Supranational Criminology

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Revised final version based on the Expert Meeting at
Maastricht University
The Netherlands
12-15th April 2007

Published as a chapter in Supranational Criminology: Towards a Criminology of International Crimes, edited by Roelof Haverman and Alette Smeulers, 2008. Antwerp: Intersentia.


            As we inaugurate a supranational criminology that we hope will become a new criminology that develops and expands its influence over time in the world of “gross human rights violations,” we should aspire to become not only a multi-disciplinarian and comparative field of investigation and study, but we should also give careful examination to the historical record. As a new field of criminology, regardless of what other past and present criminologies have or have not done epistemologically and methodologically, a supranational criminology should be, at the same time, both “backward looking” and “forward looking” so as to be able to best define our praxis in the present. We should also be about the intellectual enterprise of linking or integrating what has been done with what could be done, not only for the purposes of “justice” and “closure” with or without impunity and perhaps with both, but from the perspective of helping to establish standards for measuring the gravity of ordinary and extraordinary crimes against humanity and for creating remedies and strategies of accountability, restoration, and recovery (locally and globally) for perpetrators, victims, and bystanders of such gross human rights violations as sexual torture, war crimes or genocide.


 For more than three decades national economies have become “increasingly integrated into, and subordinated to global markets for money and commodities, under the aegis of transnational corporations, monetarist policies, and neoliberal ideology” (Turner 2003: 35). “Globalization,” as this process has come to be labeled, has been “driven by the quest by private corporate and financial capital to escape effective regulation and taxation by states, to exploit cheaper, often unwaged forms of labor, and to realize greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness from transnational forms of corporate organizations such as sourcing networks and vertical integration of productive and distributive operations” (Ibid.). These “processes of globalization” or the recently emerging global markets have established new concrete interconnections among the declining hegemonies of the advanced industrial centers, bringing about in its wake a reorganization of “corporate driven” societies increasingly based on international or transnational relationships, accelerated not only by an age of information and instant communication, but also by the decentralization of capital away from the “core” nation-states and toward the “peripheral” nation-states, primarily into the countries of Southeast Asia.

Nevertheless, the state and its complex apparatuses, organizations, and interests are not withering away any time soon. On the contrary, whether these states are part of the core or periphery, they are adjusting their neo-liberal policies at home and abroad to the demands of global capital or to the structural relations of imperialist domination and expansionism. At the same time, many nation-states are adjusting their hegemonic and religious ideologies to the “clash of civilizations” or to the so-called cultural clashes of East and West, where societies belonging to the former are alleged to have “negative culture and pre-modernity” and the latter societies are alleged to have “values and modernity” marking them as “superior,” entitling them to “call the shots” as it were (Huntington 1997). Similarly, “the accumulation and expansion of capital, and the preservation and extension of its conditions of existence, remain the major determinants of domestic and international state activities in societies with capitalist economies” (Pearce 2003: xi).

Theoretically and practically, to ignore these global realities of state and capitalist development, at this historical juncture, when we are trying to establish a new field of inquiry, supranational criminology, dedicated to the study of the political and economic power relations of gross human rights violations or to the international, state, and/or state-corporate actions or inactions responsible for the establishment of such crimes as slavery, genocide, ethnic cleansing, or political imprisonment and torture that have been outlawed by international law, is not only the equivalent of not having our own separate and independent scientific agenda or problematic, but, speaking symptomatically, it also potentially represents another offshoot of the criminological enterprise that becomes: subservient to sundry state apparatuses, subordinate to neo-liberal policy research agendas of state-capitalist control and regulation, and servants of the bureaucratic customs of “administrative” criminology and “actuarial” justice. Similarly, not to examine these egregious structures responsible for these “criminal systems of oppression and exploitation” in relationship to the emergence and development of an international criminal court and the concept of international criminal justice would be the same as conventional criminology not examining the emergence and development of the administration of domestic criminal law in relation to both street and suite crime. Finally, both angles of investigation are essential for a fully integrated study of the dialectics of social structure and collective agency, whether we are discussing the establishment or enforcement of rights or the ignoring of such crimes against humanity as torture and genocide. A case in point, for example, regarding international justice would be to explain why the war crimes tribunal in The Hague and the International Court of Justice did, in fact, suppress the full military archives in deference to the state and rule that Serbia was not guilty of the crime of genocide.

Traditionally, harms or “crimes” and “violence” have referred to either legitimate or illegitimate acts within nation-states and are subject to domestic norms, laws, and order internally defined or they have referred to legitimate or illegitimate acts between nation-states and are subject to international norms, laws, and order externally defined. In an age of global crime/violence, however, harms are transnationally invented and/or reinvented as their new forms of “crime” and “violence” represent reconfigured social relations or acts involving perpetrators and victims located in, or operating through, more than one country, and typically these are not subject to internal or external controls or regulation. In the absence of such definitions and controls, many transnational, global, international, and supranational criminologists, human rights activists, and other concerned citizens and groups are struggling with this lack, with its multitude of harms and dangers, and with strategies for developing global norms, laws, and a transnational order based on the recognition of universal human rights and social justice for all peoples.

Moreover, during the current phase of globalization, involving disorganization and reorganization, the changing situation worldwide is one in which there is increasing crime and violence of various kinds within, between, and across nation-states. The latter forms of crime and violence, for example, trafficking in human beings, are typically classified as both international and transnational crimes, and they are increasingly based on the fragmentation of former political units, the polarization of peoples vertically and horizontally, and the intensification of indigenousness more generally in developing as well as developed countries (Barak 2000; Sassen 2003; Ghezzi and Mingione 2003).  Often left out of the conceptualizations of “domestic” crimes against the state and of “global” crimes against the hegemonic international political and economic order, are the transgressions committed by states and by state-corporate alliances, in violation of their own criminal and civil laws as well as various forms of international law (Chambliss 1989; Perdue 1989; Barak 1991; Kramer 1992; Tunnell 1993; Kauzlarich and Kramer 1998; Ross 2000; Donnelly 2003; Tombs and Whyte 2003; Michalowski and Kramer 2006; Rothe and Mullins 2006a), which provide inseparable and reciprocal relations with virtually all forms of crimes, national or international (Barak 2007). As the social anthropologist, Jonathan Friedman (2003: xiv) explains about the relationship between globalization and violence:


