baudin-O'Hayon 2002:129).

An important question in the present context is the degree to which economic globalization has created circumstances favorable for transnational crime. It has been investigated, in particular, by the Australian scholar Mark Findlay in two books, respectively from 1999 and 2008. Findlay (1999) presents his main thesis, in simplified form, as “crime has been a silent partner in globalisation.” He identifies a number of crucial dualities in globalization: local/global; custom/modernization; market/enterprise, and sees crime as a detrimental factor inherent in relentless globalization. The internationalization of capital, the generalization of consumerism, and the unification of economies are, according to this view, essential to establishing and nurturing the relationship between crime and globalization. An important point brought up by Findlay is that “representations of crime and control are of interest now that a popular culture context is being transformed beyond cultural relativity.”

Globalization is a power context and a language for asserting hierarchies of power, and he sees international crime control as a means of global governance. This makes symbolic exchanges of crime and justice crucial in the present international context, since such exchanges receive global endorsement as symbols of democratization. Crime, therefore, somewhat paradoxically, becomes “a force for change as much as an unwanted product of social development or a negative consequence of globalization.” Indeed, Findlay (1999:138) quite rightly points out that “Just as international treaties are becoming identified with the management problems of global economic interdependence, and crime is identified amongst the problems to be managed, so too the internationalization of crime control is being promoted as reaction to the assumed expansion of crime in a global economic context.”

Findlay concurs with Waters also on the subject of cultural differentiation. According to this view, globalization works toward a common culture. It argues for one preferred politic (democracy), one preferred economy (modernization), and one preferred value structure (materialism). The end result is the promotion of a legitimate and restrictive citizenship in the global community (Findlay 2008:52).

On the other hand, one of Waters’ main theses is that material relationships localize, power relationships internationalize, and symbolic relationships globalize (Waters 2001:9). Findlay's insistence on the symbolic aspects of exchanges of crime control and criminal justice on an international level forcefully reinforces Waters’ point. Indeed, Findlay (2008:xii) sets out with three goals: first, to chart the “critical nexus” between crime/risk and control/security in the context of contemporary globalization; second, to appreciate international criminal justice as a “central” tool for global governance and, finally, to make predictions about the “changing face” of international criminal justice by exploring the dependency of global governance on crime and control. Findlay is undoubtedly right, when he observes that “Security responses to risks posed by global crime may have as much to do with the context of their identification and representation as they do to any future challenge to global governance which they pose.” However, it is important to unpack expressions such as “challenge to global governance.” The challenge from criminals and terrorists is not based on the exercise of, say, violence or any other crime. Rather, the challenge is political in so far as “global governance,” if it is seen to be powerless in the face of international crime, including terrorism, will lose most of its legitimacy. Therefore, while one might follow Findlay from a purely criminological point of view, one would have doubts on the political level.

In summary, one needs to emphasize that globalization, if and to the degree this might exist, does not generate transnational organized crime. Rather, it proffers the means for its spatial expansion.

The Economics of Transnational Organized Crime

George Vold (1958:159–60) introduced the concept of “The economic determinist approach,” namely “the proposition that economic life is fundamental and therefore the determining influence upon which all social and cultural arrangements are made.” The idea here is that the “economic life” has a determining influence on crime in general and transnational organized crime in particular.

Two terms used in this field can give rise to confusion. One is political economy of crime, which refers to the possible influence of economic factors such as poverty and inequality on crime levels (Reiner 2007:341–80). The other term of interest is economics of crime, which, on the empirical level, refers to the question of the profits that organized crime may generate and, on the theoretical level, to the much more substantive question of organized crime as an economic actor. Among scholars there is an ongoing, rather heated debate between those who think that the profits of crime are overestimated and those who take a more alarmist view of the role of “criminal” profits in the world economy. A second debate has as its main opponents those who – apart from the profits of crime – are worried about the reach of crime and therefore study crime as a global phenomenon (Ziegler 1998) and a minority of scholars, who are very critical of the issue of organized crime in general and transnational organized crime in particular. The latter argue that the phenomenon is being exaggerated by the law enforcement community with a view to obtaining increased budget allocations and by the political class as a means of gaining democratic consensus for otherwise unacceptable societal control mechanisms. They point to two representative main areas, the “militarization” of interior security and the growing influence of international law on public national policy, for example Nelken (1997). When evaluating these arguments, however, one needs to keep in mind Anthony Giddens's general definition of modernization as “a capitalist system of commodity production, industrialism, developed state surveillance techniques, and militarized order” (Giddens 1991:15). One might therefore ask if control mechanisms, militarization, and so forth, are organic reactions to the complexities of modern and postmodern society rather than conscious designs on the part of government officials or the political class.

A core question, which is not often asked, is simply if funds injected into the legitimate economy make a positive contribution to the economy, whatever their origin. The US legislator would seem to provide a beginning of an answer to this question in the 1970 RICO statute (18 USCA §1961 et seq.) namely that such funds are harmful to the economy if used to create commercial entities trading in interstate or foreign markets or to take control over securities-issuing corporations.

