Critique of Provisions for & Definitions of
OCTOBER 1ST 2014
Defining organized crime has proven to be a general difficulty throughout history. The belief of this paper is that definition is crucial, however, at the same time one should identify that within the scope of organized crime, definition has been quite subjective and controversial. The reason why it is important is because the exact way in which organized crime is defined goes a significant distance in determining how legislation and laws are constructed, how research studies are completed, how examinations and prosecutions are coordinated, and lastly, how interactive and connected legal assistance across national and international borders is or is not provided. What one may understand organized crime to be, and how seriously the society regards it, will also decide the amount of the public's support for policies and resources to confront and address it. Therefore, due to the fact that there lies severe inconsistencies and deviations from a true and uniform definition of organized crime, the public and law enforcement is confronted with a major dilemma as to the route of understanding and elimination of such illegal facet. There are numerous difficulties, which can be found within defining organized crime, one of which, can be discovered within the work of the United Nations convention on transnational organized crime in the late twentieth century. Seeking agreement on a definition indeed proved to be one of the most difficult issues for the negotiators within the UN, which resulted in a very broad, almost useless, sort of least common denominator definition, which I will discuss further within the paper.
The objective of the paper is to not only critique, but commend the definitions which have been set out by the Government of Canada, the UN, the FBI and Canadian and American scholars. This will provide the reader with questions regarding international uniformity and cohesion, along with ways in which defining organized crime can be improved upon.
The first area of focus that will be addressed is section 467.1 through to section 467.13, of the Criminal Code of Canada, which address membership in a criminal organization. Within the code section 467.1 is as mentioned in appendix 1. Although one could argue that this is a working definition and is subjective just alike every other section within the Criminal Code, I believe that there are some inherent flaws, along with major strengths. A major strength of the definition is that the criminal code clarifies that although organized crime must contain at least three or more people, it identifies that the legal definition is based on the “exclusion of a group of three of more persons that has formed randomly for the immediate commission of a single offence.”1 Furthermore, it identifies boundaries and borders, which is important in declaring that criminal organizations can be considered regardless if they operate within there borders or not. However, the definition is ignorant to the fact that not all organized crime syndicates are reliant upon monies from every illegal activity performed. A contemporary example of this is the Islamic State, which I would agree is a terrorist group, but also a organized crime group, who’s actions are not solely for profit but have ulterior motives. This can be challenged by section 2d within the charter that advocates for freedom of association. This section explains that Canadians are free to associate with whomever the chose despite their affiliation or connections.
Another definition, which will be analyzed within the criminal code, is section 462.31, laundering proceeds of crime, which, is often directly correlated to organized crime. For sake of conserving space, this paper will assume that one has informed himself with the definition. This definition, despite the difficulty in proving such...
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