                        In order to understand the processes involved

                        it is necessary to take seriously the systemic

                        changes occurring in the global political economy

                        that have produced major shifts in forms of

                        control over resources, the relation between

                        capital and states and in the transformation of the

                        conditions of livelihood and labor. The global

                        transformation of capital accumulation is

                        articulated to major reconfigurations of political

                        power in the world, to major dislocations of

                        population, to the disintegration of microsocial

                        forms of life for many, and to the intensification

                        of both everyday domestic, local, and regional



Hence, in an age of globalization, an integrated study of international crimes and state-corporate criminality should immerse itself in “the relation between world processes, the distribution of conditions of social existence, and the way people in such conditions create and configure their worlds, whether they are the worlds of investment bankers or of the marginalized and ‘flexible’” other (Friedman 2003: xiv). More specifically, the study of an integrated or reciprocal approach to international crimes and state-corporate criminality should be inclusive not only of the entire range of violations involving both violators and victims that are sanctioned or prohibited in law, but it should also include those acts of legally sanctioned state repression as well as state omission and market policies of globalization that result in the denial of fundamental human rights to whole groups of people, whether or not these “harms” are defined, by national, or international humanitarian law (e.g. crimes against humanity), international human rights, or even when, for example the unprotected behavior of the sexuality of gay men, lesbians, and members of other sexual minorities, is outlawed and subject to the full extent of the penal law.

In the context of an evolving list of “universal” human rights over the past 300 years, more specifically the past half of century, we are still a far cry from having eliminated the right to discriminate as exemplified by the case of sexual minorities in virtually all societies (Donnelly 2003). In other words, even though Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees the right to protection against discrimination, the current interpretation of existing international human rights law does not extend protection to all victims of systematic discrimination. As the Article states, “Everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” However, this statement is highly exaggerated for a number of reasons, perhaps the most contradictory being that everyone is not entitled to all human rights without distinctions of any kind. “States are not prohibited from taking into account any status differences. Individuals are entitled only to protection against invidious discrimination, discrimination that tends to ill will or causes unjustifiable harm” (Donnelly 2003: 225, emphasis in the original). Hence, the inclusive right to full nondiscrimination does not exist as of now. In fact, in many nation-states the intimate behavior and loving relationships of sexual minorities are still prohibited in law, subject to an array of official, quasi-official, and private violence, and these violators of various sexual taboos also find themselves suffering under substantial civil disabilities. As Jack Donnelly (2003: 229) argues:


            Sexual minorities are not merely people who engage in

            “deviant” sexual behavior—for example, fetishists of

                        various types—or even those who adopt “deviant” (sexual)

                        identities (e.g., “swingers”). They are those despised and

                        targeted by “mainstream” society because of their sexuality,

                        victims of systematic denials of rights because of their

                        sexuality (and, in most cases, for transgressing gender roles).

                        Like victims of racism, sexism, and religious persecution,

                        they are human beings who have been identified by dominant

                        social groups as somehow less than fully human, and thus

                        not entitled to the same rights as “normal” people, the “rest

                        of us.”


Indeed, over the past several decades remarkable strides have been made towards the development a global collective consciousness based on principles and values of human rights. Most members of the international or global community today, think in terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Nonetheless, as history teaches us the moral phenomenon of internationalism or universalism that the world is witnessing did not material “out of whole cloth.” It evolved over time, solidifying only during the latter half of the 20th century, as it became part of a universal discourse. At the same time, the reification of such a consciousness is far from being realized in terms of the realpolitik of international relations and/or criminological scholarship (Rothe and Mullins 2006b).

Additionally, an internationally expanded and globalized “humanistic” definition of crime and social justice speaks to both the traditional legal-retributive approaches to law and order and to the newer or alternative social-world community approaches to inequality and repressive justice such as restorative, accountability, or Gacaca forms of “popular” justice; the former more conducive to practices of adversarialism and warmaking, the latter more conducive to practices of mutualism and peacemaking (Barak 2005). A humanistic as opposed to a state-legal or even international definition of crime and justice also recognizes that killing people are always morally problematic even though at the same time, “the moral and sociological questions are [often] confused by uncritical acceptance of the definition of murder by either states or organized religions” (Pearce 2003: xiii-xiv). The point, of course, is that a supranational criminology should not be morally and legally neutral nor should it align itself with any one nation-state legal system; rather, it should always situate the state in the “eye of the problematic” and align itself, if you will, with the international citizenry or global community. Otherwise, a supranational criminology risks the likelihood of intellectual servitude to various nation-states as the “untheorized claims to neutrality implicitly endorse extant ideologies” and the established political and economic arrangements (Ibid: xiv).

Similarly, it should be underscored that the various atrocities that the world has witnessed over the past century, whether officially or unofficially acknowledged, should not be tolerated by a supranational criminology. As such these state and international violations represent profound issues of social control and social reform that cannot afford to be avoided in general and in terms of the harms that they cause their victims in particular. As Rothe and Mullins (2006a: 17) write about these dialectical relations in terms of their integrated theory of state crimes and the ICC:


               At the international level, existing relations based

            on specific conditions create broad social forces

            that can act as constraints against a state’s intended

            policy. This can include NGOs,  other nation-states,

            and inter-governmental organizations such as the UN.

            Moreover, there are the broader global economic

            forces that can produce or constrain competition and

            goal attainment. The larger international culture or

            ethos can also produce an environment wherein a

            set of objectives can be replaced with covert or

            overt activities by a state. Presently, controls at the

            international level can occur by means of economic

            or political sanctions or threat of military actions;

            at the same time, these mechanisms often fail to

            act as controls for other nation-states due to lack of

            consistent application…

               Alternatively, international law may hold more

            power. As street crime research has shown, social

            location and position strongly influences deterrence…

            Those actors most likely to be involved in state

            crime would seem to be those who are most

            influenceable by law. This observation forms

            the foundation of our arguments here focused

            on the ability of the ICC to eliminate impunity

            and engender a deterrent value of certain inter-

            national laws.


            Finally, Rothe and Mullins recognize the inefficacy of the UN’s Security Council, for example, to sanction states endlessly. But “without formal mechanisms to enforce those sanctions, there is nothing to compel compliance, thus providing further opportunity for state criminogenic behaviors” (Ibid.).  They also underscore the social  tardiness of the actions of the international community when they note that the “most egregious of crimes, those which the ICC has been designed to prosecute, such controls have historically done little to deter; typically, they come into play long after criminal actions are over and the viability and integrity of the state which has committed them has been compromised” (Ibid.).

