r google-plus facebook twitter linkedin2 nujij Monitor Nieuwsbrief pdclogo man met tas twitter boek

Lecture by Raymond Kendall

Honorary Secretary General of the ICPO Interpol (1985 - 2001)




Law Enforcement in Europe

I am very honoured to be in the historic city of Utrecht to speak to you on the subject of law enforcement in Europe.

At a time when much of the media interest in Europe tends to focus on European Union initiatives it is pleasant to be able to present the point of view of a long and well-established intergovernmental organisation which over more than seventy years of its existence may be considered to have gained some experience and authority in the matter. I see the opportunity which is given to me this evening as a recognition of that authority.

I also believe that it is particularly appropriate that this evening’s subject should follow that of Lord Carrington’s Lecture last year on ‘Peace and Security in Europe’, because the subject of law enforcement also relates to the peace and security of the citizens even if the orientation is slightly different. In each case concerted international action must be the order of the day when faced with an international threat.

I would begin looking briefly into the past to see whether the problems have been identified and what succes, if any, has been achieved in resolving them.

European police cooperation in tangible form began in 1888 when Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands decided to set up a form of cooperation to deal with criminality. It was decided to set up a centre of information to collect, analyse and distribute data on criminals operating in several countries.

In 1893 Professor Van Liszt of Berlin University wrote: ‘We live in an era when the professional thief or swindler feels equally at home in Paris, Vienna or London, when counterfeit notes are prod­uced in France or England and passed in Germany, when gangs of criminals operate continuously over several countries.’ Is the situation so very different today?

A wave of anarchist crimes, notably in Eastern Europe led the Italian government to organise in 1898 in Rome a European Conference on anarchist activity. This conference already had a certain impact in relation to the harmonisation of law enforcement. An agreement was reached to set up central units in the affected countries and to exchange directly on a monthly basis information between the central units. Agreement was also reached on the standard use of the Bertillon system for identification purposes. In this way the international methods of the countries were required to adapt themselves to an international situation.

Other meetings took place in other parts of the world – the Police Congress in Buenos Aires in 1905, and the international Police Conferences in Madrid in 1909, Sao Paolo in 1912 and Washington in 1913. These were essentially informal meetings of police chiefs who developed international relations on a personal basis. In fact, the 1905 congress in Buenos Aires did give rise to an attempted convention between Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay to exchange information on the regional activities of criminals operating internationally.

But to return to Europe. It is generally recognised that the first International Congress of Judicial Police held in Monaco in 1914 at the initiative of prince Albert I was the starting point of true interna­tional law enforcement cooperation in Europe. The President of the congress French law, professor Larnaude said, ‘direct contact between judicial and police authorities of different countries is becoming more necessary every day. The inbuilt delays in pursuit and arrest beyond national countries should be removed.’ Perhaps the most telling of his remarks which is still applicable today was ‘The new and marvellous techniques which science daily makes available to states and individuals in the domain of communication between

peoples should in the first instance be used in the prevention and pursuit of crime.’

He went on to say: ‘Assuring security is the first of state func­tions, not only for an individual state but for states between each other. If we can understand that they hesitate to alienate small portions of their sovereignty in some domains, these scruples and hesitations are not justified when it is a question of fighting crime.’

Eighty-one years later almost to the day is this not still valid? The resolutions of the Congress concerning the establishment of central­ised international criminal records have been realised. They exist in the Interpol headquarters in Lyons. Those concerning standardised rapid extradiction procedures operating throughout the world have not – a major source of frustration to police and judicial authorities ,which works in favour of the international criminal.

I do not wish to dwell too much on the historical aspects but suffice it to say that the International Criminal Police Commission was created in 1923 in Vienna and functioned in a similar basic way to that in which Interpol does today until 1939 and the outbreak of the Second World War.

One of the successful pre-war cases of European cooperation is worthy of mention since it may have changed the course of history. On 10th October 1934 the French received information concerning a possible assassination attempt against the new German Chancellor Adolph Hitler. A man named Huss or Hess had been engaged by a clandestine group based in Switzerland to assassinate Hitler.

The French police carried out meticulous enquiries into this information and eventually identified a suspect who had attempted to make contact with German Communist refugees in Sarre. This information was passed to the police in the German Reich, who we can only presume took the necessary preventive measures. We shall

never know.

The post-war history of Interpol after the establishment of its headquarters in France is one of continuous development to the point where today it has 176 member countries, the second largest international organisation after the United Nations Organisation, with a communication network second to none, a criminal information sy­stem with direct access for countries for certain data, notably relating to wanted persons and a fast developing crime analysis capacity.

