New UNODC crime-fighting tool turns lessons of the past into policies for the future

Digest of accumulated knowledge on transnational crime focuses on criminal organizations and highlights the need to deprive them of their illegal profits

Digest of Organized Crime. Photo: UNODC16 October 2012 - UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov today announced the launch of a new tool in the fight against organized crime.  The announcement was made at an event attended by the Minister of the Interior of Italy and other distinguished guests. The Digest of Organized Crime is based on an analysis of more than 200 cases and the accumulated knowledge of over 50 experts. It will ultimately allow policymakers from around the world to understand the experiences of crime fighters and to incorporate these experiences into their own strategies against criminals and criminal networks.

Speaking at the launch, the UNODC Executive Director acknowledged the need for such a tool, given the vast diversity of crime. "Organized crime groups engage in many different criminal activities and markets. Drug trafficking is one prominent example; others include trafficking in persons and cultural property, extortion, cybercrime and piracy," he said.  The Digest illustrates the challenges and opportunities that confront law enforcement and the judiciary when dealing with organized crime. To develop the Digest, UNODC has worked with the Governments of Colombia and Italy, as well as the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).

The Minister for the Interior of Italy, Anna Maria Cancellieri, noted that "The digest is proposed as a practical tool of cases and techniques in the countries party to the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime". Brigadier General Jose Angel Mendoza Guzman of the Colombian National Police added that "Crime is interlinked, complex, asymmetrical, and the management of knowledge is a tactic in the fight against this challenge".

Mr. Fedotov said that the lessons that could be learned from the Digest were strikingly simple: "To effectively combat organized crime, countries must dismantle the criminal organization as a whole, bring the ringleaders to justice, deprive them of their illegal profits and prevent them from laundering money." The Assistant Director of the Specialized Crime and Analysis Unit of INTERPOL, Gianni Baldi, said that his own organization was "pleased to take part with UNODC, Italy and Colombia to finalize the Digest".

The launch of the Digest took place on the margins of the sixth session of Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which brings together more than 800 people, including representatives of Member States and civil society, to discuss organized crime. "The cases in the Digest offer abundant information," noted Gioacchino Polimeni, the main drafter of the report. "They show, inter alia, that we need to expand criminal investigation to cover the entire structure in criminal conduct of organized groups or networks, not just some of the offences they have committed."

A new global awareness-raising campaign emphasizing the size and cost of transnational organized crime was launched by UNODC earlier this year. To view the video go to: