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Free «The Similarities and Differences between Transnational Organized Crime and Transnational Corporate Crime» Essay Sample


Illicit practices in different spheres of human activities have captured the world. It is evident that the modern businesses, illegal traders of weapons or drugs must be punished for their actions, which violate the law. Nevertheless, transnational corporations are also involved in many international conflicts and are on the way of their constant desire of enrichment. Greed is everywhere and nothing prevents even big traders and stakeholders from taking part in illegal practices, because the majority of them are only focused on monetary gains. This research paper draws parallels between transnational organized crime and transnational corporate crime. On the one hand, the activities of these two completely different types of organizations cannot be compared, but there are many similarities between them. Thus, let us look in details in the concept of criminal activity, definition of transnational organized crime and transnational corporations' criminal activities. Anyway, there is a vivid discussion with respect to interrelation of the scope of crime experienced by these two different types of organizations. Modern researchers and scientists are much concerned about their inability to give a general definition to both these phenomena. At the same time they underline a holistic nature of crime and illegal practices of transnational organized crime and transnational corporations' fraud and violations.



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Transnational organized crime

Crime is one of the most serious global social problems. Countries and states develop complex strategies to tackle the growing scope of criminal activity. International organizations promote humanitarian principles of law and legal policymaking, to ensure that the rights and freedoms of all individuals are not violated. However, even international agreements and complex policies do not always work for the benefit of peace and stability in the world. The International Criminal Court was established to provide assistance in the most complex international crime situations. The ICC is a fully independent institution that operates in accordance with the Rome Statute and aims at dealing with the most serious international crimes, including crimes against humanity. Some of the most famous ICC cases included the Milosevic case and prosecutions against the political and military leaders of Congo and Uganda. Based on the principles of legitimacy, fairness, and justice, the ICC exemplifies a successful attempt to resolve the most controversial crime situations and issues at the supranational scale.      It should be noted that the creation and operation of the ICC would have been impossible, if not because of its legitimacy and public support. Legitimacy means that public accepts and recognizes the institution and its authority to make decisions (Gastil, Lingle & Deess 2010). The legitimacy of the ICC is established and it is incontestable. However, when the basic ICC framework was developed, it was essential that a sufficient number of states and international organizations supported the viability and practical need for such a court (Gastil, Lingle & Deess 2010). The idea and importance of legitimacy date back to the post-war period, when the Nuremberg Military Tribunal turned legitimacy into the fundamental principle of the international court system (Gastil, Lingle & Deess 2010). In its current state, the ICC is nothing but a product of a legitimate but innovative attempt to use public support as the critical element of its continued credibility and efficiency (Gastil, Lingle & Deess 2010). l level.

There is a clear definition of transnational organized crime, which “refers to those self-perpetuating associations of individuals who operate transnationally for the purpose of obtaining power, influence, monetary and/or commercial gains, wholly or in part by illegal means, while protecting their activities through a pattern of corruption and/or violence, or while protecting their illegal activities through a transnational organizational structure and the exploitation of transnational commerce or communication mechanisms” (Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, July, 2011). Under these challenging circumstances the governments of the world are striving to deal with these transnational organized crimes. It is very difficult to identify a special network or structure of these organizations. A scope of crimes can be also various.  Transnational organized criminals act in a conspiratorial manner and their criminal activities are difficult for identification.  These organizations have a different scope of their criminal activities. Corruption and violation of human rights, bribery and intimidation are illegal means for scaring off authorities of the world. These organizations are mainly focused on their enrichment and they do not stop in the face of human trafficking, drugs or weapons trade etc. Of course, they are much focused on avoidance of their identification, prosecution etc.

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The Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime developed by the President Barak Obama and his team if mainly focused on protection of the nation’s interests. Moreover, the American government is focused on protection of their own interests from an external hazard of transnational crimes. Foreign partners of the country are acclaimed for international care and public safety. There are evident spheres and interests of America and other countries, which can be destroyed by transnational criminal organizations. Governmental transparency, protection of economic power of different countries, a special attention paid for strategic markets, foreign financial systems etc could prevent terroristic activities, as well as many other transnational criminal activities.