It is important to establish from the outset what we mean by Europe. Five years ago for Interpol, Europe was 28 countries when today it is 45. For Europol it is fifteen, having been twelve until recent­ly.

I make this point because in law enforcement operational terms it is important to speak of Europe as a whole and not as a sub-regional part, a whole which exists as a continental entity but which cannot isolate itself from the necessity of a global strategy to deal with international crime which is also intercontinental.

For the moment, let us look at the international crime situation in Europe.



There have been two major dimensional changes in Europe in recent times: one geographical and the other related to criminality. These two changes have had, and will continue to have for some time to come influences on law enforcement.

The geographical change is in the dimension of Europe following changes in the political situation in Eastern Europe. Europe for Interpol almost doubled in size from 27 to 44 member countries and an area of operation previously virtually closed to international cooperation was opened up. This change also brought with it different crime problems.

The euphoria which heralded these changes has slowly dissi­pated in the face of the difficulties which have now become apparent. The legal and administrative structures which should have been put in place as soon as possible to create conditions conducive to good development in difficult economic conditions are still not adequately in place.

Legislation to deal with organised crime is only now under discussion in the Russia Federation’s parliament. Meanwhile the authorities have been to a certain extent overtaken by the mushrooming in criminality. There is no doubt as to the political will to deal with this situation but the follow-up action is not easy to achieve. Every assist­ance should be given to those countries in Eastern Europe which find themselves in this situation. It is evident that this phenomenon has changed the face of criminality in Europe. A new type of organised criminality has manifested itself, which resorts to violence as a first measure to achieve its aims.

With the new situation it is important to distinguish between the traditional notion of organised crime as it related to the Italian Mafia and Camorra, the Chinese Triads and the Japanese Yakuza, linked to a particular historical context, and the others. These groups generally have a structured hierarchy, internal rules of discipline, codes of conduct and are involved in a variety of criminal activities. Their main particularity is their continuity. If their leaders are not arrested, re­newed or die, they remain essentially unchanged in their structures. They usually only resort to violence as a last resort when extortion, racketeering and corruption have failed. Violence means increased risk.

Then there are what we might call the specialist groups which specialise in one or two specific types of criminality. They are less structures than a Mafia type organisation. A good example would be the European networks which specialise in trafficking in stolen vehicles. They are made up of cellular operational units each of which has a specific role – the actual theft, and modifications, the international transportation, and the manufacture of the necessary false documentation. There is no real continuity in the different stages of methodology and outside events can easily upset the balance of power within the organisation. This makes them, in some ways, more difficult to penetrate than the Mafia type groups.

Trafficking in stolen vehicles from Western to Eastern Europe is a major international problem. Before the politico-economic changes we were essentially faced with a problem of luxury vehicles such as Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Rolls Royce, high-value cars stolen for special markets in Africa and the Middle East. Now it is more mid-range vehicles stolen in Western Europe for delivery to the East. This traffic has reached such proportions that our response has had to be to create, in our headquarters in Lyons, an international database which will be the sum of the national databases of our member states. Modern technology makes the storage, management and direct access to such vast amounts of data possible today and we believe our system will be operational before the end of the year.

The last type of organised criminality may be regarded as opportunist, a category which has seen the most expansion in recent times. This can also be attributed to socio-economic conditions, differences in standards of living and culture, and more especially, to a lack of stable and structured administrative and commercial systems in new democracies. Opportunities to make money quickly are easily recognised and exploited. These ‘opportunist’ groups are flexible and the controlling elements are not always apparent. This helps to explain why it is claimed that there are as many as 4.000 different groups in the Russian Federation. They are gradually declining in number as the smaller groups are absorbed by the larger more powerful ones. There is a real danger of the mafia-type groups being created but, in my view, it is too early to use the term ‘Russian Mafia.’ The Russian groups are characterised by their immediate resorting to violence to achieve their objectives.

The threat to Europe from this phenomenon is the increasing internationalization of the activity, with links between groups in different countries being established, helped by free movement of ethnic groups from one part of the continent to the other.

This has spilled over into well-established organised crime elements in Western Europe and North America. We should not, how­ever, over-estimate the importance of this. The differences in East/West economic situations have given rise to increases in certain types of trafficking, stolen vehicles, works of art, weapons and more recently, but to a limited extent, nuclear products. International police cooperation is a must but only a palliative pending the establishment of an economic equilibrium.

