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Presentation of the final report: The Contribution of Data Exchange Systems to the Fight against Organised Crime in the SEE Countries by Ernesto U. Savona Director of TRANSCRIME Joint Research Centre on Transnational Crime

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Presentation of the final report:

The Contribution of Data Exchange Systems to the Fight against Organised Crime in the SEE Countries

by

Ernesto U. Savona

Director of TRANSCRIME

Joint Research Centre on Transnational Crime

(Università degli Studi di Trento/Università Cattolica di Milano)

“Sitting at the Round Table of Justice: International Judicial and Police Cooperation between East and West Europe”

Turin (Italy), 15 November 2004

Presentation of the final report:

The Contribution of Data Exchange Systems to the Fight against Organised Crime in the SEE Countries

by

Ernesto U. Savona

Professor at the Università Cattolica in Milan and Director of TRANSCRIME-Joint Research Centre on Transnational Crime

(Università degli Studi di Trento/Università Cattolica di Milano)

“Sitting at the Round Table of Justice: International Judicial and Police Cooperation between East and West Europe”

Turin (Italy), 15 November 2004


Partners of the study

This study has been executed by TRANSCRIME for the Office of the Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. In particular, it has been developed within the context of the Stability Pact Initiative against Organised Crime in South-Eastern Europe (SPOC) and shares with it the overall goal of strengthening the capacity of SEE countries to fight organised crime in accordance with European and international standards.

It is funded by the Autonomous Province of Trento (Italy), the Piedmont Region (Italy), the Province of Turin (Italy) and the South East European Cooperative Initiative.

SECI - Regional Center for Combating Trans-Border Crime contributed to the project by providing useful contact persons and information during the development of the research.


Rationale and goal of the study

Over the last 15 years, South Eastern European (SEE) countries have undergone dramatic changes from both a political and economic point of view. They brought about new opportunities for legitimate actors, but also for criminals. In fact, the economic development has not always been accompanied by a parallel enforcement of criminal justice systems. Furthermore, criminal networks have been established to operate transnationally, while cooperation among law enforcement agencies and prosecution offices of different countries is harder to achieve.

Final goal of the project is to enhance and strengthen the process of exchanging information and to encourage the adoption of legal instruments, bilateral and multilateral agreements in addition to enhancing reciprocal knowledge of practices and capacity for cooperation.

The research project


Countries covered by the study

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, The Czech Republic,

The Former

Yugoslav

Republic of

Macedonia

(FYRoM),

Hungary,

Moldova,

Poland,

Romania,

Serbia and

Montenegro,

The Slovak

Republic,

Slovenia,

Turkey.

The research project


Questions the report wants to answer:

  • What is the present organised crime situation (criminal groups and activities) in the SEE countries?

  • How does international police and judicial cooperation against organised crime function in the region? [What are the related legislation, practices and good practices?]

  • Is there any legal or practical obstacle to exchange of information/cooperation between SEE countries?

  • How can these systems be improved?

The research project


CRIMINAL GROUPS: “OC is widespread in SEE” (Synoptic Table 1)

Criminal groups and activities

Frequency

(n° of countries in which the indicated number of OC groups is present)

Number of OC groups present


CRIMINAL GROUPS: “Not only mafia-type groups…” (Synoptic Table 1)

Criminal groups and activities

Frequency

(n° of countries in which the type of the structure is present)

Types of structure

HIER=Hierarchical, HOR=Horizontal, PR=On a Project Basis


CRIMINAL GROUPS: “OC goes G-LOCAL 1” (Synoptic Table 1)

Criminal groups and activities

Frequency

(n° of countries in which the type of OC group is present)

Nationality

NAT=Nationals, NON NAT=Non Nationals, COOP=cooperation


CRIMINAL GROUPS: “OC goes G-LOCAL 2” (Synoptic Table 1)

Criminal groups and activities

Frequency

(n° of countries in which the type of OC group is present)

Type of OC group

COOP= OC groups cooperating with groups based abroad

NO COOP= OC groups not cooperating with groups based abroad


ACTIVITIES: “OC goes G-LOCAL 3” (Synoptic Table 1)

Criminal groups and activities

Frequency

(n° of countries in which the type of activity is present)

Geographic scope

NAT=activities committed mainly within the country,

TRANS=activities committed mainly with a transnational scope

N/T=activities committed equally within the country and transnational scope


ACTIVITIES: “OC infiltrates into economy” (Synoptic Table 1)

Criminal groups and activities

Frequency

(n° of countries in which the type of infiltration is present)

Economy sectors

R.E.=Real Estate, N.S.=Nightlife Services, F.S.=Financial Sector, T.=Tourism, P=Procurement, Cas.=Casinos, Cons=Construction, L.P.=Legal Professions


LEGISLATION&PRACTICES:

1) Criminal law

Main conclusions:

  • The process of ratification of the international and European instruments against TOC is growing in all SEE countries, but…

  • …There is still a lack of harmonisation with the international and European standards of the national criminal law definitions against TOC (Synoptic Table 2, standards n. 1-5)

  • An example: the absence of liability of legal persons (Synoptic Table 2, standard n. 5)

Legislation and practices


LEGISLATION&PRACTICES:

2) Criminal procedure

Main conclusions:

  • The process of ratification of the international and European instruments against TOC is growing in all SEE countries, but…

  • …there is a lack of harmonisation with the international and European standards of the national criminal procedure instruments against TOC (Synoptic Table 2, standards n. 6-8)

  • Some examples: witness protection and confiscation systems

Legislation and practices


LEGISLATION&PRACTICES:

3) Data protection rules

Main conclusions:

  • There is a lack of ratification instruments for the COE convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (Synoptic Table 2, standard n. 9)