The rest of this chapter will be divided up into three parts and a conclusion of sorts. The first part provides a taxonomy of the full range of international crimes as well as state crimes. The second part provides an integrative framework for studying both international crime and state criminality. The third part provides a view of international and state criminality from the perspective of peacemaking, nonviolence, and social change, helping to locate supranational criminology in the center of the ongoing struggle for universal human rights and against imperialist integrations or market empires.



            In terms of a “supranational criminology,” a critical taxonomy of international crimes and state criminality should begin with the “legal” and it should end with the “social.” For illustrative purposes, “does racially motivated, lethally destructive, state supported, and militarily unjustified violence constitute genocide?” (Hagan, Rymond-Richmond, and Parker 2005: 526). Well, the legal and social scientific answers to this question may be the same or they may differ as well as change over time. For example, in the case of research on the Darfur region of Sudan, Hagan, Rymond-Richmond, and Parker have argued that the answers to the questions of genocide, legal and social, should coincide. However, “the United States, the United Nations, the African Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch differ on whether and why the atrocities occurring in Darfur are best defined as a genocide, a crime against humanity, or ethnic cleansing (Ibid: 528). More specifically, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Darfur “explicitly concluded that genocide did not occur, and that war crimes and crimes against humanity did, in the course of the government’s efforts at counterinsurgency” (Ibid: 553).

            From this example, a supranational criminology needs to recognize that while all genocides by definition are crimes against humanity, not all crimes against humanity rise to the symbolic significance of genocide because of different legal, social, and political interpretations of what constitutes extraordinary crimes against humanity. More generally, a supranational criminology needs to recognize that the labels of international and state crime not only carry different political and economic meanings and as such have different social consequences, including pathways to recovery and recourses to justice, but such legal categories have not as yet recognized state-corporate criminality, nationally or internationally. Finally, a supranational criminology needs to incorporate an integrative and dynamic perspective on the reciprocal interactions of the patterned relations of interpersonal, institutional, and structural crime as these are informed by the social, cultural, ideological, and material relations of production.

Like my “reciprocal theory of violence and nonviolence” argues, as the interpersonal, institutional, and structural levels of violence or nonviolence converge in time and space, then at least three things occur: First, the severity or intensity of violence or nonviolence swells in magnitude. Second, the incidents of violence and nonviolence become more or less prevalent. Third, the distinguishing factors of the spheres of interpersonal, institutional, and structural violence and nonviolence become less distinct (Barak 2006). The same types of dynamics are at work in the presence and absence of international and state-corporate crime. Typically, however, just as most conventional analyses of crime or violence, integrated or non-integrated, remain confined to one level of analysis; the same limitations can apply to the study of supranational criminology. In the same vein, when introducing their integrated model of state crime Rothe and Mullins (2006a: 9) note: “Traditional criminological inquiry into the epistemological and etiological factors of crime and crime control has, for the most part, produced theories addressing one specific level of analysis.” They go on to make the case for an integrated, multilevel, and inclusive analysis of state crime because of the “complexities in time-space, history, culture, politics, ideology, and economics” (Ibid.)  

Situated within this reciprocal approach to international crimes and state crimes, allow me to proceed with my representation of a critical taxonomy of these harmful exchanges between individuals and states alike. According to the practice of law, international crime refers to acts such to violations of international public law. This body of law includes charters, treaties, resolutions, and customary laws, inclusive of those crimes defined by the statutes of the International Criminal Tribunals and the ICC. More specifically, only the first three types of violations of international criminal law listed below are actually covered, for example by the legal jurisdiction of the ICC:


·        Crimes against humanity

·        War Crimes

·        Genocide

·        Crimes against the peace (aka, “crimes of aggression”)


Those “crimes against the peace” are not only not subject to the ICC, they are seldom referenced since the days of the Nuremberg Trials, although they were incorporated in the Charter of the UN.

International crimes are often thought of as “transnational” crimes, but legalistically, they are “ordinary” crimes that can be prosecuted locally, even though cross-border in nature. Moreover, these criminal violations do not qualify for prosecution by international criminal tribunals. These violations include:


·        Smuggling

·        Trafficking in human beings

·        Arms trafficking

·        Drug trafficking

·        Money laundering


One might conclude, therefore, that these criminal violations can be catered to by conventional criminology and need not be of any concern to a supranational criminology. And, while this may be true, it is also the case that these crimes are increasingly influenced by and involved with the transnational global relations of these gross human rights violations. In any event, as I argue below, at least one exception in terms of priorities should be given to the transnational crime of trafficking in human beings.

             State criminality refers to “acts of commission” or “acts of omission”; the former in violation of national criminal or civil laws as well as international laws, the latter as official or unofficial social and institutional policies that result in the denial and/or repression of fundamental human rights to whole groups of people. Moreover, those crimes currently prosecutable by the ICC “all fall under the rubric of what criminologists refer to as state crime: internationally defined unlawful actions committed by nation-states, typically to advance the social, economic, ideological, or political interests of the state or those in control of the state” (Rothe and Mullins, 2006a: 1).

            Let us briefly define and/or characterize each of these categories of illegal and legal harms. First, we turn to those crimes that are against international criminal law, and to that autonomous branch of law and the courts or tribunals set up to adjudicate cases in which persons have incurred international criminal responsibility. These crimes, created by treaty and convention, may be prosecuted before international courts and tribunals, but questions of jurisdictional prosecution of persons, natural or fictitious, in the municipal or federal courts of the nation-state in which the arrest is made are subject to a variety of legal distinctions.

            For example, because the United States does not abdicate its sovereignty or recognize the primacy of international law (monism), for any international criminal law to be relevant, it must be incorporated directly into the U.S. criminal law through Congressional legislation. Thus, to meet its obligations under international agreements, the United States has enacted statues covering genocide, war crimes, torture, piracy, slavery, and trafficking in women and children. On the other hand, the Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, S.C. 2000, incorporates customary international law, including the following as domestic crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, breach of responsibility by a military commander or a superior civilian or otherwise, offenses against the administration of justice of the ICC, and possession or laundering of proceeds derived from these crimes. More generally, under s51 of the International Criminal Court Act 2001, the ICC has complimentary jurisdiction to prosecute where states do not prosecute (unable or unwilling), if the state where the crime occurred or the state where the perpetrators are from are both signatories and ratifiers of the Rome statute.

