Transnational Crime, Serious International Crimes & International Cooperation

Transnational crimes such as organized crime, corruption and terrorism pose challenges to states and the safety and security of their citizens.  Genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity continue to affect particular regions of the world.  To address these as well as new and emerging crimes, states, organizations and individuals tackling criminal justice issues must work together to address legal and other barriers to cooperation in preventing, investigating and prosecuting these forms of transnational and serious international crime.  

Transnational Crime

As crime goes beyond national borders, states are facing the challenges of  transnational crime – from organized crime, drug trafficking and money laundering to human trafficking, terrorism, identity-related crime, cybercrime, and forms of environmental crime that target the natural resources of a state.  

In addition to the international criminal justice standards and norms, the legal framework supporting legal responses to transnational crime includes the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988, the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols on trafficking in persons, migrant smuggling, and the illicit manufacture and trafficking of firearms, the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and various anti-terrorism treaties and related Security Council resolutions.  Among the issues they address are requirements that states criminalize certain conduct, the use of various investigative techniques, measures dealing with the proceeds of crime, protections for witnesses and victims and preventive measures.   

International Crimes 

The tragedies in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda tested the international community’s ability to respond to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Ad hoc tribunals were formed to hold accountable those persons most responsible for, these crimes. Other hybrid or internationalized tribunals like the Special Court of Sierra Leone and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon followed.  Since the conclusion of the Rome Statute, the International Criminal Court provides a permanent international court to try these offences. The ICC principle of complementarity focuses renewed attention on the capacity of states themselves to prosecute international crimes nationally. 

International Cooperation

Investigations and prosecutions of transnational crimes and serious international crimes depend on mechanisms of international cooperation – particularly mutual legal assistance and extradition between states and at the regional and international level.  Since its establishment, ICCLR has worked to improve the means by which states utilize international cooperation mechanisms when investigating and prosecuting crime.

ICCLR’s Role

ICCLR provides expert assistance, analysis and advice to governmental policy makers, criminal justice actors and members of civil society locally, nationally and internationally, on matters relating to transnational crime, serious international crimes and international cooperation.  

Examples of ICCLR’s work:

ICCLR develops practical tools for states, particularly criminal justice agencies   The manual,Responding to Victims of Identity Crime: A Manual for Law Enforcement Agents, Prosecutors and Policy Makers, provides practical steps for criminal justice professionals who deal with victims of identity crime.  In the area of human trafficking,  ICCLR’s activities included developing a reference guide for Canadian law enforcement on Human Trafficking (2005)and facilitating national and international expert group meetings on the effective prevention of human trafficking and to identify possible elements of a human trafficking prevention framework for Canada

ICCLR conducts comparative analyses of criminal justice systems to identify best practices, develop policy options and assist criminal justice reform and technical assistance efforts.  For example, ICCLR assisted police and prosecutors in China with research, analysis and best practices on implementing international treaties and norms relating to organized crime, corruption and cyber-crime.  A paper, Municipal ‘Best Practices’: Preventing Fraud, Bribery and Corruption, aims to assist local governments in combatting these crimes. 

ICCLR assists states to ensure effective implementation of international treaties dealing with transnational crimes and serious international crimes. Legislative guides to international treaties such as the UN Transnational Organized Crime Convention are available as are a series of manuals to assist states implementing the Rome Statute and the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the ICC