The second dimensional change has taken place over a relatively longer period of time in terms of years but in the space of a very short period of time in terms of the evolution of humanity. I refer, of course, to the problem of drugs.

Twenty years ago, Europe basically had no drug problem. Morphine was transformed into heroin in Marseilles for the North American market. The well-known film ‘The French Connection’ concerned a quantity of approximately one hundred kilos, an amount which today would not be regarded as particularly significant.

In 1994 in Europe 10 tons of heroin, 28 tons of cocaine and 500 tons of cannabis were seized, a considerable increase on 1993 figures. Production is increasing, illicit traffic is increasing, availability is increasing, law enforcement action is responsible for increasing numbers of seizures and arrests, but drug abuse is not decreasing. It is claimed to be responsible directly or indirectly for as much as 50% of our criminality in certain areas.

It is indeed disquieting that we should have arrived at this level of saturation in such a short time. The purpose of my speech is not to deal with an issue which would merit many hours of attention but in the European law enforcement context the issue cannot be avoided.

The basis of drug policy in most countries has been, and contin­ues to be insistence on law enforcement as being the essential element in dealing with the problem. This is understandable from the political point of view because resources put into law enforcement will give immediate results, more persons arrested, more drugs

seized therefore a successful policy. This explains why, in the United States, the only country from which I have been able to obtain information because such studies are lacking in Europe, in dealing with the cocaine problem approximately 90% of resources are used for law enforcement and about 7% for demand reduction.

Demand reduction programmes require heavy investment and will not show results until some years later. They are not therefore politically attractive.

Now that it has been recognised, somewhat belated, that the abuse problem has become serious and related to the proliferation of A.I.D.S. there has been a rush to find solutions. The danger with precipitate action is that a somewhat disorganised uncoordinated approach appears. Even in the European Union not one country seems to have adopted the same approach as any other.

Liberalisation, legalisation, depenalisalion, decriminalisation have become catchwords in policy discussions as well as attempts to distinguish between soft and hard drugs. Differences of opinion exist on treatment measures to be adopted. In short we cannot truthfully speak of concerted European action, let alone a common global strat­egy.


Priorities and responsibilities

The law enforcement approach alone cannot be successful. We must re-examine our priorities and above all assume our responsibilities. If drugs are produced it is because there is a market. We are the market. We can blame the producers, we can blame the traffickers and we can take action against them but if efforts are not seriously made to attack the problem of demand we have no real hope of success. This was accepted by ministers meeting in the Council of Europe in Strassbourg at the beginning of last year under the Pompidou group initiative. More emphasis is to be placed on prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, but it remains to be seen whether the investment in resources will match the political ambitions and above all whether they will match the resources of those who are our profes­sional enemy.

Drug trafficking is now inseparable from organised crime. The extent of the benefits to organised crime estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars has led to a penetration of our international financial systems because of the need to launder such vast sums of money.

Estimates vary considerably and can only be regarded as giving an approximation but there is little doubt that with benefits of such proportions, criminal enterprise has reached the level of multination­al legitimate business. Legitimate business makes use of the difference in legislation, tax conditions and benefits offered by what have come to known as ‘tax havens’ to maximise profits for legal reasons. Organised crime does the same for illegal reasons. This means that even with special legislation to attack money laundering placing responsibility on the banking community, the possibilities for law enforcement are restricted. This does not mean that there have not been successful investigations. The well known BCCI case is an example, but such investigations are time-consuming and manpower consuming. Depriving criminal organisations of their assets is clearly a primary objective, but it should not be seen as the only solution.

Such possibilities must be considered as a tool among others. The fact remains that if the measures proposed are not universally applied, organised criminals will always find alternative solutions for laundering their ill-gotten gains. This is particularly so in relation to the new banks which are being created in Eastern European countries, where it is difficult to obtain information about the origin of funds. Are the interests of the world business community in preserving their foreign tax possibilities and the interests of those countries who provide them with services such that they militate against making true measures to combat money laundering effectively? The question must be asked.

It has also given to organised crime the capability of corrupting our institutions at the highest level. We have seen examples even in Europe. There is a very threat to our democracies by a form of subversion equivalent to that practised by foreign powers in times of war. The response should be on a similar level. There is not much point in speaking about war on drugs and organised crime if there is not a willingness to devote the necessary resources to dealing with it.

