Dr. Sadmir Karovic | 20 June 2020 |
Today, international criminal law is strongly criticized for having very adverse effects on real life. This also applies to classic or traditional crime on the international level. In real social life, there ought to be some concrete and effective solutions and protection mechanisms for all people and all human groups.
International criminal law, a relatively new branch of law, is striving to establish international peace and stability in all regions of the world, under a universal axiom: the principle of equality. This is a theoretical idea and the essence of the existence of this branch. It is evident that international peace and security, as well as other universal human values, are often overlooked in different geographic parts of the world. The motives behind destructive activities are different but can be primarily focused on gaining profit, economic or political power, and occupation of territories.
The international community is focused on finding a peaceful solution; however, it is often impossible to reconcile two extremely opposing sides or reach a compromise, which first leads to verbal disputes, and then to conflicts, wars, crimes, and different forms of destruction. The international community is everlastingly seeking the best solutions and appropriate reactions, but crimes and other forms of human destruction keep repeating in increasingly brutal and destructive modes. The engagement of the international community is mainly humanitarian (delivery of food and medications to vulnerable areas, etc.). That is inadequate, taking into consideration we are living in the 21st century when there is a real need to establish proper and effective control mechanisms to create necessary preconditions for the peace and safety of every individual.
Organized Crime as an International Phenomenon
The situation is identical at the national level due to increasingly complex social relations, the country and its law enforcement agencies are unable to devise a concrete and appropriate response to crime. What aggravates it even further is the fact that some new and extremely specific forms of organized crime (illegal drug and arms trade, and human trafficking) have appeared on the social scene, as an international phenomenon by its very nature. Crime is a complex social and legal, multidiscipline, and multifactor phenomenon, and as such, very dynamic and unstable.
The second aggravating circumstance is one of the key causes of such a deeply unsatisfactory state: the presence of corruption that successively destroys the country and society. This social and legal phenomenon is present in all countries, but it is more specific for the countries in transition where it appears more often. It is a general fact that crime is connected to other negative occurrences in society, thus accumulating even further problems. Today, there is no such thing as a state or a society immune to crime. Parallel to the general social development and the overall progress in all fields of human existence, different mechanisms, modalities, arms, tools, etc., are continuously improved for exercising even more destructive activities. Multiple international legal documents (conventions, agreements, etc.) acknowledge and recognize basic human rights and individual freedom while, on the other hand, numerous problems are present in practice (violence, crimes).
Finding an Acceptable Solution
Crime prevention should not be considered an exclusive jurisdiction of police or other law-implementing institutions. The primary task of crime-prevention implementing agencies or establishments is, indeed, crime prevention. However, it should be noted that many sciences (law, criminology, anthropology, psychology, sociology) developed an interest in crime, requesting a multidisciplinary approach to crime research. Social prevention of crime (international and classical) is a vital responsibility of all establishments as well as individuals, and not just the police, court, prosecutor’s office, and other law enforcing subjects (family, educational institutions, and non-government sector), and not just the law-enforcing agencies.
There need to be appropriate and concrete prevention mechanisms based on pre-determined crime causes. Firstly, the area of crime etiology must be defined, while efficient preventative strategies and programs (that are in line with real-life needs) must be researched. To research the area of crime etiology, i.e., to research the causes of crime is the foundation or the platform for the efficient development of preventive measures. Social crime prevention is a major precondition for peace and stability in every country and on the international level as well.
The second major factor in finding prevention mechanisms is to determine a proactive correlation between science and profession, and the core of the problem lies in the fact that politics does not acknowledge it enough. Therefore, the science and profession must take proactive and preventive actions in all fields of human activities. It is generally known that science and profession are often ignored by policymakers, which minimizes their real-life effects.
Nevertheless, science and profession should play an important role in society by creating positive and useful social processes. All subjects and authorities that can contribute to the efficient and energetic battle against crime and all other negative issues should be included in the process of prevention of classic and international crime. Declarative preference without concrete action is insufficient, thus indicating there is a real need to find the most optimal prevention mechanisms in practice; the mechanisms that should be able to eliminate the concrete causes, or at least weaken their impact. In this respect, there are some universal human values that must be maintained and promoted; the values that lead towards significant crime-prevention opportunities and whose primary bearers are the family, school, different educational institutions, religious communities, media, and other prevention-related establishments.
Passivity or inaction presents a form of crime collaboration, therefore the international community, as well as other participants and individuals at the national level, are carrying a burden of responsibility and commitment to perform certain actions. It is important to reiterate that the science and profession ought to take responsibility and become key bearers on the path towards the creation of positive and useful social processes in an impartial and objective manner. Furthermore, effective control and surveillance mechanisms must exist at national and international levels, so the risk factors can be recognized and identified. This would alarm us if there was a need for undertaking certain actions to eliminate or decrease their influence, to stop any negative consequences or negative social aftereffects, such as crime. Certainly, when it comes to the energetic and united battle against crime and other negative occurrences in society, all subjects and individuals should be responsible, and in a committed way, provide their proactive and tangible contribution.
By embracing peace and stability as fundamentals we can build and create a better future. This should specifically apply to individuals who are vulnerable categories in need to be awarded a special treatment and status (women, children, the sick, and the elderly). Every person deserves a normal life! Lessons from the past must be learned once and for all. Prevention is the key to success.
Dr. Sadmir Karovic is the co-author of “Organized Crime and Other Offenses. He has authored and co-authored more than 15 scientific articles on criminal law and currently works for a law enforcement agency in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Photo Credit: Flags of the United Nations by John and Mel Kots. Licensed by CC 2.0 license