The US Expatriate Dollar

As part of globalization, transnational crime has expanded its international traffics of various kinds, in arms, humans, drugs, etc. Such traffics necessitate payment settlement in order to be completed and, therefore, a means of payment, which necessarily must be easy to transport, non-traceable, and highly liquid. While it is generally accepted that the US currency has traditionally played this role, it is self-evident that it is not possible to measure such use. As an approximate proxy, one might attempt to examine the so-called “expatriate US currency,” that is to say US currency in the form of dollar notes circulating in the world outside the United States (Porter and Judson 1996:883). In other words, the question raised is if, by using this proxy, one might arrive at an approximate knowledge of monetary flows as an expression of a clear interdependency between the growth of the terror, criminal and illegal economy, and the growth of the US money supply.

Briefly stated, the results indicate that the US Federal Reserve System issues new currency in a way for which, since the mid-1980s, there has been no purely domestic explanation; only the exportation of such currency and its circulation abroad would be a satisfactory hypothesis. The US Treasury (2006:iv) estimates that nearly 60 percent of all banknotes in circulation, or about $450 billion of the $760 billion in circulation as of December 2005, circulate abroad.

Money Laundering

The investigation and interdiction of money laundering have, over the last 20 years, become the foci of much national and international law enforcement. A number of scholars, including the present author, nevertheless contend that this approach is conceptually ill-founded, unacceptably intrusive, and, ultimately, inefficient. It also displaces the criminal justice discourse from an area of mostly common opprobrium (the predicate crimes) to regulatory offences. As regards the financing of terrorism, the money laundering approach seems particularly unsuited and, based on past experience, almost certain to fail (Rider 2004:61).

It is generally agreed that the impetus for the creation of anti-money laundering measures originated in the United States, whence it spread – partially under pressure from the US – to the rest of the world. In the United States, the idea of depriving the criminals of the proceeds of their crimes, took root as early as the 1960s. The necessary legislation to do so already existed in the various seizure and forfeiture provisions on state and federal level, but the idea, however, slowly emerged to make certain types of investment of funds of illegal origin as well as the very concealment of the origin of such funds, illegal. The novelty of so-called anti-money laundering measures in reality consists only in the criminalization of the attempt to conceal the origin of the funds concerned by a number of often otherwise legitimate actions, such as investment in real estate, bank transfers, etc. The concomitant novelty was that much of the effort was to be carried out and the cost borne by the private sector (“horizontal subsidiarity,” cf. Reinicke 1998:135–7). As of 2002, a large number of institutions were subject to reporting requirements, namely 24,000 depository institutions, 160,000 money service businesses, 40,000 US Post Office sites, 600 casinos, 5,000 securities firms, and an undetermined number of other institutions such as insurance companies (Secretary of the Treasury 2002:5).

Apart from the very high costs and lack of efficiency of anti-money laundering provisions, the question of sentencing of banks involved in money laundering remains posed. The investigation in February 2001 by the Levin Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the US Senate's Committee on Governmental Affairs estimated that US banks condoned or actively participated in the laundering of more than $250 billion a year “primarily from drug trafficking and organized crime.” Nevertheless, it is doubtful if major banks will be charged, as they are too important to the financial system to be threatened with failure. When fines are imposed, a simple calculation shows that they constitute less than the commissions and fees collected by the bank on the violating transactions. As an example, in 2006, Bank of America settled with the New York County District Attorney's office for having allowed the use of its accounts for the laundering of $3.7 billion over four years. Total fines imposed were $4.5 million, or 0.12 percent of illegally transferred funds.

July 1989 is the crucial date for the imposition of anti-money laundering measures at an international level, when, at a summit in France, the G7 began an in-depth treatment of the question and, in cooperation with the members of the OECD, developed a series of projects and recommendations. Among the former was the creation of a Financial Action Task Force (FATF); among the latter a set of recommendations, later issued under the auspices of FATF, the so-called 40 Recommendations. Following on from this, Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) were created in many, if not most, jurisdictions, as were a number of overarching and coordinating institutions, such as the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, created in 1995 with only FIUs as members, at present 106. One might be forgiven if one were to believe that this impressive array of money-laundering fighting institutions constituted an ample sufficiency, but one would be wrong. Between the country level FIUs and the overarching, international Egmont Group and the FATF itself, a string of regional organizations have seen the light of day, concurrently creating a number of rather bewildering acronyms.

These regional groupings collect and disseminate case histories, trends, and typologies. They also examine how FATF recommendations can best be implemented considering the specificities of each region. Finally, in accordance with the 40 Recommendations of the FATF, they perform mutual evaluations of anti-money laundering measures. A clear regulatory deficiency is the fact that in these evaluations FATF and the various regional institutions only have the mandate to evaluate the establishment of laws and structures, not to enforce them.