It is interesting to note that not so many years ago any meeting on corruption would have been undersubscribed and limited to addressing the problem as it related essentially to the Third World. We have now seen the extent to which corruption and indeed basic dishonest or immoral behaviour have become prevalent in developed societies. Once again, certain high profile cases have now brought about what might be described as a ‘consciousness crisis’ amongst our leaders both political and in the world business community.

A session which I chaired in January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on the subject of corruption and business ethics, aroused much more interest than it would have done on previous occasions. The inference is that the danger to our institutions is very real and that there is a need for the power of politics and money to address the issues.

New types of criminality have become of concern because of the awareness of society of certain issues concerning the quality of life on our planet. I am thinking, of course, of protection of the environment and endangered species of flora and fauna. Trafficking in toxic waste now brings profits to organised criminals. Fraud related to European Union economic activity has become profitable to certain groups and the extent of this fraud is now reaching serious propor­tions.

Terrorism in one form or another will, it seems, be with us for some time to come. It would be foolish for us to ignore the threat presented by Muslim fundamentalists extremism and, to a less general extent, the specific problem related to the situation of the Curds.

Interpol has an article in its constitution which forbids it from dealing with crimes of a political, religious, military or racial nature. It was believed by some in the 1970s and early 1980s with the outbreak of the wave of terrorism essentially related to the activities of the Red Army Fraction, the Red Brigade and the Middle East situation, that because terrorism is essentially politically motivated it fell within the prohibition. By 1983 with a series of General Assembly resolutions this was clearly resolved by situating acts of terrorism in the criminal context where they obviously belong. Cooperation now takes place on a regular basis through the Interpol channels, the persons suspected of having been involved in the Pan Am 103 Lockerbie bombing are the subject of Interpol wanted notices, the recent extradition from Pakistan to the United States of a criminal involved in the World Trade Centre bombing was made possible by the existence of an Interpol wanted notice. In the recent aircraft hijacking of an Air France flight from Algiers to Marseille, some of the communication between France and Algeria passed through the Interpol network.

I personally believe that the early hesitations of Interpol in this domain are to a degree responsible for the creation of a certain number of parallel initiatives in what was known as the Trevi system.

It is important for Europe to recognise that the present threat arises essentially from events outside Europe over which it has no control. Global cooperation is therefore indispensable.

The crime of terrorism has particularities which complicate international cooperation. It is not a simple police matter. International politics are involved, diplomacy, the security services as well as law enforcement. Nationally coordinating structures must be created, which in turn must be coordinated into an international framework.

I have always believed that to avoid misunderstanding, possible duplication and inefficiency in international cooperation, some kind of international directorate should be set up in our member countries under the control of a person or authority having power to decide at a high level so that when complex cases arise, a coordinated use of the different channels of international cooperation can be made. In terror­ist cases the diplomatic channels may be used, the security service networks, and for executive law enforcement enquiries, aimed at gaining evidence to bring criminals to justice, the Interpol channels.

A judicious coordinated use of these different systems would, in my view, be successful. It would only work, of course, if parochial rivalry and competition between services having different responsibilities can be eliminated.

In any event, the fight against international terrorism can be based only on a true spirit of open international cooperation.

A new role for Interpol has been found in supporting the work of the International Tribunal set up by the United Nations Organisation to deal with acts against humanity and genocide resulting from the situation in former Yugoslavia. The hope that such crimes would never be seen again after the Second World War has not been realised. The situation in Rwanda has given a further responsibility to the court. Interpol’s procedures have been placed at the disposal of the Tribunal notably for the international circulation of wanted notices.

It is impossible to discuss international police cooperation with­out having in mind certain fundamental issues which lead to certain inescapable conclusions.

Firstly, the development of international criminality is the direct consequence of the exchange and communications facilities available to the citizens of the majority of countries in the world. These facilities are not limited to particular regions or continents and any one of us can today for all practical purposes travel to any place in the world. Look around you the next time you are in an international airport. You will see crowds of tourists, businessmen and students of all races and colour.

Regional and international circulation are closely linked to­gether. In the European Union countries the movements are as easy for Europeans as well as non-Europeans as the police controls are difficult. Similarly Europeans move as much outside the Union as they do within.

It is clear that the consequence of this is that basic international police cooperation should be articulated around a geographically open system which allows each country to cooperate instantaneously with one, two or several countries wherever they may be in the world. It is not possible to regionalise in isolation.

The combined effect of the possibilities of movement and the increase in criminality means that international criminality has become a criminality of mass. Police action is not just limited to organised groups of criminals with particular objectives, organised crime, drug trafficking, counterfeiting of currency and the like. Anywhere, an individual can commit a crime which will necessitate international police cooperation.