There is another challenge of transnational organized crime, which does not outline and does not provide some generalizations for further identification of this phenomenon. It is obvious that: "Organized crime groups engage in such widely publicized activities as drugs and arms trafficking, smuggling of automobiles and people and trafficking in stolen art. They also engage in such insidious activities as smuggling of embargoed commodities, industrial and technological espionage, financial market manipulation and the corruption and control of groups within and outside of the legal state system" (Friedrichs 2007, p. 8). At the same time, this type of organizations is involved in money laundering through multiple bank investments, bank operations around the globe and these groups make the same attempts to hide their activities, like unfair transnational corporations do.  A new rewards program will increase success of anti narcotics programs` expansion. Thus, illegal practices of transnational criminal organizations will be prevented. There is an evident change in the U.S. intelligence and its role in dealing with illegal practices and crimes of transnational organizations. America is currently focused on intelligence enhancement. The government is focused on harmonization of relations between different spheres of national activities.

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America is much focused on cooperation with other governments, which are also interested in prevention of criminal activities of transnational criminal organizations. The Organized Crime Contact Group was established by the UK and the US in February 2011. Consequently, America expands its mission abroad and develops practical decisions for other countries abroad. In accordance with the study of Varese (2011):"Organized crime groups follow the trends of international business. The increasing economic interdependence of the world requires both licit and illicit businesses to think internationally" (Varese, 2011). It means that the global markets are dealing with both legitimate and illicit goods. The American government is looking forward to establishment of a sanctions program to protect the national safety, improve foreign policy and sustain economic interests.

There are valuable documents focused on prevention of transnational organizations’ crime, such as the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (the Palermo Convention), the UN Convention against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Barak, 2000) and other protocols of the American government. The United States will enhance its cooperation with the United Nations to improve activities of regional and other multilateral institutions.  America is constantly developing and is looking for establishment of relations and informal partnerships with different countries.  Benefits of globalization enable different countries to respond quicker to changing environment. Thus, it is possible to deal with transnational crimes at the global level by introducing global norms and regulations for punishment for organized crime.

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Transnational corporation crimes

Recently, there are many violations and crimes. MNCs have been often accused of crimes. For example, “There is a perception that Colombia is a paradise—the climate, natural resources and diversity, with coasts on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. But it’s a paradise for a very few. It’s a paradise for those who extract its resources, who exterminate its Indigenous people. It’s a paradise for narcotraffickers and paramilitaries” (Dowell, 2008). Guzman, the head of Colombia’s SINALTRAINAL, was much focused on searching for support and help from other followers and they established a special tribunal, which was focused on punishment of parties taking part in multinational corporations’ crimes. At the international level this organization appeals for “professors, human rights commissioners, doctors, judges and social workers from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Nicaragua, Spain and Switzerland” (Dowell, 2008). It is evident that international society is on alert and numerous steps should be made to prevent further expansion of transnational corporations` crimes. Very often transnational corporations are accused of violations of local people rights, unfair payments etc. For example, in Colombia, the Colombian lands and people were subjected to external negative influence of different multinational corporations, such as the Occidental Petroleum, food and agriculture corporations like Chiquita Brands, Coca-Cola and others.  Environmental destruction, as well as impact exerted on people, local territories, cultures and traditions is always mediated by transnational corporations. Therefore, the Colombian people confessed that their water bills increased by 300 percent and accused Coca Cola of the growth of water consumption.

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The US pays attention to violation of rights of people, who are working at transnational corporations. In the Sabana region of Bogotá women work in the flower industry up to 15 hours a day. Women are exposed to pesticides and there are not protected from the harmful particles. The Indigenous people from developing countries and those, living in territories, which attract many tourists, are focused on preservation of areas, which are potential territories for hotels or parks development. International crime was in the centre of attention of the international community and these corporations very often are accused of core crimes. There is a great challenge in the modern jurisdiction: “While currently there is no international court or tribunal that can exercise criminal jurisdiction over private legal persons for core crimes, this does not mean that the prohibitions underlying these crimes are not binding on transnational business corporations” (Nerlich, 2010). There are many historical lessons, which taught the community that the obligations of corporations go far beyond than economical scope of duties. Business corporations can be involved in different core crimes.  

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In accordance with a famous claim of the International Military Tribunal (IMT) crimes are committed by persons, but not by certain entities.  Taking as an example the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials, different individual responsibilities are subjected to regulations of the international law (Block & Weaver, 2004). Currently, the international community is mainly focused on different aspects, such as responsibility of abstract entities for aggression, crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes (Rothe, Friedrichs, 2006). The main question asked, but not answered, is whether, and to what extent, transnational business corporations are oriented on profit gaining. It is very difficult to identify whether transnational business corporations have developed their obligations in terms of international criminal law.