Naylor (2002:134) notes that there is not “a shred of evidence that the increasingly intrusive and expensive protective measures intended to combat the supposed menace are effective or even necessary.” Judging the effectiveness of the anti-money laundering regime is a subjective matter, since there are no commonly accepted criteria available for determining what characterizes success or failure. However, the information available, for the UK and the USA, seems to agree that approximate 20 percent of the cost of anti-money laundering measures is recuperated through forfeitures and seizures. The wider question of the ratio between funds seized and the total amount laundered is difficult to answer, since the information available is evaluative, at best. Taking the lower estimate in the 2002 National Money Laundering Strategy (US Department of the Treasury 2002) of money laundering in the USA at $300 billion in the year 2001, the total funds seized and forfeited under money laundering provisions (respectively $386 and $241 million) represent 0.2 percent of the total laundered and 9 percent of the total costs of anti-money laundering measures.

A further indication of the lack of effectiveness of the “follow the money” methodology is provided by the UK Assets Recovery Agency, ARA. The agency was set up in 2003 (with much media attention) and was closed in April 2007. When ARA was set up, it was meant to recuperate some £60 ($96) million per year in assets from organized crime; to achieve this it was provided with unique powers to launch civil recovery proceedings. For the almost four years the agency had run before closure, it had cost £90 ($144) million in running costs, but had not lived up to its recovery targets. Thus, for the year 2004–5, where it had cost £20 ($32) million to run, it had only recovered some £4.4 ($7) million or 22 percent of its own running costs.

Initiatives against Transnational Organized Crime

The various countermeasures against transnational organized crime, developed on both a national and international level, consist in institutions (including procedures) and legislation. Both attempt to counter transnational crime – the verb “counter” was chosen with some care, since such crime will never be “interdicted.” In fact, as Durkheim observed, “The more the group is spread out, although densely concentrated, the more the collective attention, dissipated over a wide area, becomes incapable of following the movements of each individual […]. The surveillance is less careful, because there are too many people and things to watch” (Durkheim 1991:284).

Transnational organized crime has increasingly become a considerable concern for national and international decision makers, just as scholars and practitioners have pointed to the connection between transnational organized crime and state fragility, armed conflict and terrorism, and have highlighted the complex and problematic relationships between trafficking in arms, human beings and drugs, and corruption and state failure (Cockayne and Pfister 2008). Equally complex is organized crime's role in sustaining livelihoods and in providing security in conflict and post-conflict situations (Cockayne and Lupel 2009:4–19).

In consequence, a number of measures meant to counter the activities of transnational crime have been introduced as part of global governance consisting, in particular, of a series of so-called international prohibition schemes. Such schemes are by no means of recent vintage; in fact, the first international prohibition scheme was the anti-piracy measures, which, although only codified in 1856, had operated effectively for some time. Recently, however, and in particular after the end of the Second World War, a number of such regimes have been introduced, some of which have been relatively effective, others less. The salient point, however, has been and remains international law enforcement cooperation, without which international prohibition schemes would have little value – other than as moral pointers.


The International Criminal Police Organization – Interpol (ICPO) – is the only global criminal police agency. The purpose of the organization is to facilitate cooperation between the 188 member countries’ criminal police departments, which it does by placing a sophisticated communications system at the disposal of member countries, as well as by providing information from the organization's extensive criminal records and fingerprint dataset at the organization's General Secretariat in Lyons, France.

Interpol possesses many qualities. One of these is that the Secretariat with short notice can create ad hoc working groups on a specific subject, consisting of officers from the Secretariat joined by officers and expertise borrowed from member countries via the appropriate National Central Bureaux (NCBs). Such working groups can include some of the best expertise available in the world and stand out by being and by being seen as independent. Interpol is increasingly gaining the status of a valid professional partner on the highest possible levels, in particular because of the leadership of the relatively new Secretary General, Ronald K. Noble. Thus, in 2004 in relation to the passing of the United Nations Security Council Resolution on access to weapons of mass destruction by non-state actors (UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004)), US President Bush encouraged Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) participants and other willing participants to “use the Interpol and all other means to bring to justice those who traffic in deadly weapons.” Also, the UN Security Council has requested the Secretary General of the United Nations to increase cooperation between the United Nations and Interpol and has urged the UN membership to use the international police organization's resources in order better to implement the Security Council's decisions (on freezing of assets and travel bans). Indeed, to render cooperation between the two organizations more effective, in November 2004 Interpol appointed a very high-ranking police official the first Special Representative of Interpol to the United Nations and thus created an Interpol office at the UN headquarters in New York.

The establishment of Europol (EU) was agreed in the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty) in 1992; its headquarters, the Directorate, is in The Hague, the Netherlands. From only being involved in the fight against drugs, the organization has developed its remit and now deals with international crime on a thematic basis according to a listing annexed to the Europol Convention, which came into force in 1998. The mission statement of Europol states that “Europol is the European Union law enforcement organisation that handles criminal intelligence. Its aim is to improve the effectiveness and cooperation between the competent authorities of the Member States in preventing and combating serious international organised crime and terrorism.” The most important crimes, with which Europol deal, according to its mandate, are illicit drug trafficking; terrorism; counterfeiting of the Euro and other means of payment; trafficking in human beings (including child pornography); and money laundering.

Closely linked with the evolution of Europol is Eurojust, which was created in 2002 as a complement to Europol, as an organization, which would promote the cooperation in the European Union of the prosecutorial authorities by the “co-ordination of investigations and prosecutions between competent authorities in the Member States,” in particular “by facilitating the execution of international mutual legal assistance and the implementation of extradition requests.”