It follows from this that any police officer may at any time find himself confronted with an international case which will necessitate his having easy access to a system of cooperation without his necessarily having expertise in this complex domain.

International police cooperation works within the confines of some basic insurmountable barriers, at least at the present time. The political barrier – that is to say the respect for national sovereignty. Even in Europe it would not yet seem to be the moment where the sensitive area of police action will lead to major concessions.

The legal barrier – there is no international penal code with an international criminal court. It is not possible to imagine an interna­tional active operational police force without a legal basis. The technical barrier – criminal procedure codes and practices which govern police action and police structures – are different in each country. It is difficult to imagine an international police action which could not very quickly fall into the trap of illegality. This was sometimes the case before legal harmonisation was achieved for the use of the ‘controlled delivery’ technique to counter international drug traffickers.

This means that in present circumstances the international fight against crime cannot be the purview of some super squad of super detectives. It can be achieved only by cooperation within the limits fixed by individual countries on the basis of existing international agreement, by national laws, technical capacity and last but not least the goodwill of the parties concerned.

Common law crime no longer fits into neatly defined categories. There is a great deal of polyvalence in criminal activitiy. As I stated earlier, illicit drug trafficking is inseparable from organised crime. This in turn is inseparable from a multitude of other criminal actions. The cooperation structures must function universally for all types of criminality without too much insistence on specialisation. In logistic terms, this is valid nationally as wel as internationally.

The methods which Interpol has built up over the years of its existence take account of these conclusions, which I hasten to add are not conclusions which I have arrived at in the preparation of this talk. They have always existed and will in one way or another exist for some time to come. In this I would wish to pay tribute to my predecessor Jean Nepote, Secretary General from 1963 to 1978 but who was largely responsible for building the Organisation on these principles from 1946 to his departure in 1978.

In all this I have explained how law enforcement has responded to the challenge which it has faced but what about the governments? My experience tells me that without the political will to achieve some­thing it will not be achieved and it is not law enforcement alone that will gain results even if we, professionally, are able to make our contribution. How does the political world react to situations? Usually when it is obliged to do so, and usually with short term high profile measures which often do not have a long-term effect.


Defining a response strategy

I believe that the threat which we face today from the combined resources available to organised crime and illicit drug traffickers as a result of a combined activity represents the single most dangerous menace to our democracies. We speak about the war on drugs and organised crime but do we really mean it?

It has been estimated that the cost of crime to the United States society exceeds their national defence budget. No doubt parallels could be drawn with Europe, but are we prepared to commit the same resources as we would to deal with an aggressive foreign power to counter the aggression presented by organised criminality? Interna­tional organised crime activity is a form of subversion which requires the type of response which we would apply to political subversion – a combined police and security service approach, with the expertise of our intelligence services being made available and added to the resources of the executive police arm under some form of high level directorate. In this way the overall response strategy would be con­siderably enhanced.

Most law enforcement bodies of the new democracies in Europe lack the means and knowledge for modern policing. There is an urgent need for assistance. It is in the interest of Western European countries to provide this assistance not only in material, but also in the form of transfer of knowledge. Programmes in this respect of the Council of Europe and the European Law Enforcement College should be encouraged and promulgated.

The partnership programmes of the Dutch police with Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland are a very good example of training on the job and serve a double purpose, namely transfer of knowledge and good practice as well as creation of understanding, confidence and an international network.

The situation for law enforcement in Europe today for the future requires continuing reflection and action. From the beginning of the seventies we have seen a multiplication of groups and committees, notably within the European Union which, no doubt with the best of motives politically, intended to improve cooperation in Europe. One can ask oneself the question why? There is no doubt that in the beginning Interpol was not providing an adequate response. Is that a reason why an attitude should have been taken which seemed to indicate that nothing existed before in this domain? It is true that a very large part of European Union action has been taken without any official consultation with Interpol. Even the discussions which we have at the present time with Europol with a view to avoiding duplication of effort and consequent waste of resources take place on an unofficial basis.

When we are dealing with the fight against crime, the ‘separatist’ attitudes which certain elements of the European Union seem to have towards Interpol could be contrary to European interests.

Interpol was essentially founded by Europeans. It is European police officers who have constructed a doctrine and a world-wide network of police cooperation. Even today it is the European countries and those of the European Union who use the Interpol network for 60% to 70% of the total. It is the Europeans who over the years have shown the other continents how to cooperate most effectively under the Interpol flag. It is the Europeans who played a major role in the development of the Organisation since its origins.

