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International cooperation in combating organized crime

Printing plate for making counterfeit money

Printing plate for making counterfeit money, © picture-alliance / dpa

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Efforts to combat the drugs trade and organised crime are closely connected with counter-terrorism, since drugs and crime provide terrorists with two key sources of income.

Combating international organised crime remains one of the major new challenges facing the international community. Organised crime encompasses various lucrative operations in addition to its “traditional” activities in the field of drug trafficking. These include money laundering, the smuggling of illegal migrants, human trafficking and the arms trade. There is no doubt that organised crime poses a threat to international security and stability, since it is new, still unconsolidated democracies and states with weak or corrupt governmental and administrative structures that are particularly hard hit.

The German Government is engaged in efforts to combat organised crime at the bilateral level and as a member of the European Union. It cooperates with multilateral bodies and finances international projects to fight crime. Germany has concluded bilateral agreements on cooperation to combat organised crime with a range of countries. Liaison officers from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) work at many of our embassies.

The Vienna-based United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) does valuable work on various practical aspects of the fight against organised crime and receives support from the German Government for its projects.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the most important body for international cooperation against money laundering. The FATF has produced 40 Recommendations and nine Special Recommendations on Money Laundering, which list a range of appropriate countermeasures in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, police cooperation, finance and banking, and international cooperation. Germany is a founding member of the FATF.

The Roma-Lyon Group is a G7 group of eminent experts with a remit to review and evaluate existing international agreements and mechanisms for combating organised crime, amongst other things, and to recommend action to close any loopholes (best practices).

The fight against organised crime is also high on the agenda at the annual meetings of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ), the relevant expert committee of the Economic and Social Council of the UN (ECOSOC). The CCPCJ draws up recommendations not only on crime prevention and control but also on dealing with offenders. It also supervises and monitors relevant UN programmes and coordinates the activities of regional and supra-regional institutions in this area. Germany served as chair of the CCPCJ in May 2016.

Important milestones in the fight against organised crime are the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

Find out more:

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC): www.unodc.org

Financial Action Task Force (FATF): www.fatf-gafi.org/

UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ): www.unodc.org

United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC): www.unodc.org

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