The Council of Europe was created in 1949; it thus predates the establishment of the European Communities and it has a larger membership of 47 member states at the time of writing. It is headquartered in Strasbourg, France, where each member country has a permanent representative, most of ambassadorial level. The Council of Europe “seeks to develop throughout Europe common and democratic principles based on the European Convention on Human Rights and other reference texts on the protection of individuals.” Among the aims of the organization, several are of core importance in the present context, in particular terrorism, trafficking in human beings, organized crime and corruption, cybercrime, and violence against children. The European Council has played and plays a core role in Europe in the fight against organized crime and in 1997 adopted an Action Plan to combat organized crime, which was prepared by a high-level group of experts from the Member States. Several of the recommendations of this Action Plan aim at improving the standards of cooperation between judicial authorities in criminal matters, which was one of the main arguments for the creation of Eurojust (above).

The United Nations conventions against crime, including drug trafficking, are crucial in today's world where increased speed of communications and ease of transportation increasingly place judicial authorities in situations involving intractable practical and juridical difficulties. Major criminal cases already pose serious problems on a national level; these become of an extreme complexity when one has to deal with different criminal laws and different legal systems. The work of the United Nations has, politically, been rather difficult in the area of transnational crime due, in particular, to the centrality of the criminal law to the concept of sovereignty. Estella Baker notes rightly that the legitimacy of the state rests on what she terms a “classical triad”: the provision of security, economic well-being and cultural identity (Estella Baker in Edwards and Gill 2003:185). Criminal law is a core element in the first, plays an important role in the second by keeping the market place clean, and is of importance also in the third, as cultural identity is linked to borders and limits. It is therefore less than surprising that states guard criminal law with some jealousy as being crucial to the expression of their legitimacy and in some way of their very identity qua states.


In 1988, the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, commonly known as the “1988 Vienna Convention” (ILM 1989:493), was adopted. This convention introduces a series of international legal innovations, which have been used as models for much subsequent international legislation in this and related areas. It is the first international instrument, which in itself acts as an extradition treaty. It introduces the notion of money laundering without using this term (Art. 3, §1.b.i–ii.), provides that if parties require a treaty basis for tracing and freezing of assets, they “shall consider this Convention as the necessary and sufficient treaty basis” (Art. 5, §4(f).) and lifts bank secrecy (Art. 5, §3). Furthermore, the Convention stipulates that “knowledge, intent or purpose required as an element of the offence […] may be inferred from objective factual circumstances” (Art. 3, §3) and lists among aggravating circumstances (a) the case if the offender belongs to an organized criminal group and (b) the involvement of the offender in other international organized criminal activities (Art. 3, §5. a–b); it furthermore reinforces the aut dedere aut iudicare principle (Art. 6, §9). In Article 7 it sets out the requirements for wide-ranging mutual assistance and requires the Parties to “Establish and maintain channels of communication between their competent agencies and services […].” It is rare, indeed too rare, for an international legal instrument to make provisions also for international cooperation and enforcement (Art. 7 and Art. 9, §1(a).)

The 1994 United Nations World Ministerial Conference on Organized Transnational Crime, Naples, Italy, of 142 member countries produced the Global Action Plan against Transnational Organized Crime. Finally, in December 2000, in Palermo, Italy, a Convention on Transnational Organized Crime was opened for signature along with two protocols, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air. A third protocol, the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunitions was opened for signature in June 2001. All three protocols supplemented the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. A consensus was reached, for the first time, on a definition of trafficking in persons, while the treaty itself enables countries to cooperate even if the crime is not necessarily recognized as such by both countries; the latter often concerns conspiracy charges.


The term “corruption” covers a series of subjects; they have in common that somebody is being paid to do what he or she should not do or not do what he or she should do. This section is divided in two parts, of which the first is a general introduction, whereas the second considers the efforts made by international organizations to counter the phenomenon.

Corruption: An Introduction

Subsets of corruption include but are not limited to political, including official corruption, corruption by criminals, and private or commercial corruption. Of these, the corruption of officials and politicians may be the most common and, in particular in developing countries, also the most noxious. Widespread official corruption reduces foreign direct investment (FDI) and thus changes the ratio between relatively stable foreign direct investment and relatively unstable portfolio investment. The latter increases in a country with high corruption rates because – contrary to FDI – such investment will have to deal with local officials less frequently and, at the same time, portfolio investments are better and more easily insured (by lender country governments) than FDI. Finally, official corruption also leads to less efficient allocation of resources and increased levels of non-performing loans in the local banking industry (Wei, 2001:1, 4–6). Corruption by criminals and criminal organizations of public officials occurs when criminals corrupt officials to ensure smooth execution of the crime, safeguarding of accumulated criminal gains, or judicial impunity. Finally, private or commercial corruption consists in the corruption by one commercial entity of one or more executives in another in order to secure a commercial advantage. Although criminal sanctions in some jurisdictions are stipulated for private as well as public corruption, for example Hong Kong, in the following only public corruption will be considered.

