The problem of sovereignty is closely associated with the study of international relations and politics. In particular, the globalization process makes the issue even more critical as far as transnational organized crime is concerned.
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Considering organized crime beyond the state system inevitably leads to the discussion of the sovereignty crisis among modern states and growth of non-state actors, including groups, international organizations, associations, and movements.
These actors act beyond the influence of any national institution, but they have a potent political impact on their activities and represent common interest of the global society. In this respect, the problems of a national character are now requiring a global response from those organizations.
The influence of globalization and the increased number of transnational organizations can influence both positively and negatively the sovereignty of states. One the one hand, non-state actors can assist the nation state in effectively facing serious challenges and, as a result, the transnational organizations can be regarded as positive actors.
On the other hand, non-state actors can establish goals that are not congruent with those set at the national level. In this respect, such goals can constitute a serious threat to sovereignty. Organized crime can be a result of activities imposed by non-state movements. What is more threatening is that those groups are able to sophisticate their activities and methods to gain more benefits beyond the state borders.
While encountering the problem of organized crime, the state can have two alternatives. They can either fight with the outlaw actions or find a compromise in order not to lose. The decision largely depends on social, structural, and historical contexts.
In order to understand the impact of transnational organizations on the sovereignty of nations, it is purposeful to explore the major strategies used by state to fight with organized crimes, as well as to analyze how various transnational organizations influence sovereignty of nations.
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Sovereignty of Nations in Relation to Fighting Transnational Crime with Examples
The development of the international law imposes a number of biases concerning the sovereignty states. Specifically, countries are now searching for new regulations and laws protecting them from external impact and creating a kind of sovereignty immunity.
With the advent of globalization, many sovereignty nations have faced a number of serious transnational crimes, such as human and drug trafficking, terrorism, and smuggling leading to serious consequences1. With regard to this deplorable situation, the leading economies are now striving to work out specific protective strategies and effective defense lines2.
Hence, Australia along with countries has enacted statutes underscoring their comprehension of sovereignty supremacy. In particular, the introduction of the European Convention on State Immunity and Additional Protocol was an essential doctrine restricting the actions of the international institutions on the national territories3.
Though the Protocol has been insufficient to solve the problem, the Act of State Doctrine has become a legal principle allowing the modern states to prevent courts from making important decisions and enact specific laws against those countries if they are situation beyond the state boundary4.
Many other countries are also under the pressure of the growing rates of crimes and this problem concerns both developed and developing economies. In particular, the United States have also implemented a number of strategies enhancing the protection of their borderlines from illegal actions.
The state has encountered the serious problem of money laundering and, therefore, the two legislative approaches introduced have marked the fight against this serious transnational crime5. The strategies involve RICO and the Bank Secrecy Act of 1960. These anti-money laundry actions have contributed to preventing the translations crimes and have introduced new legislations within the nation state.
Similar problems exist in other countries including the countries of the Great Seven. In general, the modern international scene has created a number of challenges and, in order to handle those, the countries launched an in-depth analysis of the problem of money laundering along with the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)6. The Great Seven also worked out a number of recommendations and projects aimed at preventing and improving the situation of transnational organized crimes.
The European institutions have also introduced a great number of prevention measures directed at fighting against the external attacks. Specifically, the establishment of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLA) was aimed to compensate the inefficiency of fighting fraud initiated by the Community7.
In order to limit the access of the Community to financial resources, the office introduced new cases associated within the illegal activities. About 10 % of cases were primarily connected with fraud campaigns started by the Community.
In general, the currently discussed problems of sovereignty fail to take into consideration the historical context of the development of this phenomenon. In particular, a more careful examination of different forms of independence and sovereignty should not ignore the peculiarities and nuances of the contexts8. Consequently, external and external perspectives of sovereignty should also be carefully considered.
The UN As a Transnational Organization and Its Influence on the Sovereignty of States
Though many transnational organizations introduce reforms beyond the national boundaries, their actions are also directed at struggling with the organized crime. In this respect, the United Nations has also been involved into anti-organized crime campaign to protect human rights and national sovereignty issues.
To enlarge on this point, the organization maintains its activities in accordance with Article 1 in the UN Charter and Article 28 presented in the Declaration on Human Rights. Hence, according to the UN Charter, the organization is obliged to “… maintain international peace and security and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace…”9.
Article 28 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights stipulates, “Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized”10.
With regard to the above regulations, the activities initiated by the United Nations organization have had a positive impact on the national reforms and legislature because the primary emphasis is placed on the strict observance of human rights irrespective of boundaries and national regulations.
