Thinking locally but acting globally could well be the motto for a successful campaign against transnational criminal groups.
Light is being shed on the deepest secrets of the world’s major criminal organisations.
Dr Andreas Schloenhardt from UQ’s TC Beirne School of Law is the chief investigator in a team of researchers looking at international criminal law and how the United Nations (UN) and others are fighting transnational organised crime. Working in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Criminology in Canberra, the project will also attempt to unravel the mysteries of transnational organised crime, discovering how and why criminal organisations develop and thrive.
Modern day transnational organised crime groups operate in many areas including piracy; trafficking in people, art, antiques, fauna and flora, child pornography and obscene publications; and arms and drug smuggling.
Dr Schloenhardt said preliminary investigations pointed to a need to encourage international cooperation in the criminal justice field in both criminal law and law enforcement.
This could include expanding the mandate of an international criminal court and the strengthening of the emerging area of international criminal law.
Dr Schloenhardt, a lecturer in criminal law and immigration and refugee law, said transnational organised crime was difficult to combat and needed a concerted effort by the international community.
“These are crimes that cross borders,” he said. “This means that one nation cannot do a great deal on its own, and it is easy for these organisations to evade law enforcement measures by entering a country that is lax on security.
“The immediate answer is that there has to be a cooperative and international approach to fighting this problem and most of this work is being done by the UN.”
Dr Schloenhardt said although Australia was considered a marginal player in the world of organised crime, recent incidents of migrant smuggling and drug trafficking in the Asia-Pacific region had put the issue on the agenda.
“Transnational organised crime in all its forms is a part of everyday life,” Dr Schloenhardt said.
“We have seen crimes such as people smuggling making daily headlines.”
The researchers are collaborating with government agencies and international organisations such as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna and Bangkok, the Australian Federal Police and the National Institute of Justice in Washington.
UQ New Staff Research Start-Up Grant
Dr Andreas Schloenhardt www.uq.edu.au/uqresearchers/researcher/schloenhardta.html
Rob McCusker (Australian Institute of Criminology)