It should be stressed, however, that corruption often has embedded in it a strong element of extortion. Therefore, although a corruption transaction implies a corrupter and a corrupted, it is not necessarily the case that the initiative to the transaction originates with the so-called corrupter.

Economists note that if markets were perfect, there would be no need for the government to play a regulatory role, but they are not. Therefore, the existence of public goods, of externalities in production and consumption, of informational deficiencies, and of monopolistic practices, justifies and requires that the state play a corrective role in economy. The theoretical work on how the public sector should pursue its corrective role owes much to Max Weber's ideal or normative type of national-legal bureaucracy. When civil servants appropriate for their own use the instruments that the government has at its disposal to influence the economy and to correct the shortcomings of the private market, they reduce the power of the state and its ability to play the intended and presumably corrective role. In a way this represents a privatization of the state, in which its power is not shifted to the market, as privatization normally implies, but to government officials and bureaucrats.

Many factors determine the level of corruption in a country; for example complexity of the bureaucratic procedures is corruption-generating, as each step on the procedure ladder potentially opens opportunities for the acquisition of rent by public officials. The most important causal factor, however, might very well be the social characteristics of the society, in particular the application of the arm's length principle. Dr Reddy (1992), an Indian sociologist doing field work in Denmark, summed up his findings of the application of the arm's length principle and, by implication, of corruption by the use of Cartesian coordinates (Figure 1), where the x-axis represents the importance of social capital and the y-axis respect for the arm's length principle (for both, the point of origin indicates the minimum). In Figure 1, the 45 degree line from origin determines the points where social capital equals respect for the arm's length principle and subdivides the quadrant into two segments, A and B. In segment A, the respect for the arm's length principle is greater that the social capital, while in segment B the opposite is the case.

International Organization and Crime, and CorruptionClick to view larger

Figure 1. Social Capital and the Arm's Length Principle.

Source: Reddy (1992)

The notion of social capital (Coleman 1990) indicates that a given society does not consist in the sum of the acts of individuals, but that there is an important further element, namely personal relations and networks of relations, constituting social capital. Social capital plays an important role in a number of homogenous societies, for instance southern Italy and India. As regards organized crime in particular, in segment A organized crime will be more easily controlled, as its members have no or little social capital. The opposite is true for segment B on condition that the organized crime members do not direct their activities exclusively or predominantly against the segment of society in which they operate.

Borders have always been highly corruption-generating. The passage of persons and goods constantly gives rise to opportunities for corruption – the higher the value of the goods or persons passing the border, the more intense the pressure on officials. In fact, since cocaine is now being smuggled into the United States via Mexico, rather than via the previous Caribbean route, arrests of US border law enforcement personnel show a sharp increase (Mendoza and Sherman 2009).

The distortional role of corruption is first and foremost the improper influence on the State's allocative role; second, it is improper use of the State's distributive role with a resultant loss of the State's stabilization role. It is on this background that Kaufmann (2000) proposes that corruption be seen not as a moral, but a technical matter as other macroeconomic or trade problems. Thereby, corruption becomes part of a larger set of government and administration problem areas often subsumed under the concept of good governance. Kaufmann's view exemplifies and confirms that we are, indeed, traversing the third of Foucault's ages, the security apparatus, a positivist process, wherein not the crime in itself, not the associated public opprobrium, but a realistic evaluation of the extent of the phenomenon and of potential interdiction costs, is considered.

From a simplified economic point of view, following Becker's logic of criminal economy, corruption is a rational calculation of revenue optimization. Both participants compare possible gains (rent for corrupted, advantages for the corrupter) against possible losses (expenses for the corrupter and possible detection and sanctions for both). Strict enforcement of anti-corruption measures would, in this scenario, lead to equilibria of diminishing return to the corrupter, who would need to offer more and more for less and less.

One of the scholars in the field, Jean Cartier-Bresson, refuses this model in particular because information inequality between the parties renders utility maximization analysis inefficient. Also, the economic model presupposes that all corrupt transactions are financial, which they are not. Instead, he concludes that “corruption must be seen as complex social exchanges organized in networks” (Cartier-Bresson 1995:24–7). In fact, the most harmful corruption transactions are very possibly not only non-financial but they do not provide immediate satisfaction to the corrupted. Rather, corruption networks can be considered a futures market in corruption. For example, both in the United States and in Western Europe, the revolving door practice is rapidly developing, whereby officials, typically upon retirement, find employment in private industry in the same sector, in which they served as officials, for example military officers in defense and health sector regulators in the pharmaceutical industry. Since in these cases, there is no immediate exchange, a clearing house is needed, an institution that is provided by the network. The clearing house has two major functions, namely clearing of services rendered and conflict resolution; only a delicately tuned and trusted network can allow for multiple relationships in time and space and thereby perform these two functions.

International Organizations and Corruption

Since international commerce has developed remarkably since the Second World War, it is not surprising that international corruption has followed closely. Countries have therefore enacted legislation to curb corruption on a national level and some jurisdictions have given extraterritorial power to such legislation. Likewise, anti-corruption provisions have been the subject of international conventions and, once ratified, transformed into national law. Thus the United States enacted the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd–1, et seq.) in 1977, which was followed, somewhat belatedly in the opinion of many scholars and practitioners, by international anti-corruption measures, see below.