In addition to the above, the United Nations Organization has made a valuable contribution to the fight against transnational crimes, specifically those connected with trafficking. Their conventions have managed to handle the problem of easy transportations across the states. Much reforms and changes have been introduced since the establishment of Transnational Crime Convention 200311.
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The postulate pursues to establish the generally accepted rules and principles for controlling the crime control rates. The formulation of such concepts as “organized criminal group” was also been agreed during the Convention12.
In addition, the records also comprise specific requirements for investigating, preventing, and prosecuting the transnational crimes and offences. Finally, the Transnational Crime Convention contains important articles on mutual assistance aimed at involving international cooperation against transnational crimes.
In whole, the analysis of feasibility of international cooperation in the fight against transnational organized crime should be carefully considered because many countries consider the UN actions are those directed against their security and sovereignty.
Under these circumstances, there should a tangible distinction between forms and perceptions of sovereignty and the human rights. In other words, the country often resists cooperating with the United Nation in the fear infiltration of translational organized crime on their territory13.
Consequently, an accurate rationale for cooperation should be outlined in order to eliminate all possible biases. The content and purpose of cooperation and mutual assistance should be primarily based on the commonly established purposes of national legislations that would not contradict other nations’ interests. To be more exact, different forms of cooperation should be introduced to meet the requirements.
In fact, various forms and principles of cooperation, as proposed by the United Nations, can have positive outcomes for all sovereign states. The emphasis placed on cooperation can greatly contribute to the enhancement of an effective law environment and creation of a more vigorous legislative system.
The introduction of bilateral, regional, and global approaches can be effective in dealing with various forms and characters of transnational criminal groupings. Hence, the emergence of new forms of bilateral and multilateral cooperation has promoted greater understanding and mutual assistance among the sovereign states.
Europol as an international counterterrorism agent
The establishment of the European international police organization has been discussed since the 1980s when the fundamental differences between the aims of different states in their fight against the international crime have become obvious.14
However, the establishment itself took place only after considerable delay in 1992 and was included into the Maastricht Treaty because some of the European states were afraid of possible limitations of their sovereignty.
Initially, Europol’s main goal was to fight against the drug crimes, but later its remits were extended to dealing with the international crimes on a thematic basis which is listed in the Europol Convention dated to 1998.
According to its mission statement, Europol is defined as the law enforcement organization as a part of the European Union focusing on criminal intelligence.15 The main goal of Europol is to improve the effectiveness of cooperation between the Member States in their fight against the international crime. The most serious crimes which are included into the Europol’s mandate range from terrorism to illicit drug and human trafficking.16
As to the governance of this international organization, Europol’s Director and Deputy Directors are appointed by the Council of Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs. Europol cooperates with Interpol and other third parties, such as the states and organizations, exchanging the information according to the current cooperation agreements. Annual strategic reports are delivered for evaluating the crime threats and regulating the activities of Europol.
The mechanism of cooperation of the member states with Europol is based upon two important elements, namely Europol National Units (ENU) and the European Information System (EIS).17
In the aftermath of 9/11, the counterterrorist mandate of Europol was extended when a specialized division called Counter-Terrorist Task Force (CTTF) operating 24 hours was created for exchanging the information whenever, evaluating the hazards and developing strategies whenever it is necessary.18
Europol has the authority to ask the police of the member state to share the investigation results with the US FBI or other third parties. Despite this extended mandate, the member states lack trust to the Europol, questioning its role in preventing the international crimes.19
The examples from the past can be regarded as important preconditions of this situation. For instance, there is evidence that Europol was not significantly involved into the counterterrorism operations after the 3/11 events in Madrid as well as the situation when the EU officials received letter bombs.20
Therefore, Europol suffers from the so-called chicken-egg dilemma due to which some of the member states do not believe in Europol’s counter-terrorism role.21
Regardless of particular flaws within its structure and particular disagreements with the member states, Europol can significantly enhance the effectiveness of the counterterrorism operations by creating the standardized channels of the information exchange, capturing and disseminating the best counterterrorism practices.
The role of Interpol in fighting against the international crime
When the need of more intensified international criminal police cooperation arose in early 1900s, the problem was discussed at the international police conferences which took place between the years 1899 and 1914.
The first attempts to create an international formalized organization are dated back to 1902 and 1914 when during the meeting in Paris and Monte Carlo the participating states discussed the benefits of international cooperation for the white slavery suppression. However, the establishment of the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) is dated to 1923 meeting in Vienna.22
Responding to the environmental pressures, the Interpol underwent a number of organizational changes, preserving its competitive advantages in the course of time. For instance, the Interpol’s interference into the political areas expanded the list of the responsibilities of this international organization, but reduced its autonomy, but was an induced step in the context of the historical changes. 23
Therefore, regardless of the initial goals of its establishment, the environmental factors played an important role in shaping the organizational culture of the Interpol and its behaviors. The 9/11 events and the Interpol’s inability to prevent them facilitated further changes within its organizational structure.
