Transnational Organised Crime: Perspectives on Global Security

By Adam Edwards; Peter Gill | Go to book overview

11

The legal regulation of transnational organised crime

Opportunities and limitations

Estella Baker


Introduction

One of the rudimentary propositions that is communicated at an early stage in the career of every aspiring criminologist is that the concept of 'crime' has no objective reality, but is an artificial construct of the criminal law. Implicitly, therefore, when the term 'transnational organised crime' is used, it conveys the message that a policy decision has been taken that the forms of behaviour that it embraces should be the subject of this type of legal regulation. However, it is not an implication that it is safe to draw because, distinct from any technical legal definition, the term also has a colloquial meaning which relies on everyday understanding. Rather like the proverbial joke about the elephant and the pillar-box, we may not be able to define what we mean by transnational organised crime, 'but we recognise it when we see it'. It will be one of the principal arguments of this chapter, however, that the veneer of confidence which this appeal to common sense creates is potentially very unhelpful because it disguises the reality that the phenomenon of transnational organised crime poses considerable challenges for criminal law regulation. At first base, it is very unclear that everything to which the label is applied is in fact criminal, or that it should be. Consequently, the term is used in its colloquial sense throughout this chapter unless specifically stated otherwise. But even where there is a case for criminalisation in principle, questions arise as to which exact aspects of the behaviour involved should be the targets of offences. Moreover, these theoretical issues are not the only ones that are relevant. Separate from them, but having a significant practical bearing on their resolution, is a different type of difficulty from which the chapter's second line of argument will be developed.

Although not habitually described as such, law is a form of intellectual technology and, like all technologies, it has its shortcomings. Consequently, for all that policy-makers might desire to outlaw particular activities or forms of conduct that fall within the bracket of transnational organised crime, the practical reality is that the traditional framework according to which the criminal law operates makes it a less than ideal

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Transnational Organised Crime: Perspectives on Global Security
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures x
  • Tables xi
  • Acknowledgements xiv
  • Introduction 1
  • References 6
  • Part I - Origins of the Concept 7
  • References 11
  • 1 - Transnational Organised Crime 13
  • 2 - Europe's Response to Transnational Organised Crime 28
  • Notes 39
  • References 40
  • 3 - Global Law Enforcement as a Protection Racket 42
  • Note 55
  • References 56
  • Part II - Measurements and Interpretations 59
  • References 64
  • 4 - Measuring Transnational Organised Crime 65
  • Note 77
  • 5 - Classify, Report and Measure 78
  • References 95
  • 6 - The Network Paradigm Applied to Criminal Organisations 97
  • References 113
  • 7 - Transnational Organised Crime 114
  • Notes 125
  • Part III - Case Studies 127
  • 8 - Bad Boys in the Baltics 131
  • Notes 141
  • 9 - Controlling Drug Trafficking in Central Europe 143
  • Note 154
  • 10 - Recognising Organised Crime's Victims 157
  • Notes 171
  • Part IV - Current and Prospective Responses 175
  • References 181
  • 11 - The Legal Regulation of Transnational Organised Crime 183
  • References 193
  • 12 - Countering the Chameleon Threat of Dirty Money 195
  • Notes 209
  • 13 - Criminal Asset-Stripping 212
  • 14 - Proteiform Criminalities 227
  • Notes 239
  • References 240
  • 15 - Organised Crime and the Conjunction of Criminal Opportunity Framework 241
  • References 262
  • 16 - After Transnational Organised Crime? 264
  • Note 279
  • Index 282
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