            More particularly, in international law “crimes against humanity” refer to acts of murderous persecution against a body of people whose harm is superior to the harm of all other criminal offences. Post World War II the International Military Tribunal and the Nuremberg articles defined crimes against humanity as: murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts committed against a civilian population, before or during the war; or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of, or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated. According to Article II of the Genocide Convention, any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group involving such behaviors as:

·        killing members of the group,

·        causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group,

·        deliberately inflicting on the groups conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,

·        imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group,

·        forcibly transferring children of the group to another group (Hagan et al. 2005: 528).


  More recently, the Treaty for the “Rome Statute” of the International Criminal Court established in The Hague in 2002 follows the principle of complimentary. During the process of negotiations, 1996-1998, the issue of universal jurisdiction was a significant stumbling block for several states (e.g. China, U.S., and Israel). As with many, if not most, processes of lawmaking, compromises occurred and the Court failed to attain universal jurisdiction. The closest thing approaching universal jurisdictional powers lies with the ability of the Security Council to forward a case to the Court regardless of whether or not that state had ratified the Treaty. Nevertheless, the ICC has authority over genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. For the purpose of the Statute, crimes against humanity includes any of the following acts when “committed as part of a widespread or systematic attaché directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack”:


(a)    Murder;

(b)   Extermination;

(c)    Enslavement;

(d)   Deportation or forcible transfer of population;

(e)    Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;

(f)     Torture;

(g)    Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence in comparable gravity;

(h)    Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;

(i)      Enforced disappearance of persons;

(j)     The crime of apartheid;

     Other inhumane acts of a similar character internationally causing great      

                 suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health (Rome            

                  Statute 1998: Article 7).


           Similarly, “crimes against the peace” though seldom referenced today were first incorporated into the Nuremberg Principles and subsequently included in the United Nations Charter. In international law, a crime against the peace “consists of starting or waging a war against the territorial integrity, political independence or sovereignty of a state, or in violation of international treaties, bilateral agreements or (leally binding) assurances” Wikipedia 2006a: 1). The acts are also referred to as “crimes of aggression” when they use armed force with the intent to deprive a state of any part of its territory, permanent population, constitutionally independent government, ability to conduct relations with other nation-states, or with the intent to overthrow the government of a state or to impede its freedom to act unhindered. In the hierarchy of international law, crimes against the peace theoretically trump virtually all other international crimes, except when such aggression is engaged through the United Nations with the aim of repressing genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, slavery, torture, and/or piracy. Regretfully, while the ICC incorporates crimes of aggression, it left undefined until a future time when such definitional jurisdiction could be agreed upon by member states.

Finally, “war crimes” in international law refer to those punishable criminal offences that violate the laws of war and involve an inter-state conflict by any person or persons, military or civilian.  War crimes not only refer to violations international humanitarian law and to the established protections of the laws of war, but also include failures to adhere to norms of procedure and rules of battle. These acts may include mistreatment of prisoners of war or civilians, and are subject to the ICC. War crimes are sometimes part of instances of mass murder and genocide, and can overlap with those crimes under international humanitarian law described as crimes against humanity.

Next, we turn our attention to “transnational crimes” such as smuggling, trafficking in human beings, arms trafficking, drug trafficking, and money laundering. Although cross-border in nature, these “ordinary” crimes can be prosecuted by individual states. However, as I noted above, I believe that a case can be made for including trafficking in human beings within the domain of supranational criminology proper along with international and state criminality. To put it simply, trafficking in human beings differs from the other transnational crimes, even that of people smuggling. The latter receive illegal entry into a country for a fee, and are free to go as they wish after arriving. The former are subjected to an equivalent of modern day slavery. Trafficking in human beings is also likely to involve physical force, fraud, deception, or other forms of coercion or intimidation to obtain, recruit, harbor, and transport people. As for the definitions of these crimes, they are as follows:

·        Smuggling is illegal transport, in particular across a border. Taxes are avoided; or the goods themselves are illegal; or people are transported to a place where they are not allowed to be (Wikipedia 2006b: 1).

·        Trafficking in human beings is the criminal commercial trade (“smuggling”) of human beings, who are subjected to involuntary acts such as begging, sexual exploitation (e.g., prostitution and forced marriage), or unfree labour (e.g., involuntary servitude or working in a sweatshops (Wikipedia 2006c: 1).

·        Arms trafficking encompasses the illicit trade usually, but not always, in small arms, involving “the exchange of weapons for money, drugs, and other commodities that crosses national borders and spans the globe” often representing the weapons of choice in the majority of today’s regional conflicts and by many terrorist groups operating around the world today (Stohl 2005: 1).

·        Drug trafficking refers to the illegal trading of illegal drugs within the underground international economy whose activity may also consists of the production and distribution of illegal psychoactive substances Wikipedia 2006d: 1).

·        Money laundering, “the metaphorical ‘cleansing of money’ with regards to appearances in law, is the practice of engaging in specific financial transactions in order to conceal the identity, source and/or destination of money and is a main operation of underground economy” (Wikipedia 2006e: 1).


Before turning to state crimes, it is worth underscoring that money laundering has come along way since the days of Prohibition in the United States and the conviction of Al Capone in 1931 for tax evasion. Historically, the term “money laundering” was applied exclusively to financial transactions related to organized crime. Today, government regulators, such as the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, have expanded its application “to encompass any financial transaction which generates an asset or a value as the result of an illegal act, which may involve actions such as tax evasion or false accounting” (Ibid.).

            Lastly, we turn our attention to state crimes. In addition to the “crimes of commission” or to the nation-state violations of domestic criminal and civil laws, as well as various forms of international law, there are the “crimes of omission” or the nation-state-corporate harms “committed by government agencies or caused by public policies” that “create additional groupings of victims and forms of victimization that are traditionally overlooked or downplayed: victims of social, political, and economic injustice; victims of racial, sexual, and cultural discrimination; and victims of abuse of political and/or economic power” (Barak 1991a: 4; Arat-Koc 2005; Gosnine 2005; Razack 2005). These state crimes may also derive from occupational positioning or political motivations. For example, “occupational” state crimes are usually identified with and committed by individuals employed by the government who take advantage of their positions to engage in crime for personal and/or monetary gain. Unlike political state crimes, these crimes are not motivated by a desire to maintain the status quo or to resist or facilitate change, and they are not engaged in by agents working from the top down (Barak 1991a).