Interpol has always been seen as a professional counterterrorist actor playing an important role in combating the international crime and terrorism. The three main goals pursues by the Interpol include design of the global police information exchange system, maintenance of criminal databases and proactive support of the police initiatives all over the world.24
These functions allow this international police organization to improve the effectiveness of the police operation in different countries through cross-border cooperation. Even though this organization is said to be underfunded, Interpol fulfills its functions on the highest levels.25 Interpol developed a number of successful counterterrorism projects, including the Fusion Project Kalkan and radiological Project Geiger as the best-known of them.
Additionally, the Interpol Weapons and Electronic Tracing System (IWETS) and Interpol Money Laundering Automated Search System demonstrate the benefits of the innovative technologies and globalization for fighting against the international crimes and terrorism.
Moreover, the profound databases of the criminals’ fingerprints, suspected terrorists, lost and stolen documents allow the Interpol to help police in member countries to prevent or combat crime and terrorism attacks.
Therefore, the tools and systems developed by the Interpol are invaluable for assisting the member countries in their fight against the international terrorism, but require the members’ awareness and active involvement into the counterterrorism operations.
The Conditions of Effective Cooperation with International Organizations
The counterterrorism strategies and operations developed by different international organizations and other counterterrorist actors should be viewed in the context of the increased terrorism risks. The international counterterrorism policing underwent significant changes after the events of 9/11, shifting the main emphasis towards the efficiency-driven strategies and depoliticized definition of terrorism.
Applying the theory of police bureaucratization, the recent changes and the enhanced involvement of the police institutions into the operations of the international organizations can be explained with the purposive-rational logic.26
In other words, the police institutions agreed to their formalized autonomy for the purpose of fighting against the world terrorism and understanding the urgent need for the international cooperation and its benefits for achieving the common goals and minimizing the risks. Three main conditions are extremely important for accomplishing this task.
The first of these conditions is ensuring the relative independence of the police institutions from the dictates and local government. This requirement is based upon the depoliticized definition of terrorism. Without this relative bureaucratic autonomy, the police institutions are deprived of opportunities to engage in international cooperation.
The second condition is creating the expert systems of knowledge and enhancing the understanding of the problem of the international terrorism in the local police agencies. These systems of knowledge should be shared by the police institutions inside of the country as well as with the international organizations whenever such a need arises.
The third condition is to enhance understanding of the police agencies that the international organizations are focused on the enforcement tasks and creating the conditions for the effective collaboration networks. The regular meetings and shared networks are intended to affirm the local police institutions as active partners of collaboration.
Therefore, the tools, strategies and projects developed by the international organizations, including those of the UN, Interpol and Europol can be effective for predicting, preventing or combating the international crimes and terrorism. However, the bureaucratic autonomy of the police institutions in the member states and their relative detachment from the local governments need to be ensured for getting the maximum from the international police cooperation.
The chicken-egg dilemma and the related problem of sovereignty of the state had a significant impact upon the relations between the international police organizations and police institutions of the member states. Protecting their rights for sovereignty, some states lack trust to the international organizations, denying value of their role as counterterrorism actors in solving the global problems of international terrorism.
For instance, the lack of trust from the member states is one of the most important problems faced by the Europol which has become a hindrance for exchanging the information on the highest levels. Though the lack of trust is traditionally explained with particular failures of the international organizations, the importance of uniting the efforts for struggling against the international crimes as the common enemy has become obvious.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 events in America, the importance of the international cooperation among the counterterrorist actors is understood by the majority of the states.
Relative autonomy of the state police agencies from the dictators and local governments is regarded as one of important conditions for the effective cooperation between the member states and the supranational organizations in the frames of their struggle against the international crimes and terrorism.
Barnett Michael, ‘Designing Police: Interpol and the Study of Change in International Organizations’ (2005) 49 International Studies Quarterly 593, 619.
Bures Oldrich ‘Europol’s Fledging Counterterrorism Role’ (2008) 20 Terrorism and Political Violence 498, 517.
Deflem Mathieu “International Police Cooperation against Terrorism: Interpol and Europol in Comparison” in Durmaz Huseyin (ed.) Understanding and Responding to Terrorism (IOS Press 2007) 17, 34
Fagersten Bjorn ‘Bureaucratic Resistance to International Intelligence Cooperation – The Case of Europol’ (2010) 25 (4) Intelligence and National Security 500, 520.
Hurst Jennifer, ‘Interpol – Providing Support and Assistance to Combat International Terrorism’ in Durmaz Huseyin (ed.) Understanding and Responding to Terrorism (IOS Press 2007) 3, 14.