Interpol (see online resources) reports that experts estimate yearly payments of bribes alone to be more than $1 trillion dollars (World Bank Institute). This figure, calculated using 2001–2 economic data, compares with an estimated size of the world economy at that time of just over $30 trillion. Statistics on corruption are very approximate, since the corrupt acts are secret, but corruption is thought to play a growing role in the economy and has therefore become prominent on the international agenda.

Also, while recognizing that reliable data are not available, Interpol estimates the proceeds of corruption transferred out of developing jurisdictions at between $20 billion to $40 billion a year. The return of such assets requires intensive and often highly delicate cooperation, to facilitate which the World Bank and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime have created a Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative; Interpol lends its expertise and its secure data-processing systems to this initiative. Likewise, ICPO-Interpol and UNODC have created the first anti-corruption academy in the world, The International Anti-Corruption Academy, in Austria, which will receive its first students in the fall of 2009.

International organizations have attempted to provide much needed coordination in defining corruption and in identifying control mechanisms. They have therefore elaborated a number of international instruments, which, when implemented in member countries, will create a certain level of uniformity and render international judicial cooperation easier. As with other conventions of this nature, implementation, however, is not efficient without enforcement.

Embarrassingly, the same international organizations have had to deal with highly publicized, albeit perhaps not widespread corruption problems in their midst. Thus the total Commission of the European Communities resigned in March 1999 in a corruption (called “cronyism”) and expense fraud scandal, as did the President of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, in June 2007. Perhaps more worryingly, UN peacekeepers have been subjects of very serious allegations, including corruption, and the UNHCR office in Nairobi, Kenya, according to the UN set up a corruption ring, which from 1997 to 2002 generated millions of dollars in corruption payments (UN A/56/733 of January 2002; Remy 2002).

International organizations are faced with two major tasks in the anti-corruption area: the establishment of international legal instruments that identify and criminalize corruption and create adequate countermeasures and the provision of international judicial cooperation in identifying, seizing, and repatriating assets obtained by corruption in one country and deposited in another. The results have been mixed, which admittedly is true for all international law enforcement and judicial cooperation and not specific to anti-corruption measures.

The United States played a pivotal role in developing international anti-corruption instruments. The 1977 United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (cf. above) with wide extraterritorial reach has – notwithstanding subsequent international conventions – remained extremely efficient, partly because of strict enforcement of the Act and, partly, because the violator, i.e., a natural or legal person, typically has its main seat of business, and thus attachable assets, in the United States. The unilateral US initiative to criminalize bribery grew into a much larger multinational movement leading to the 1997 OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, which entered into force in 1999. Andreas and Nadelmann (2006:55) note that in particular in the 1990s, US State Department officials, on a bilateral and multilateral level, pushed the US anti-corruption agenda. In fact, by the year 2000, “the anti-corruption norm was globally recognized” (McCoy and Heckel 2001:83). The 1997 OECD convention had by March 2009 been signed, ratified, and implemented by 38 states. The convention incorporates a two-layers expert inspection regime, the first phase of which examines how the implementation of legislation is monitored, the second the correct use of the legislation.

The 2003 United Nations Convention against Corruption established a global anti-corruption regime. It entered into force in 2005 and has, by July 1, 2009, been ratified, acceded or accepted by 136 and signed by 140 states. The convention offers:

  1. (i) a comprehensive set of standards, measures, and rules that can strengthen countries’ legal and regulatory regimes to present and control corruption;

  2. (ii) measures of public procurement;

  3. (iii) enhanced accounting and auditing standards, and,

  4. (iv) provisions for asset recovery.

Since transnational organized crime is conducive to corruption, the then UN Secretary General, Kofi A. Annan, noted, “The new Convention is a remarkable achievement, and it complements another landmark instrument, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime” (Annan 2004:iii).

Apart from the 1997 OECD and the 2003 UN anti-corruption conventions, corruption in most jurisdictions is a predicate offence for money laundering; in the United States, for example, since the enactment of the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001. Therefore, in most cases, international cooperation in transborder corruption cases can also be based on the wide-ranging anti-money laundering provisions.

The ultimate test of international instruments does not reside in the ratification and national implementation of legislation, but in enforcement. The latter is to a high degree the remit of individual governments and it is therefore not surprising that enforcement is unevenly applied, in particular when government interests are involved, for example in the form of corruption by a nationalized corporation.

The European Union has made important progress in streamlining and alleviating provisions for cooperation and exchange of information between its Member States in criminal cases. Nevertheless, the Union's legislative anti-corruption efforts have not been without difficulties. Thus in 1995, the EU Commission proposed an anti-corruption convention, accompanied by three protocols, the instruments collectively being known as the PFI Instruments (Protection of EU's Financial Interests), destined to safeguard the financial interests of the Community. By February 2008, more than a decade after the signature of the PFI Instruments, a number of countries had still not signed any of the PFI Instruments.

