Prof. Dr. Cyrille J.C.F. Fijnaut
Not only the concept but also the reality of organized crime and organized crime control is for all sorts of reasons rather complicated and as a consequence of this quite often the subject of academic and political controversies. Nevertheless may be stated that from an analytical point of view two main forms of organized crime can be distinguished: illegal control on complete territories (Southern Italy, slums in Rio de Janeiro) or in any case legitimate markets (waste disposal, food markets, transportation) on the one hand and the production and delivery of (illegal) men, goods and services on black and white markets (illegal drugs, traffic in (wo)men or small arms, illegal gambling et cetera). Despite all the differences between these forms of organized crime they also have some important common characteristics: violence and secrecy always play a very important, in the end decisive, role; organized crime activities are always heavily embedded in societies; the weaker states are, the more power organized crime groupings can build up; and organized crime is predominantly a local phenomenon. This means that the containment of organized crime first and foremost asks for strong administrative, police, judicial and tax authorities at the local and national level, which dispose of proactive, intrusive and sometimes far-reaching powers. To the extent that organized crime is a transnational phenomenon (transportation, communication and money) bodies like Interpol, Europol and Eurojust, as well as mechanisms like liaison officers are very important to support cross-border police cooperation and mutual legal assistance.
This lecture deals with the relation of perception and reality of organized crime in Germany and the USA. The term ‘organized crime’ was coined in the USA and later introduced into the criminal-political discussions in Germany. It blends different parts of social reality, without taking into account any existing correlations or interaction between them. In particular, it is about criminal activities, criminals’ structures and power constellations within criminal milieus, as well as the correlation between illegal and legal structures. In this regard, there are parallels but also fundamental differences between the USA and Germany.
Organized crime today inflicts serious harm on Russia’s economic and political development. Whereas the old Soviet Union provided fertile ground for the growth of organized crime, the demise of the USSR in 1991 has seemingly provided even more opportunities for the growth and expansion of organized criminal networks. These latter day Russian groups are even more sophisticated than their predecessors. They have extended their spheres of influence worldwide. Russian crime groups in Europe and the United States are involved in a host of criminal enterprises that are causing a significant degree of harm. In this discussion I will do several things. The first is to define some necessary terms related to understanding just what is organized crime. Next, I will provide a brief historical account of Russian organized crime (ROC) -- a history that lays the foundation for the current organized crime situation in Russia and elsewhere. I will then describe the contemporary situation with respect to Russian organized crime. And finally, I will discuss some of the methods used to combat organized criminal networks, including Russian, and make a few policy recommendations.
Tian Di Hui (literally ‘The Society of Heaven and Earth’), the root of Triad Society, is generally accepted as having been established in the 17th century in China with the vowed purpose of overthrowing the Qing Dynasty, ruled by Manchus ethnicity and restoring the Ming Dynasty or ruling by Hans. As the Tian Di Hui spread through different parts of China, it branched off into many groups with many names, one of which was Triads, literally ‘Three Harmonies Society’, referring to the unity between Heaven, Earth and Man. To escape the retribution of the Qing, many society members went aboard where they remained true to the Societies and set up new lodges for the freeing of China.
As time progressed the original objects of the movement were lost sight of and the main body disintegrated into a large number of separate societies all claiming relationship with the Triad family. They started to attract large numbers of criminals and undesirables becoming the prime movers of organized crime and vice.
Now it is not unusual for different triad groups to work together where there is an opportunity to make money. However, it is important to understand that there is no international triad network or centralized control over cross-border triad activities. Triad membership may be seen as a 'lubricant' that facilitates personal contacts and co-operation between different triad individuals or groups.
Presently, organized crime is the ghost that haunts Europe. Drug and people trafficking is the obvious manifestation of this threat, accompanied by a high rate of violent crime. Other dangers are more covert and less visible, like financial transactions, money laundering and corruption. In our times of globalization, it is obvious that an illegal economy is arising in the shadows of the legal one, which is symbiotically, or at least complementary, connected to it.
How serious is the threat? And to what extent are dangers to Western democracies to be expected? Are countries that are undergoing a process of democratization possibly more affected? Can organized crime impede or even stall this process and destabilize the new and still weak institutional regimes? With this lecture I would like to contribute to a realistic evaluation of the threat that organized crime poses to democracies.