Financial concerns of transnational corporations are not the only reasons for criminal misbehavior. There are numerous examples, when these concerns go far beyond the limits. Thus, “murder, torture, rape and many of the other acts constituting international core crimes have, as such, no ‘economical dimension’” (Ruggiero, 1997). It is relevant to consider if it is legal to apply international regulations of international crimes to transnational corporations’ crimes. The supporters of transnational corporations often claim that it is impossible to rape someone by a legal entity. Such type of acts cannot be performed by a legal entity. These types are more likely to be committed by a person and not by a legal entity.  Nevertheless, such crime as signing a fraudulent tax declaration is on behalf of a legal entity. This is the example of imputed liability.  

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Transnational business corporations are guided by the principle of raison d’être, i.e. they try to raise their profits being engaged in commercial activities. It is possible to draw parallels between illegal activities of transnational corporations and conduct of natural persons. It is relevant to refer crimes of transnational corporations to general criminal law.  Business corporations and state actors are often placed in interrelation. The main emphasis is made on collision between them. It can be surely claimed that business corporations are accused of violations of human rights, which are carried by state actors (Passas, 2000). 

Very often transnational corporations are involved in different military actions and are involved in conflict together with other state actors. Crimes against humanity are subjected to punishment in the Article 7(1) ICC of the Statute. Thus, if attempts of violation are taken against health, dignity and health of civilians then transnational corporations can be accused of transnational violations.  In accordance with the Article 7(2) part A of the ICC Statute it is relevant to juxtapose state and organizational policies, and launch attacks against population (Markantonatou, 2007). There is no evident fact that a transnational business corporation can be considered as attack launcher against a civilian population. There is a possible extension of liability of transnational businesses and while business corporations were able to launch a severe attack against a civilian population, it can be said that some business practices could be supervised under the international criminal law. Moreover, it is possible to correlate commitment of crimes against humanity with the State organs.

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It is possible to claim that transnational business corporations can be hardly punished for the core crimes of the international laws in spite of the fact that international criminal court or tribunal does not have enough power for punishment. Consequently, crimes against humanity and wars are often connected with responsibility of transnational corporations. Corporations are very often accused of crimes on the basis of their specific responsibilities. Nevertheless, it should be noted that liability of transnational business corporations is very much restricted and under many different conditions the actions of these businesses should be properly considered beyond economical scope of issues.

Comparing transnational organized crime and transnational corporate crime

It is possible to draw parallels between these two seemingly different types of crimes on the example of the film “Wall Street”, where the motto of the main hero, a self-concerned greedy businessman Gordon Gekko was: “Greed is Good” (Wall Street Movie Synopsis). Both members of transnational crime organizations and transnational corporations are not afraid of punishment and are not scared off by legal regulations. Criminal activities of illegal transnational corporations are a dark side of the modern world, but corporate America is full of dark issues too (Markantonatou, 2007). Both types of these organizations follow Machiavellian claim: the end justifies the means. Thus, the ways to gain profits and to earn money as much as possible are the dominant concern in the modern world. 
Corrupt practices of international organizations have been always the central concern for the UK and the US.  The Companies Act 1967 outlines that corporations can be responsible for financial, labor or environmental violations. Most of them establish branches around the world and narcotics trade stays high on the agenda in illicit practices of transnational corporations. Some transnational corporations operate worldwide and are not afraid of facilities` establishment around the world for their illicit activities. There is a wide geographic expansion of these types of organizations and companies. It is obvious that the transnational character of organized crime positions these groups as the part of the global political agenda. Illicit activities are especially wide spread across the borders of the ex-Soviet Union countries. Drugs` trafficking "depends upon the money laundering and banking services provided by the world of offshore banking and finance" (Passas, 2000). There are many drawbacks and disadvantages of the international system development. To take actions in time is often very difficult. Many corporations are afraid of being responsible for their illicit actions and are afraid of being prosecuted and punished for their criminal activities. In other words, both transnational organized crimes and transnational corporations are often involved in criminal activities. Consequently, whether these two different types are the same or not is rather questionable, but it can be surely claimed that the international system of law and global criminology should expand the scope of their expertise and pay a great attention to developing general rules and regulations for prosecution and punishment of illegal practices in different spheres and at different levels of global practices.


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