These instruments are concerned with the financial interests of the Community. The more general provisions concerning corruption are contained in Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA on combating corruption in the private sector (OJ L 192 of July 31, 2003). This Framework Decision obliges Member States to impose criminal sanctions for corruption in the private sector, and it includes natural as well as legal persons. Also, Member States should promote provisions temporarily interdicting natural persons sentenced under these provisions to engage in business transaction. Legal persons, on the other hand, are held responsible for corruption offenses, if such offenses are committed for their benefit by any natural person acting individually or who has a leading position within a legal person, namely (i) a power of representation of the legal person; (ii) an authority to take decisions on behalf of the legal person; or, (iii) an authority to exercise control within the legal person. Finally, the Framework Decision also stipulates that a Member State has jurisdiction, in accordance with these provisions, if the offence has been committed within its territory, by one of its nationals, or for the benefit of a legal person that has its head office in the territory of that Member State.

At the annual meetings of the G8, heads of state or government have dealt with anti-corruption measures, in particular at the 2003 Evian Meeting and the 2004 Sea Island Meeting. The main G8 contribution was the Evian Meeting declaration. The ministers used as a basis their 2002 Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development and reaffirmed that they see transparency as the main vehicle to inhibit corruption and promote good governance. They expressed their determination to achieve the goal by six major steps. First, by improving public financial management and accountability (PFMA). Second, by strengthening the enforcement of anti-bribery laws in particular by emphasizing the peer review process of the OECD Convention of Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials. Third, by actively contributing to the completion of a UN Convention against Corruption. Four, by reaffirming their commitment to fight financial abuses, including the implementation of UN and FATF recommendations. Fifth, by recognizing the importance of transparency in procurement procedures. Finally, by working with extraction industries, on a voluntary basis, to create an “intensified approach to transparency” (the Extraction Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI). The 2004 Sea Island Meeting further elaborated these decisions and promoted the commitment to deny safe haven to public officials guilty of corruption by denying them entry. The 2006 St Petersburg Meeting concentrated on “high-level corruption,” i.e., corruption by “individuals who hold senior executive, judicial, and legislative positions.” The G8 emphasize the enhanced due diligence requirements with regard to “politically exposed persons.”

The term corruption comprises a series of overlapping phenomena; the most tragic of these is kleptocracy. “Kleptocracy is corruption of high-level public officials, who use their positions systematically to line their pockets directly or indirectly with funds from the public purse” (Reuter and Truman, 2004:149). Although kleptocrats have emerged on all continents from Haiti and the Philippines to Peru and Serbia, they have been and are most common on the African continent – with devastating consequences. Thus, Boyce and Ndikumana (2001) show that

Much of Africa's ill-gotten wealth is now stashed abroad. In a study of 30 sub-Saharan African countries, we estimate that total capital flight for the period 1970–1996 amounted to $187 billion. Adding imputed interest earnings, the stock of Africa's capital flight stood at $274 billion – a sum equivalent to 145% of the debts owed by those countries.

In other words, sub-Saharan Africa is a creditor, not a debtor, if one establishes the ratio between assets exported and held outside of the continent and total debt. The problem, as the authors euphemistically note, is that while the assets are private, the debt is public.

The 2003 UN Convention against Corruption contains a chapter (chapter V, articles 51–9) on asset recovery, including a provision (Art. 55(6)) which empowers state parties to use the convention as a treaty to allow seizure with a view to confiscation. Likewise, Article 54(1)(a) encourages parties to the convention to “Take such measures as may be necessary to permit its competent authorities to give effect to an order of confiscation issued by a court of another State Party.” Although it is difficult to evaluate the efficacy of the efforts, on multi- and bilateral level, of the asset recovery efforts, the inclusion, in a widely ratified UN convention of these provisions, if nothing else, can be seen as a harbinger. The difficulties in the smooth execution of asset recovery are clear, though. An example is provided by the tracing of the assets of Abacha, a Nigerian kleptocrat. The UK Financial Assets Authority estimated that approximately $1.8 billion of Abacha funds may have been processed in London between 1996 and 2000. In late 2003, however, they declared that they had abandoned the search for these assets. It is not known if the British authorities made this decision because the Nigerian authorities were incapable of or unwilling to provide necessary actionable information, or if the return of funds was seen as pointless, since they would be stolen again (Reuter and Truman, 2004:154.)

Organized Crime as Peace Spoiler

Only relatively recently have international organizations and broader scholarship realized the sometimes exceedingly detrimental role played by organized crime in postbellum situations. In fact, organized crime activities in fragile, conflict-ridden societies may constitute one of the most potent obstacles to the peacemaking and peacekeeping activities of international peacekeepers. The UN Report A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility (2004) singles out organized crime as one of the major threats to international stability. One example, but by no means unique, is provided by Bosnia, where the Dayton Accords, which presumed the gradual creation of a central authority, were believed to have been undermined by symbiotic linkages between the major nationalist parties and organized crime groups (United States General Accounting Office 2000:12; Williams and Baudin-O'Hayon 2002:134).