  • Half of the SEE countries do not have agreements with Europol for the reciprocal transmission of data (Synoptic Table 2, standard n. 14)

  • More than a third of SEE countries have not made any bilateral/multilateral agreements with other countries for the safe reciprocal transmission of data (Synoptic Table 2, standard n. 10)

Legislation and practices


LEGISLATION&PRACTICES:

4) Multilateral and bilateral agreements

Main conclusion:

  • The preference accorded to the multilateral approach in the legislation and in the practices… but bilateral agreements, where present, are used almost as much as multinational agreements. This might impair the cooperation process, because thourgh the deployment of solely multilateral instruments, it is not possible to reach the level of definition and detail achieved by bilateral agreements (Synoptic Table 2, standards n. 25-26 and Synoptic Table 3, factors 6-7)

Legislation and practices


LEGISLATION&PRACTICES:

5) Direct channels of police and judicial cooperation

Main conclusions:

  • Many legal possibilities for direct judicial cooperation: e.g. in the field of direct transmission of bank and criminal records (Synoptic Table 2 – Judicial – standards n. 32-33), but…

  • …Few liaison magistrates (Synoptic Table 2 – Judicial – standard n.34)

  • Direct channels of police cooperation are growing: expansion of liaison officers, joint investigative teams and international joint customs surveillance operations (Synoptic Table 2 – Police – standards n. 41-43)

  • The practical problems: technology (Synoptic Table 3, factors n. 11-12 and n. 19-21), training (factor n. 18) and language (standard n. 17)

Legislation and practices


LEGISLATION&PRACTICES:

6) International and regional organisations

Main conclusions:

  • Interpol is the only organisation for police cooperation present in all the countries, and experts evaluated the level of cooperation with Interpol as ‘medium-high’ on average, with some weak areas in some countries (Synoptic Table 2, standard n. 44 and Synoptic Table 3, factor 21)

  • There is a partial lack of cooperation agreements with Europol, EJN, Eurojust and SECI Center (Synoptic Table 2, standards n. 45-48)

  • Where present, the SECI Center has been assessed as the organisation, which furnishes the highest level of police cooperation (Synoptic Table 3, factor 25 )

Legislation and practices


GOOD PRACTICES:

1) Centralised structures set up for international cooperation purposes

Main conclusions:

  • Central authorities with specialised units are present in all the countries (Synoptic Table 4, standard 1-2)

  • The lengthiness of the procedures: more than two months in 6 countries to get a response to a request of assistance (Synoptic Table 4, standard 6)

  • This might be explained with the fact that email and fax are not used for these purposes in 5 countries and standardised forms to requests assistance are present only in half the countries (Synoptic Table 4, standard 4-5)

Good practices


GOOD PRACTICES:

2) Databases on organised crime

Main conclusions:

  • Access to national centralised databases are difficult to access by foreign officers (Synoptic Table 4, standard 7-10)

  • Common criminal databases are present only in two countries (Turkey and Poland) (Synoptic Table 4, standard 11).

  • One of the rare common criminal database, the Turkish “International Urgent Intervention System” has shown good results in terms of rapidity and security in the exchange of data

Good practices


GOOD PRACTICES:

3) Methods devised to speed up cooperation

Main conclusions:

  • There is a lack of interagency coordination protocols (i.e. agreements facilitating sharing of data among different national agencies) (Synoptic Table 4, standard 23).

  • The experience of the Hungarian International Law Enforcement Cooperation Centre (ILECC) represents an example of the usefulness of these institutions.

Good practices


Bottlenecks in police cooperation

Bottlenecks in international cooperation (1)

Number of experts who consider the problem as a significant obstacle to judicial/police cooperation

Bottlenecks in international cooperation (2)

Emerging bottlenecks


Bottlenecks in police cooperation

Bottlenecks in international cooperation (2)

Number of experts who consider the problem as a significant obstacle to judicial/police cooperation

Bottlenecks in international cooperation (3)

Emerging bottlenecks


WHAT COULD BE DONE?

The following are the general recommendations emerging from the research. The full report contains specific recommendations addressed to each SEE country.

  • HARMONISING CRIMINAL LAW DEFINITIONS AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE INSTRUMENTS

  • IMPROVING DATA PROTECTION REGIME

  • ENDORSING BILATERAL COOPERATION AGREEMENTS

  • SOLVING PRACTICAL PROBLEMS REGARDING DIRECT COOPERATION

  • PROMOTING COOPERATION WITH INTERPOL, SECI CENTER, EUROPOL, EUROJUST AND EJN

General recommendations


WHAT COULD BE DONE?

  • SMOOTHING THE WORK OF NATIONAL CENTRAL AUTHORITIES MANAGING INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION REQUESTS

  • ESTABLISHING COMMON CRIMINAL DATABASES AND EASING ACCESS TO NATIONAL ONES

  • ENHANCING INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION THROUGH GOOD PRACTICES

General recommendations


FOLLOW UP OF THE STUDY

All the above recommendations could be translated into technical assistance interventions directed to each of the SEE countries.

For this purpose, the country profiles might be considered as the roadmaps for these interventions, because they point out where the obstacles to cooperation are and how they could be overcome.

Furthermore, if regularly updated, the country profiles could monitor the progress of the countries in addressing their weaknesses.

Follow up


Presentation of the final report:

The Contribution of Data Exchange Systems to the Fight against Organised Crime in the SEE Countries

by

Ernesto U. Savona

Professor at the Università Cattolica in Milan and Director of TRANSCRIME-Joint Research Centre on Transnational Crime

(Università degli Studi di Trento/Università Cattolica di Milano)

“Sitting at the Round Table of Justice: International Judicial and Police Cooperation between East and West Europe”

Turin (Italy), 15 November 2004


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