The recent scandal surrounding MPs’ expenses in the UK raises significant questions both about how to define corruption as a criminal phenomenon and about how to prevent it. First, with regard to definitions, the scandal suggests that public perceptions have a central role: most of the behaviour that has come to light in recent days would not be regarded as ‘corrupt’ on the basis of the most widely used academic or legal definitions of that term; but it is corrupt according to the public, and who is to say that the public is wrong? Moreover, corruption is widely thought to have a number of ill effects including undermining public confidence in the democratic process and so forth. But for this to happen it is not necessary – as the scandal again reveals – for corruption to be a problem in some objective sense: it is enough that sufficiently large numbers of the public – with whatever justification – perceive it to be so. With regard to issues of prevention, the scandal has given rise to extensive discussion of rules. Rule changes, on their own, can do little to stem misconduct – but they do affect people’s expectations. In seeking to stem public anxieties, therefore, they may, paradoxically, actually help to keep such anxieties alive. And if corruption must be defined in terms of public perceptions, there is a very real sense in which rules change may enhance rather than diminish the significance of corruption as a social phenomenon. With these reflections in mind, the paper will seek to answer two questions: What does the expenses scandal tell us about how to define corruption and about the kinds of behaviour that belong to this category? What does the scandal tell us about the best approach to tackling corruption and its negative impacts?
This lecture illustrates the cash flow of organized crime and terrorism. First of all we will attempt to estimate organized crime’s business volume in 20 OECD countries. The turnover of these 20 countries was 270 billion US dollars in 1995, which increased to 614 billion US dollars in 2006. Furthermore, I will give you an overview of the numbers available on the global dimension of the activities of organized crime. We will also examine the cash flow of Islamist terror organizations and the impact of acts of terrorism on the economies of advanced OECD countries.
The trafficking of women as “products” from East to West Europe as well as their sexual exploitation in West Europe are persistent European problems. Germany plays a significant role in this core offence of organized crime: it is a popular and important destination of the trafficking in women. From the prostitution and people trafficking rings’ view, the conditions are downright ideal – trafficking in women is often combated only half-heartedly, with inapt means or little efficiency. For example, legal provisions partly favour offenders and disadvantage victims, which impedes an appropriate persecution of offenders. The lecture explains causes and conditions of women trafficking, and it provides insights into the structures and practices of recruiting in the recruitment countries (Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, etc.), people smuggling and exploitation in Germany. We will also take a closer look at the conditions for women forced to prostitution.
Recent studies on the role of women within the mafia criminal organizations in Italy have clearly shown that, over time, not only was there a change in female roles, but especially the women’s visibility has changed. In the last two decades, in fact, the criminal organization, weakened by the many arrests, has increasingly entrusted women with the responsibility to preserve, affirm and reflect its image of power to the outside. In times of emergency for the criminal organization, women are considered the most reliable interlocutors. They have been assigned tasks of decisive importance for the organization’s survival. These roles often haven’t been recognized – by the men and by the public opinion – as forms of direct power. The speech is focused on analysing the role of female figures in the mafia criminal organizations. Further, the dialectic of visibility and invisibility, appearance and reality, as well as the forms of materialization of women’s power will be argued. Using direct evidence, interviews, letters and judicial materials, we will attempt to reconstruct the story and the image of the Mafia conveyed by the women who live inside it or who have direct contact with it. The gender perspective emerges from these women’s stories both in the interconnection between personal stories and the mafia tales both in the use of the words and of the cognitive worlds in which their stories have meaning. A mafia told through the gender’s prism that – in the mirror image comparison with the men narratives – discovers routes and new perspectives to develop and to know new facets of a changing world.
In the Berlin Declaration, the European Union pledged to combat organized crime (OC). To be able to keep this promise, though, many different and challenging requirements need to be met. First of all, it is essential to establish a uniform definition of OC, on the one hand taking into account its complexity and on the other hand describing its concrete manifestations. The necessity of such a definition becomes especially apparent when looking at it from a basic-law perspective, since that is what state sanctions are based on. The lecture will give an overview of proposed solutions and procedures as well as of the challenges that come with them. Furthermore, we will discuss the traditional image of OC, which is insofar problematic as OC is often seen as a characteristic of economically underdeveloped societies. As a matter of fact, OC has spread in different forms to all kinds of political systems, and it encroaches upon the domains of civil, economic and political existence. Corrupt practices in globally operating corporations and various offences such as tax evasion and the like are patterns of behaviour that overlap with OC on a structural and functional level. The postulate that politics, state bureaucracy and structures of organized crime are clearly distinguishable is questioned. It is also important to become aware of the fact that the reason why the police often fail in efficiently combating OC is that in many countries OC represents the radical shape and form of economic, military and political power structures.