In their hybrid state-corporate formations, these state-facilitated crimes of business commission and governmental omission, for example, should also include the estimated 15,000 young boys who were enslaved in the Ivory Coast in 2001, a place where nearly half of all the world’s cocoa beans—chocolate’s essential ingredient—is still produced. On small farms in this part of the world, young boys pick cocoa beans from dusk to dawn. Traffickers, or “locateurs,” as they are called, approach young boys offering toys and good-paying jobs. The boys are then sold to unscrupulous growers, who force them to work long hours harvesting. These growers are also known to beat their child laborers with branches, bicycle chains, and other objects. The cocoa beans are then sold to “silent conspirators,” the chocolate industry, represented in the United States by Hershey and M & M/Mars. These twenty-first century forms of child slavery persist because of other conspirators as well, including federal contracts and taxpayer subsidies for the cocoa and chocolate industry, led by the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, have often succeeded in defeating protectionist legislation outlawing any dealings with these forms of child slavery (Working for Change 2001). The lack of social and legal controls, in short, allows these types of gross human rights violations and oppressive forms of exploitation to persist as globally normative for some, but certainly not all, nation-states.



The study of international crimes and state criminality is by definition a politically charged enterprise involving, among other things, the study of power, ideology, law, and justice—domestic, international, and global.  As was noted in the introduction, the study of international crimes and state crimes cannot be separated from the processes and, therefore, study of a global political economy. Moreover, the dialectical relationships of the nation-state and its agents and representatives as both “protectors” and “violators” of international and state criminality, require that a supranational criminology incorporate as fundamental to its study and analysis not only the dynamic relations of a privatizing capitalist state, but also a praxis of research and activist intervention that strives to shape a global or universal agenda over that of a transnational state-corporate agenda. 

Studying these social, political, and criminal relations necessitates that criminologists and others develop conceptual frameworks of international and state criminality that are not only inclusive of the “socio-legal” as described in the previous section, but that are also capable of aiding our understanding and evaluation of the “gravity” or relative harms and injuries caused by an array of criminal behaviors and/or neoliberal policies of nation-states, North and South, East and West. There is also a need to examine the evolving international criminal apparatus for policing and adjudicating international and state criminality. In addition, an integrative perspective to international and state crimes calls for an interdisciplinary and comparative approach to the study of the overlapping interpersonal, institutional, and structural harms and violations as well as the responses to these gross human rights violations, capable of constructing both a comprehensive etiology that incorporates the full range of the social and behavioral sciences as well as the humanities and a thoughtful recourse toward helping to maximize or universalize human rights in both discourse and practice.

            An integrative or “holistic” approach to international social relations and problems is not exactly a new concept. Holistic thinking of this kind was characteristic of the 19th century whether one is discussing Durkheim, Weber, or Marx. In the post WWII period, the preglobalization goal of the UNESCO project was to pursue a holistic and rational understanding of interpersonal and international conflicts. While this project did not succeed, some arguing that its time has passed; others, however, argue that its time is only still emerging and, therefore, could come to fruition somewhere down the road. Whatever happens historically from this point forward in the study of international crimes and state crimes, the age of globalism, post-modernism, and fragmentism holds open the possibility for an integrative spirit of social science activism, despite the rather conciliatory stance toward state capital espoused by those advocates of the Third Way such as social theorist Anthony Giddens (2000) or former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

            Much of the text and subtext of our discussion and examination of international crimes and state crimes is inescapably about the dialectical processes involved in the integration “versus” disintegration of the world’s populations: including the feasibilities, obstacles, and contradictions of these relations. In its original depictions, during the 1950s and 1960s, the social science integrative approach linked predatory crime and violence primarily to two sources: conflict and crisis. In the former model, they were viewed as a product of willful agency or as situated persons. Their acts, in other words, were calculating, instrumental, and involved adversarial strategies of game theory. In the latter model, these crimes were a manifestation of what was in some ways a dysfunctional bureaucracy or pathological failure of the system itself, where individuals reacted according to their positions in the social order. The problem back then, in a nutshell, was viewed as a part of the modernization project of progress and reform, and how not only to integrate the actors into the system as a way of reducing conflict, but also how to reform the system’s institutional failures so as to avoid crisis.

            In the globalized and post-modern neo-liberal world of the contemporary corporate-state complex, the study of predatory crime and interpersonal violence in general and of nonstate terrorist acts in particular dwarfs the attention and resources given to the study of the “crimes of the powerful” (e.g., corporate, state), be they national or international violators. At the same time as there is this relative indifference to these state-corporate violations, the case of the United States and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq or the one holding “enemy combatants” of the U.S. at Guantanomo Bay, Cuba, come immediately to mind, there is also a resignation of sorts to the growing problems of international crime and the violations of universal human rights as “given,” subject to finding the best policies of “what works” and “what doesn’t” in the effort to “control” and “regulate” rather than “reduce” or “eradicate” these problems. These types of criminal “omissions” and narrow conceptualizations are typically not challenged by administrative criminologists and other social scientists in service to the state who are dependent for their research on funding from “neoliberal” state-corporate sources with their own agendas to contract for.  In fact, as Tombs and Whyte (2003: 262-263) explain:


                           The greatest challenge faced by those who wish to conduct

                        research which presents an alternative to the neo-liberal view

                        of the world may not necessarily be an intellectual one. After

                        all, much of the theoretical justification both for the primacy

                        of the market and for the strident pro-business stance of

                        contemporary Western states is based upon updated versions

                        of eighteenth and nineteenth century liberal economic and

                        social theory—hence the “neo” bit. It is not difficult to

                        challenge intellectually these variants of primitive and

                        reductionist economism, whether the rational choice theorists

                        in criminology or the “trickle down” ideologues of classical

                        economics. Much more difficult is breaking down the new

                        common sense, the conventional wisdom of neo-liberalism,

                        that has accumulated momentum in recent years—and most

                        centrally, the idea that “There is no Alternative” (TINA) to

                         the global expansion of a neo-liberal capitalism. Confronting

                        this mantra has become a necessary part of conducting critical



            Part of confronting the mantra involves bringing back into the analysis of crime in general and of international and state crime in particular, the relations of “class conflict” and a Marxist political economy. Reflective of a reciprocal and dialectical approach to the base and superstructure, a “political economy” as an organizing framework or as a general approach to interdisciplinary study has a powerful logic, transgressing the disciplinary straightjackets of politics, economics, and international relations, and at the same time, requiring analyses of the way in which ideas about what constitutes crime and justice have emerged, in contrast to the ahistorical character of much of what currently passes for criminology and sociology. Once more from Tombs and Whyte (2003: 263),


