Study series at UNODC: Palermo on the Pacific Rim
Bangkok (Thailand), 31 August 2009 - The UNODC Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific today launched at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) the report
Palermo on the Pacific Rim: Organised Crime Offences in the Asia Pacific Region.
The report, prepared by Dr. Andreas Schloenhardt, Associate Professor at The University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law in Brisbane, is the first in a new Study Series being run by the UNODC Regional Centre in Bangkok which aims to shed light on contemporary academic research in the fields of crime and drugs. The report discusses and critically analyses the development and implementation of anti-organized crime laws in the Asia Pacific, examines the manner in which the Convention against Transnational Organised Crime - often called the Palermo Convention - has been adopted in the region, and reviews efforts by the international community to promote its wider implementation.
Citing transnational organized crime as a "strategic threat" to the region, Mr. Gary Lewis, UNODC Regional Representative for East Asia and the Pacific, drew attention to the evolution of transnational organized crime types in the region in recent years. He indicated that the four elements required for mounting an effective response were: "first, for leadership to acquire a sense of urgency in dealing with the problem; second, for technical capacity to be strengthened at the law enforcement and prosecutorial levels; third, for increased cross-border cooperation to reduce the tendency for crime control to remain trapped within borders; and fourth, for improved knowledge on the extent, trends and patterns of transnational organized crime." In conclusion, he said: "It takes a network to defeat a network."
In opening his presentation, Dr. Schloenhardt said: "Our work shows that if the fight against organised crime is indeed a war, then the organised crime laws have not been able to secure a victory. Their mission has not been accomplished."
While this study is not designed to develop model legislation or draft alternative frameworks to prevent and suppress organised crime, a number of key recommendations emerge from the analysis. These include: (1) the need to differentiate between different types and levels of involvement in a criminal group.; (2) the need to create offences that target the involvement of criminal organisations in already-existing substantive offences and (3) the need to improve the definition of 'criminal organisation' to reflect the unique characteristics of organised crime. He also pointed to the importance of the recognizing the significant impact and potential utility of the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime.
According to Dr. Schloenhardt, "Nonetheless, if designed carefully, organised crime offences can create one avenue to hold key directors, managers, and financiers of criminal organisations responsible. But they cannot be the only response."
The report can be downloaded