Irrera Daniella,‘Transnational Organized Crime and the Global Security Agenda: Different Perceptions and Conflicting Strategies’ in Defining and Defying Organized Crime, (Routledge, 2010). 73.
Jacobsen Trudy, Sampford Charles JG, and Thakur Ramesh Chandra, ‘Fables of Sovereignty ’ in Re-envisioning sovereignty: the end of Westphalia? , (Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2008) 30.
Kaunert Christian ‘Europol and EU Counterterrorism: International Security Actorness in the External Dimension’ (2010) 33 Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 652, 671.
Madsen Frank, ‘Initiatives against Transnational Crime’, in Transnational Organized Crime, (Routledge, 2009) 93, 108, 120.
Mitsilegas Valsamis, Jorq Monar and Wyn Rees, ‘The Development of the EU as an Internal Security Actor’ in The European Union and Internal Security: Guardian of the People? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) 6, 41.
Okubo Shiro and Shelly Louise I. Human Security, Transnational Crime and Human Trafficking: Asian and Western Perspectives. (Taylor & Francis, 2011) 92.
The United Nations, ‘The Universal Declaration on Human Rights: Article 28’, (1948)
The United Nations, ‘UN Charter: Article 1’ (n. d.). Web.
United Nations, Combating Human Trafficking in Asia: A resource Guide to International and Regional Intruments, Political Commitments and Recommended Practices, (United Nations Publications, 2003) 98.
William Fox, International Commercial Agreements: A primer on Drafting, Negotiating, and Resolving Disputes. (Kluwer Law International, 2009) 369.
Williams Phil and Savona Ernesto Ugo, The United Nations and Transnational Organized Crime. (Routledge, 1996), 141.
- UNODC, The Globalization of Crime: A Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment (2010). Web.
- Daniella Irrera, ‘Transnational Organized Crime and the Global Security Agenda: Different Perceptions and Conflicting Strategies’ in Defining and Defying Organized Crime, (Routledge, 2010). 73
- Fox William, International Commercial Agreements: A primer on Drafting, Negotiating, and Resolving Disputes. (Kluwer Law International, 2009) 369.
- Frank Madsen, ‘Initiatives against translational crime’ in Translational Organized Crime, (London, 2009), 108.
- Ibid., 112.
- Shiro Okubo and Louise I Shelly. Human Security, Transnational Crime and Human Trafficking: Asian and Western Perspectives. (Taylor & Francis, 2011) 92.
- Trudy Jacobsen, Charles JG Sampford, and Ramesh Chandra Thakur in ‘Fables of Sovereignty ’ in Re-envisioning sovereignty: the end of Westphalia? , (Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2008) 30.
- The United Nations, ‘UN Charter: Article 1’ (n. d.). Web.
- The United Nations, ‘The Universal Declaration on Human Rights: Article 28’, (1948).
- United Nations, Combating Human Trafficking in Asia: A resource Guide to International and Regional Intruments, Political Commitments and Recommended Practices, (United Nations Publications, 2003) 98.
- Phil Williams and Ernesto Ugo Savona, The United Nations and Transnational Organized Crime. (Routledge, 1996), 141.
- Valsamis Mitsilegas, Jorq Monar and Wyn Rees, ‘The Development of the EU as an Internal Security Actor’ in The European Union and Internal Security: Guardian of the People? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 18.
- Frank Madsen, ‘Initiatives against Transnational Crime’, in Transnational Organized Crime, (Routledge, 2009), 99
- Ibid, 99.
- Christian Kaunert ‘Europol and EU Counterterrorism: International Security Actorness in the External Dimension’ (2010) 33 Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 655.
- Ibid, 655.
- Bjorn Fagersten ‘Bureaucratic Resistance to International Intelligence Cooperation – The Case of Europol’ (2010) 25 (4) Intelligence and National Security, 501.
- Ibid, 656.
- Oldrich Bures ‘Europol’s Fledging Counterterrorism Role’ (2008) 20 Terrorism and Political Violence, 513
- Madsen, 98.
- Barnett Michael, ‘Designing Police: Interpol and the Study of Change in International Organizations’ (2005) 49 International Studies Quarterly, 616.
- Jennifer Hurst, ‘Interpol – Providing Support and Assistance to Combat International Terrorism’ in Durmaz Huseyin (ed.) Understanding and Responding to Terrorism (IOS Press 2007) 3.
- Madsen, 98.
- Mathieu Deflem “International Police Cooperation against Terrorism: Interpol and Europol in Comparison” in Durmaz Huseyin (ed.) Understanding and Responding to Terrorism (IOS Press 2007), 17.