                        political economy is crucial in that its integrated

                        historical and international character forces us to

                        recognize that there are always alternatives—

                        things are, have been, and can be different. Marxist

                        political economy shares these features, but is

                        specifically organized around concepts and ideas

                        that have greater (not, as is claimed, less or even no)

                        relevance today than when first forged in the adolescent

                        stage of capitalist development. The labor theory of

                        value and the theory of surplus value, the necessarily

                        antagonistic relationship between classes, and the

                        inherent tendency of capitalism to expand destructively

                        while at the same time reproducing the contradictions

                        upon which it is founded, are all crucial tools for

                        understanding and engaging with the trajectories of the

                        world around us.


            Of course this is no less true for the study of international crime and state criminality. Yet, while we still have predatory crime and violence as conflict and crisis, we now also have increasingly violence as semi-autonomous, “purely” destructive or self-destructive acts, ends in themselves. Whereas previously instrumentally organized violence was the predominant form of violence, and pathological or periodic crises in institutions due to non or mal-integration was viewed as “causing” personal violence, there are now, in addition, forms of individual and group violence characteristic or expressive of the structurally and cultural deteriorating relations of early 21st century neo-liberal capitalism as it moves back-and-forth or between the preglobal world order of nation-states and into the new global world order of transnational corporate laissez-faire market states (Barak 2003; Derber 1998).

            Clearly, there has been a diversification, not to mention an intensification of the levels of predatory crime and violence worldwide. In the post-modern world of state social science, the view seems to be less optimistic about the possibilities of integrating the actors into the system than it is about repressing marginality, opposition, and resistance, and of resigning itself to a perpetual system of inequality and privilege with its “systemic” crimes in “high” and “low” places. That is to say that the majority of contemporary schools of violence seem to share a common pessimism: “that the world is increasingly a stage without actors and attracted uniquely by the law of the jungle constituted by the market, chaos, or clash of identities and cultures, much more than by relationships that are negotiated involving a minimum of mutual recognition” (Wieviorka 2003: 116). This defeatist, cynical, and acquiescent social science of inequality, injustice, and state violence, needs to be challenged by a critical approach that recognizes that there are small yet growing worldwide efforts aimed at peacemaking and mutualism, for instance, and that these global social movements and the changing nature of crime and violence all need to be analyzed in terms of both “free-market” globalization and empire (Korten 2006).

             Despite these intellectual shortcomings, I would argue that whether one ascribes to a “clash of cultures” perspective, a “unipolar” perspective with the United States as the only superpower or empire state, a “multipolar” perspective involving not just the USA, but other political, economic, and social groupings and organizations, a highly “fragmented” perspective with the risk of generalized violence, destruction, and/or annihilation, or a neoliberal “third way” hybridization of Keynesian and post-Keynesian economic policies—all of which are indicative of a new paradigm of the study of global crime and violence—that students and critical scholars of international and state crimes need to now, more than ever, analyze these phenomena in its theoretical and applied totality, both in the spirit of the older UNESCO project and in the spirit of the newer human rights and social justice agendas, ensnared by or in dialogue with an integrated political economy of advanced capitalism.

            Not even a preliminary discussion of an integrated study of international crimes and state crimes, such as this one, would be near complete without some discussion of the availability of access to offenders and sites of offending and/or the appropriate methods to employ in the pursuit of a supranational criminology. Like the relative absence of the study of corporate and state crime from academic criminology and beyond, the study of a supranational criminology, especially as a newly emerging field of study, is subject to a dearth of relevant work and experience to draw upon as methodological resources. In other words, methods to date for researching international and state crimes are vastly underdeveloped, and wanting. Interestingly, in a related discussion of “scrutinizing the powerful,” Tombs and Whyte (2003: 7-8) comment:


                        There are no examples of texts organized around

                        a sustained concern for methodological issues

                        raised in the processes of “researching the powerful,”

                        either within criminology or indeed across social

                        science. Neither is this vacuum in methodological

                        work confined to Britain or Europe: it is a global

                        phenomenon. At the same time, within criminology,

                        but also across the broad spectrum of the social

                        sciences, work which addresses questions of method

                        and methodology is proliferating…


One could certainly say the same thing about the study of international crimes and state crimes, as the perpetrators of these offenses are primarily powerful people, groups, organizations, and networks. Similarly, access to these relatively powerful offenders and their sites of offending are difficult at best, and contrast somewhat sharply with access to at least some of the victims of these crimes. Of course, methods of generating data on international crimes is certainly easier than generating data on state crimes, especially since much of the latter remains part of the “dark figures” of crime. In fact, there are a few official cross-national crime data sets with their usual problems of reliability and validity such as Interpol or the European Sourcebook, an International Crime Victimization Survey (ICVS), and the UN’s Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice, not to mention the reports of various NGOs and other nonprofit organizations such as Amnesty International, the UN Human Rights Commission, or the Human Rights Committee established in 1966 to monitor compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is binding.

Incomplete data on international crime and state crime, official or unofficial, is certainly better than no data, but at the same time, an understanding of the nature of these crimes, in addition to the quantitative numbers, calls for the development of an international “cultural criminology” derivative of qualitative, ethnographic, and/or historical investigations. These types of hybrid or integrated studies can facilitate making the crucial connections between the specific changes, fluctuations, and patterns in international crimes and state criminality and the general relations of advanced capitalism and its corresponding policies of contributing to or reducing these harms in the light of the proverbial “what works” and “what doesn’t work” (Barak 2001). A few studies come to my mind that exemplify the kinds of research that I believe are fundamental to a supranational criminology. First, there is Rothe and Mullins’ (2006a) examination of global social control, the ICC, and its response to the war crimes and crimes against humanity within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Second, there are those studies by John Hagan and his colleagues, one addressing the prosecution of the crimes of war in the Balkans (2003) and the other examining the crimes of genocide in Darfur (Hagan et. al. 2005). In fact, insights from these investigations into the control or regulation of international and state criminality are reflected in the thinking underpinning this essay.

