Examining the Interactions between Conflict and Organized Crime - Our World
International humanitarian law and terrorism: questions and answers Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, war crimes suspects may be Persons detained in relation to an international armed conflict involving two or. the crime–terror nexus was consolidated: the rise of transnational organised crime literature has emerged, seeking to provide explanations of various issues terrorist groups, the relationship between organised crime and terrorism remains. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Web Site. States to recognize the link between transnational organized criminal activities and acts of terrorism.
Yes, IHL specifically mentions and in fact prohibits " measures of terrori sm " and " acts of terrorism ". The Fourth Geneva Convention Article 33 Article 4 states that " Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited "while Additional Protocol II prohibits " acts of terrorism " against persons not or no longer taking part in hostilities. The main aim is to emphasise that neither individuals, nor the civilian population may be subject to collective punishments, which, among other things, obviously induce a state of terror.
Both Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions also prohibit acts aimed at spreading terror among the civilian population. These provisions are a key element of IHL rules governing the conduct of hostilities i.
- International humanitarian law and terrorism: questions and answers
- Examining the Interactions between Conflict and Organized Crime
They prohibit acts of violence during armed conflict that do not provide a definite military advantage. It is important to bear in mind that even a lawful attack on military targets can spread fear among civilians. However, these provisions outlaw attacks that specifically aim to terrorise civilians, for example campaigns of shelling or sniping of civilians in urban areas.
Do some aspects of the fight against terrorism amount to a "transnational" armed conflict? As already mentioned IHL is only applicable in armed conflict. A central element of the notion of armed conflict is the existence of " parties " to the conflict. The parties to an international armed conflict are two or more states or states and national liberation movementswhereas in non-international armed conflict the parties may be either states and armed groups — for example, rebel forces- or just armed groups.
In either case, a party to an armed conflict has a military-like formation with a certain level of organization and command structure and, therefore, the ability to respect and ensure respect for IHL.
The rules of IHL apply equally to all parties to an armed conflict. It does not matter whether the party concerned is the aggressor or is acting in self-defence. Also, it does not matter if the party in question is a state or a rebel group.
Accordingly, each party to an armed conflict may attack military objectives but is prohibited from direct attacks against civilians. The equality of rights and obligations under IHL enables all parties to a conflict to know the rules within which they are allowed to operate and to rely on similar conduct by the other side.
It is the existence of at least two parties to an armed conflict and the basic equality among them under IHL, as well as the intensity of violence involved and the means used, which distinguishes warfare from law enforcement.
Specific aspects of the fight against terrorism launched after the attacks agai nst the United States on 11 September amount to an armed conflict as defined under IHL.
The war waged by the US-led coalition in Afghanistan that started in October is an example. The Geneva Conventions and the rules of customary international law were fully applicable to that international armed conflict, which involved the US-led coalition, on the one side, and Afghanistan, on the other side. However, much of the ongoing violence taking place in other parts of the world that is usually described as " terrorist " is perpetrated by loosely organized groups networksor individuals that, at best, share a common ideology.
On the basis of currently available factual evidence it is doubtful whether these groups and networks can be characterised as party to any type of armed conflict, including "transnational".
Irrespective of the motives of their perpetrators, terrorist acts committed outside of armed conflict should be addressed by means of domestic or international law enforcement, but not by application of the laws of war. Most of the measures taken by states to prevent or suppress terrorist acts do not amount to armed conflict. Measures such as intelligence gathering, police and judicial cooperation, extradition, criminal sanctions, financial investigations, the freezing of assets or diplomatic and economic pressure on states accused of aiding suspected terrorists are not commonly considered acts of war.
Both practically and legally, war cannot be waged against a phenomenon, but only against an identifiable party to an armed conflict. For thes e reasons, it would be more appropriate to speak of a multifaceted " fight against terrorism " rather than a " war on terrorism ".
What law applies to persons detained in the fight against terrorism? States have the obligation and right to defend their citizens against terrorist attacks. What do we know about the relationship between crime and conflict and how certain are we about these findings?
The changing nature of conflict and the blurring of actors involved have posed fundamental questions about the utility of current classifications of armed conflict, organized crime and terrorism into distinct, actor based groupings that possess different methods and motives. Although research and facts on the ground have demonstrated that organized crime, terrorist and rebel groups often pursue multiple agendas and strategies simultaneously, policy at national, regional and international levels continues to be boxed into outdated notions that differentiate these groups based on pre-conceived motives and methods.
Similarities and differences between organized crime and other forms of crime
This limits the ability of states and international organizations to understand the scale and pervasiveness of criminal agendas in economic, social and political structures. In fact, organized crime may be best understood as a strategy adopted by a range of conflict actors including the state to achieve their objectives. This approach to the crime-conflict nexus opens up promising policy options that go beyond law enforcement, encouraging more proactive tools that can reduce criminal opportunities.
As current conflicts raging in Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Iraq attest, the emergence of hybrid organizations engaged in terrorism and organized crime represents a major dimension of contemporary conflict.
International humanitarian law and terrorism: questions and answers - ICRC
Yet, our knowledge on the extent and nature strategic or opportunistic of this relationship and the mechanisms that support this collaboration remains weak. The impact of organized crime on conflict dynamics is profound. There is robust evidence to support the notion that conflicts in which a major rebel or terrorist group has access to funds from contraband tend to last significantly longer than those that do not.
The reasons for this are not limited to war profiteering or ideology but are also related to the political capital that these groups gain by providing public goods that the state is incapable or unwilling to deliver. Criminal agendas also influence peace processes. The termination of hostilities and the signing of peace agreements often lead to an influx of hard currency and hard and soft infrastructure i.
International interventions peacekeeping, law enforcement, sanctions, extradition often have an important impact on local conflict dynamics and affect the calculus of conflict entrepreneurs engaging in illicit activities. Yet, our knowledge on exactly how these interventions influence the behaviour of criminal actors remains thin. Strategic trade-offs between security and key political, economic and social reforms are often made by international actors in post-conflict contexts without due consideration of how they influence the choices of conflict actors as well as consolidate and further entrench organized crime within state structures.
All too often, this has enabled transnational organized crime to emerge as a major factor in the corruption of state institutions and reform processes. This undermines democratic governance and the legitimacy of the state. What are the implications for policy? Policymakers and UN actors on the ground need to better understand how criminal agendas and illicit flows influence the causes and dynamics of violent conflict.
The UN and other external actors cannot avoid hard truths. The current tendency is to obscure the role of the state in generating conflict and crime. It is essential that policymakers understand the value of crime for various conflict actors, including the state, as well as the value of violent conflict for criminal actors. Much more needs to be done to understand and limit the impact of global illicit flows on local conflict dynamics.
An important first step is to better discern how illicit flows are organized at the local level.