The importance of organized crime in post-conflict situations is presumably due to a host of different reasons, which furthermore will be highly differentiated by geographical, geopolitical, and cultural circumstances. Nevertheless, it might be reasonable to identify at least two issues that play major roles, namely the opaqueness of identity in such situations and the often criminogenic nature of the very presence of peacekeeping forces. Sub-state war brings absolute misery to most, but riches and power to a few. The latter are often charismatic individuals, whose identity is made up by a series of fully integrated components, for example insurgent, organized criminal, political leader, and clan-member, all exercised concurrently (Sen 2006:23–8). They need to provide for members of the clan, from which they originate, but, more importantly, they have to prepare for a future in political power by building up – and therefore nourishing – their “entourage.”

Apart from the opportunities that are almost inevitably offered to organized crime in fragile, war-shattered regions or countries, also the presence of peacekeeping forces may be criminogenic in two ways. On the one hand, peacekeeping forces may engage in criminal activity themselves (smuggling, illicit currency transaction, the establishment of brothels), while, on the other, as customers they may provide an impetus to organized crime for smuggled goods, for arts and crafts stolen from museums and places of worship, or for prostitutes.

Conclusion and Further Research

As demonstrated, above, various countermeasures have been undertaken, on an international level, both within the ambit of the United Nations and by intergovernmental organizations, such as Interpol, and regional institutions, for instance Europol. Such developments, however, come at a price, in particular the already observable militarization of law enforcement and the gradual disappearance of the formal or informal demarcation between internal and external security. The danger inherent in this evolution is an already clearly observable diminution of civil rights. A majority of citizens presumably are willing to forego some civil rights in order to create a safer society, including a sustainable environment, but only if such measures are seen to be effective. A major, but under-harvested field of academic research therefore is the constant cost and civil rights evaluation of law enforcement measures, keeping in mind that these are part of a zero-sum equation; funds disbursed to inefficient law enforcement measures mean that other areas will be underfunded. The latter will more often than not involve crimes, in which the victims have no or little voice, such as those involving children and the elderly.

Second, academic research should attempt to identify the criminal matrix of the near and medium-term future, i.e., delinquent and delinquency typologies. A number of relatively simple parameters, such as demography and age-distribution, yield a first glance into the future: counterfeit, cutting-edge pharmaceuticals and organs from willing and unwilling donors will undoubtedly be of import. Furthermore, recent research (Wyatt 2009) shows a clear differentiation in offender profiles, where a smuggled commodity is also subject of a legitimate trade. In such cases, the illegal trade is often carried out by the same persons, who are already involved in the legal trade, since they create smuggling channels along already existing legitimate structures. Wyatt concentrates on the illegal fur trade, but one could adduce tobacco smuggling as an illustrative consolidation of her findings.

Third, a new fashion is “intelligence-led policing.” An unexploited academic subject, in particular on an international level, is not only to evaluate this type of law enforcement, but, more importantly, to identify and evaluate the types of intelligence treatment most efficient to the international enforcement environment.

Fourth, some countries have over the last couple of decades introduced a kind of conditionality by making aid and cooperation dependent on law enforcement adoption of foreign imposed targets and techniques, by the recipient. This type of intermingling of foreign policy and extraterritorial law enforcement could distort the former without bringing any benefit to the latter. Academia should evaluate the impact of this conditionality on the overall foreign policy of donor countries.


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                                                                                                  Ziegler, J. (1998) Les seigneurs du crime. Les nouvelles mafias contre la démocratie [Crime Lords: The New Mafia against Democracy]. Paris: Seuil.Find this resource:

                                                                                                    Council of Europe. At, accessed Aug. 29, 2010. A very informative website with a daily news front page and, among many others, a useful section on public international law.

                                                                                                    Credit card fraud. At;


                                                                                          , accessed Aug. 29, 2010. All three are of interest concerning credit card fraud and provide extensive statistical material.

                                                                                                    Egmont Group. At, accessed Aug. 29, 2010: The Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units. Some useful material.

                                                                                                    Europol. At, accessed Aug. 29, 2010. See a section called “Publications” which contains a number of interesting downloadable documents in PDF format.

                                                                                                    ICPO-Interpol. At, accessed Aug. 29, 2010. An excellent website that provides information about the institution, structure, and members’ countries. Furthermore, there are pages on a series of important crimes such as drugs, trafficking in human beings, corruption, etc., with links to relevant sites offered by other organizations, as well as a highly interesting “news” section.

                                                                                                    McNabb Associates. At, accessed Aug. 29, 2010. A useful listing of US bilateral extradition treaties.

                                                                                                    Transparency International. At, accessed Aug. 29, 2010. Transparency International is a non-governmental organization in Berlin, Germany, which publishes statistics based on individuals’ perception of levels of corruption as well as country analyses

                                                                                                    UNODC. At, accessed Aug. 29, 2010. A very useful website that includes a full dataset of drug seizures, but also extensive pages dealing with organized crime, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, and money laundering. For the subject matter covered in this essay, this and the ICPO-Interpol site are definitely the most helpful.


                                                                                                    First and foremost, I would like to thank the president of ISA, Professor Thomas G. Weiss, and the committee chairs, Kendall W. Stiles and Melissa Labonte for having invited me to write this essay. Second, my appreciation – as always – goes to Professor Arthur Gibson for his generous help in many areas.