It also important, once again, to underscore the importance of specifically addressing and examining the state-corporate crimes of, for example, profiteering and racketeering over no-bid contracts for supplying mercenaries and reconstruction teams by the likes of Halliburton or Bechtel. These state-facilitated “crimes of war” benefit generally from un-prosecuted illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These business and governmental interactions benefit particularly as they are also part and parcel of an infrastructure where private contractors assist states in getting away with torture and murder as they claim “plausible deniability” as part of their defense that the government did not specifically order the crimes in question. As Michalowski and Kramer (2006: 9) underscore: these state-corporate relations create “a political culture and organizational framework that ultimately [leads] to heinous acts that would not have occurred without that culture and those frameworks.” Until these cultures and frameworks or criminogenic conditions are recognized socially and addressed legally, these crimes of gross human rights violations will remain beyond incrimination, not to mention the lesser, ordinary crimes of war, in Iraq alone, accounting for hundreds of thousands of malnourished children, a collapsing health care system unable to address preventable diseases, and the displacement of more than four million people forced to flee their homes over a four year period (Editorial in the New York Times, April 22, 2007: “Iraq’s Desperate Exodus”). 

Finally, it is these types of integrated pictures or analyses of international and state crimes and the varied responses to them that bring greater understanding of the nature of these harms and their control. At the same time, these types of study like that of the budding, and hopefully, burgeoning field of supranational criminology, will not only bring heightened attention to these offenses, pressuring academic bodies, governments, and other organizations to bring their actions into conformity with the universal declaration of human rights, but in the process research agendas of this kind will also help to further legitimate an expanding sense of an international community and of human rights worldwide. 



            There is a tendency in peace studies and nonviolent circles to discuss international conflict and power relations primarily in terms of social groups and material interests. It should be noted, however, that these social, political, and economic interests for addressing issues of international, state, and state-corporate crime are also psychological. Many of these psychic interests, which tend to be personal and even subconscious in nature, are experienced as unresolved  “conflicts and desires” in a Freudian sense. In different words, these personal-political conflicts or desires are often as, or more, emotional than they are material.  Accordingly, in the name of peace and justice we often see patterns of both violence and injustice rationalized away for some kind of greater “defensive” good (Barak 2003; Donnelly 2003).

            Furthermore, models of nonviolence primarily reveal themselves in two contexts: first, as alternative or competing visions to the traditionally limited paradigmatic view of adversarialism, hierarchy, and inequality; and second, as expressive of the more recent emergent paradigm of mutualism, love, and equality. Each of these paradigmatic models for viewing human nature provides plenty of meaning and orientation to the world. In the adversarial model, human interaction “is based on conflicts of interests, wars, and the opposition of people to each other and to nature”; in the mutuality model by contrast, “cooperation, caring, nurturing, and loving” are viewed “as equally viable ways of organizing relationships of humans to each other and to nature” (Fellman 1998: 5). Historically, the adversarial model has been dominant and the mutuality model has been the subordinate or alternative model.  In the 21st century, however, it is quite likely that in the expanding spirit for universal human rights that mutualism will also grow in both its attractiveness and attainability as it becomes more familiar and more routine in global affairs.

            I do not mean to suggest that in any way short of the dialectics of materialism that there is some kind of natural or linear progression or evolution from adversarialism to mutualism or from violent to nonviolent relationships either between people or nation-states. Nor am I suggesting that these competing cultural and mental states of being are exclusive of the other or that they do not coexist in time and space. On the contrary, my argument elsewhere has been that both have existed in some kind of social, political, and ideological relation to each other for thousands of years (Barak 2003). Hence, I argue here that both paradigms need to be taken seriously by a supranational criminology as each expresses the often contradictory interaction of self and society or of character and social structure, and these apply to the full range of ordinary and extraordinary crimes of violence.

            The struggle to develop a fuller and richer mutualism as a challenge not only to reign in and control our adversarial tendencies, but also as a means of resisting those international crimes and state criminality more particularly, involves individuals, families, communities, tribes, nation-states, and, ultimately, the planet, all working together to alter traditional as well as international patterns of social interaction.  These struggles against the hegemony of neoliberal policies of global market economies or against the older feudalistic-authoritarian, anti-democratic regimes, and in the name of social justice and human rights, or for the creation of more equitable, peaceful, and nonviolent alternatives to revenge, retribution, and repressive justice, are not about negating competitiveness, conflict, capitalism, or religion per se, but rather, these are about reducing as much as possible the systematically destructive and counterproductive aspects of these social and institutionalized arrangements with respect to the etiologies of both international and state criminality. In a few words, this struggle for “social justice” is ultimately about dismantling state-corporate systems of oppression and exploitation that are at the roots of most, if not, all forms of gross human rights violations.

            What I am calling for amounts to a radical departure from mainstream social science and the neoliberal agenda of state-regulated or influenced criminology in general. In other words, I am advocating for a supranational criminology that aligns itself with international and transnational rather than with nationalistic or nation-state points of view and with those social organizations and movements trying to serve the more “collective” and interdependent interests of the larger global community. To make this type of “leap of faith” transition from a statecraft dominated point of view to a worldcraft shared point of view is to take a stance more likely to adopt nonviolent than violent approaches to social conflict.

Historically, each of the nonviolent struggles for justice that had succeeded in the latter half of the 20th century, such as the American civil rights movement to outlaw segregation and discrimination, the movement to upend the apartheid structure in South Africa, or the movement to oust the Communist Party and establish a new governmental structure in Poland, have also served to delegitimate the adversarial fallacies that only violence can overcome violence and that those battles with the greatest stakes have to be settled by force of arms. In other words, there are other less destructive pathways to regime change that do not intensify or escalate divisions between peoples. These social actions and nonviolent movements against state criminality and the violation of universal human rights share in common with all models of nonviolence and peacemaking, whether addressing interpersonal, institutional, or structural levels of conflict and violence, a belief in the spirit, theory, and practice of mutualism over the spirit, theory, and practice of adversarialism (Barak 2003).