If ‘European’ police cooperation is put in place in fifteen countries in parallel with Interpol, as opposed to being complementary to Interpol, this could lead to a loss of European influence within the Organisation and a risk of Europeans seeing their possibilities of cooperation with non-European countries to a certain degree compromised. I insist once again on the possible counterproductive nature of an ‘isolationist’ approach.

A multiplication of uncoordinated networks working in the same area could lead to confusion and inefficiency in the daily action against the professional criminality which we are trying to neutralise.

To be efficient, bilateral cooperation should, when the need arises, be easily integrated into a multilateral mechanism for cooperation.

The Interpol doctrine allows countries total freedom to decide whether a case should be dealt with bilaterally or to a limited extent multilaterally. The technical provisions of the communications sys­tem allow for total respect of confidentiality on a ‘need-to-know’

basis. In this way the European Union countries can, as their political will indicates that they wish to do, re-enforce their cooperation amongst themselves, using networks and operational tools which are already available to them.

When criminality is becoming more and more world wide in its nature, a system limited to a small group of countries which is not integrated into a global system cannot but militate against the global strategy necessary to deal with the serious threats with which we are faced.

It also should be recognised that there is an increasing number of groups of countries uniting essentially for politico-economic reasons but inevitably with interests in their own internal security as a group. Notable examples are the Commonwealth of Independent States, in which the Russian Federation is a leading player (12 countries), the Mercoser agreement with 4 countries, Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN, 6 countries), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA, 3 countries) and others. It is inevitable that they should all wish to re-enforce their action in relation to international criminality. The C.I.S. has already set up a coordination bureau in Moscow to deal with organised crime. If they all act in isolation with­out the common denominator of Interpol, we shall have gone back a hundred years in time.

The European Union countries recognise in a text the activities of Interpol as did the United Nations Organisation by an E.C.O.S.O.C. agreement in 1971 and indicate clearly their support for and commitment to the Organisation of which they are all members. They should ensure that the Interpol resolutions and recommendations are put into effect. They should ensure that their National Central Bureaux have all the resources necessary to allow proper and efficient operation. They should do their utmost to ensure harmonisation of their action with that of Interpol. Finally they should associate Interpol officially with their undertakings.

What are the real threats to Europe today? They include above all the rising threat from Muslim fundamentalist extremism and the coordinated internationalisation of organised criminal groups.

It has been suggested that a combination of police and military force is necessary to combat international organised crime.

Brian Crozier of the Times newspaper wrote in January 1995: ‘Interpol should have a permanent liaison presence at NATO, headquarters, and a north Atlantic equivalent of the American Drug Enforcement Agency should be worked into the new entity.’

Whilst I do not entirely agree with this approach, I believe that it is a response which addresses what I see to be the dimension of the problem.

I would not wish to conclude without mentioning the important issue of judicial cooperation. The ‘police’ house is basically in order. With minor exceptions, judicial cooperation still relies essentially on diplomatic channels of communication with the delays which this engenders. The possibility of using such well established and effi­cient channels of communication as those of Interpol, as provided for in the European convention for mutual assistance in penal matters for urgent cases, should be given serious consideration. International law enforcement is an urgent matter. It can no longer rely on last century diplomatic or legal consideration if it is to be efficient. In this context law enforcement should be seen as including judicial cooperation where necessary and appropriate.

Our legal systems have been developed over the centuries to deal with national problems. They are not adapted to the current situation of international crime. There are international conventions which have been adopted to deal with certain types of criminality but there is a general unwillingness to use them as a legal basis for action unless national legislation has been made to make their provisions applicable. This means that a lengthy somewhat cumbersome process is necessary, which is an inhibiting factor in dealing with modern international crime. A new approach is necessary to ensure that the obstacles which work in favour of the very people from whom we are trying to protect ourselves, are removed. I am aware that I have raised a large number of issues of principle. I am aware that I do not by any means have all the answers. I am, however, optimistic in the sense that I believe in the strength of human nature when it comes to solv­ing problems. I rather fear that it may take longer than it should when I refer to earlier remarks of a historical nature, identifying issues which need to be resolved.

I would conclude in exactly the same way as Lord Carrington did last year, and I quote ‘We can learn from the mistakes of the past. It is no use blaming the international organisations. They are no more than the sum of their means.’


More information


Terug naar boven