More specifically, when it comes to peacemaking and nonviolent policy considerations, there have been national and international efforts to mobilize people in the struggle for human rights and social justice. These social movements have been both domestic and global, and from an international perspective, they have included such diverse bodies as the United Nations, regional organizations of nation-states such as the Organization of African Unity, the Organization of American States, or the European Union, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), transnational organizations (TNOs), and even multinational corporations (MNCs). In still a very limited sense, these types of organizations alone and especially in tandem have furthered efforts in peacekeeping, third-party mediation, global debating, regionalism, international law, and more, all of which contributes to an expanding and universalizing discourse of human rights and social justice.

Early into the 21st century, these types of policymaking and peacemaking efforts are seriously taking up the challenges of adversarialism, mutualism, and even world governance. As Barash and Webel (2002: 371) have written in their soon to be a classic textbook on the subject, Peace and Conflict Studies:


            Although their record has not been perfect,

            there is much to applaud in the activities of

            international organizations. Some of these—

            notably the United Nations—promote human

            planetary betterment in numerous ways,

            including but not limited to the keeping of

            negative peace, that is, the prevention or

            termination of war. They also represent a

            partial step in the progression from individualism

            through nationalism to globalism, a transition

            that may well be essential if we are ever to

            give peace a realistic chance. As such,

            international organizations can be seen as

            possible halfway houses toward the establishment

            and solidification of international law, and

            perhaps even world government.


At the international level, this means that students of supranational criminology or nation-states can also choose to package their repressed anger and hostility, and indulge in wars with enemy combatants, or they can choose to adopt peaceful strategies of cognitive interaction, altruistic humanism, and compassionate negotiation. For example, as an alternative to waging war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the USA could have declared Al Qaeda and its terrorist conspirators “mass murders” for their actions of 9/11. Their terrorist actions did not have to necessitate an escalation of violence in the name of a “war on terrorism.” In other words, there already are criminal laws against terrorism both domestically and internationally. These crimes don’t require going to war against nation-states, even when they harbor such perpetrators, particularly when doing so involves “pre-emptive” first strikes that are in violation of international law. Thus, these terrorist acts should have been fundamentally treated as international crimes against humanity, and these terrorists could have been pursued as wanted outlaws rather than as military or enemy combatants (Barak 2005).

Such an approach to 9/11 would have helped to differentiate associated peoples, Islamic and non-Islamic, who happen to reside in countries where terrorists have been recruited and trained, from terrorists themselves. In the process of engaging in a more traditional retributive form of justice and pursuit of these criminals, vis-à-vis the “rule of law” rather than the “rule of force,” the USA could have helped to isolate rather than to spread the “extremist” behavior in the name of some kind of radical fundamentalism. At the same time, the U.S. itself would not have also committed a variety of war crimes and crimes against humanity, in addition to the more fundamental crimes against the peace. In short, as a criminal or human rights matter and not a matter of warmaking, the U.S. would have avoided the occupation of two countries in the center of the Arab and Islamic world, and inadvertently assisted with the spreading of both bin Ladenism in general and sectarian violence in particular, as part of an expanding and reciprocal spiraling of acts of terrorism and counter-terrorism.



            The type of integrative and reciprocal praxis described in this chapter as well as its vision for a supranational criminology of international and state-corporate criminality relies on a fundamental appreciation that gross human rights violations is ultimately an expression of the political economy of inequality and repression that operates through, between, and within the intersections of governments and businesses. Hence, in the real world of capital and geopolitical conflict and power, bringing about both the expansion of what constitutes gross human rights violations, or what reaches the level of gravity necessary to release the socio-political mechanisms and/or international legal procedures in place for confronting these crimes against humanity when they reach some kind of relative moral-objective status of “extraordinary” rather than “ordinary” crimes, as well as what constitutes those political-economic realities necessary to facilitate both the global development of economic democracies and the global development of the legal controls and regulations of systems of oppression and exploitation as a means of or for preventing gross human rights violations in the first place, requires a worldwide multilaterallism, a shared consciousness of identity and ethics based on a global social contract, and a willingness of states to be able to give up some aspects of their sovereignty to allow for a realpolitik of internationalism.

At the same time, with respect to an emerging supranational criminological endeavor only in its infancy, there is much work and study to be conducted. Still fundamental to its development are the needs to articulate the key methodological, theoretical, and applied parameters capable of exercising social justice in the pursuit of challenging international and state criminality as well as facilitating the means for controlling these crimes against humanity. All of the political, economic, ideological, social, and legal changes and adaptations required will, of course, takes years of struggle. That struggle, however, should not only be waged in the socially constructed juridical worlds of “bourgeois” law and order, but also more fundamentally in the politically and economically constructed worlds of “universal” law and order.

The reciprocal political-economic model to studying global relations and supranational criminology called for here has been grounded in a Gramscian analysis of democratic social science and dialectical materialism. Thus, it is geared towards the development of mixed social economies within the framework of “fair” rather than “free” economies of global capitalism. Stated differently, an “extant international community founded on core principles of universal rights and justice is the best hope that disempowered and marginalized populations have to counteract the currently prevailing forces of ever increasing domination of Western capital and of US imperial ambitions” (Rothe and Mullins 2006b: 26). From an historical perspective, both of these types of global social movements are conducive for the development and expansion of international law and, ultimately, very long range, for the establishment of some kind of world parliament or global government that regulates the “laissez-fare” neoliberal market for the benefit of the global masses. Specifically, these social movements are in struggle against or resistance to the dominant neoliberal policies of laissez-faire capitalism and privatization, responsible for such escalating global issues as poverty, inequality, and social conflict, the “fuel” for the transnationalization of crime and crime control. 

In closing off this conceptualization of international and state crime, I see a partisan, integrative, and reciprocal approach to the study of gross human rights violations and the linkage of this scholarly activity, with those groups and organizations independently involved in the movement for universal human rights and against crimes against humanity, as absolutely essential to the successful deployment of a supranational criminology. In other words, only by evolving a global criminology dedicated to eradicating as many of the “causes” of international and state-corporate crime as possible and to establishing as many “protections” from all types of social harm and human exploitation, will a supranational criminology survive and develop as a viable alternative to nation-state criminologies.


*The author wishes to thank Dawn Rothe and Alette Smeulers for their comments on an earlier draft. For the final version of this chapter, I would like to thank all the participants at the Maastricht Expert Meeting for their papers/chapters/presentations/discussions.






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