United Nations: The UN drug and crime czar
warned has that international crime syndicates pose a growing
threat to global security and called for a new campaign to
disrupt the markets for their illicit goods and activities in
the US and other rich nations.
Antonio Maria Costa told a high-level General Assembly
meeting that demand for illegal drugs, diamonds and other
items is fuelling transnational organised crime and while
arresting some traffickers may divert the flow of goods it
will not shut them off.
"Therefore, in order to more effectively fight organised
crime, we must shift focus from disrupting the mafias to
disrupting their markets," he said yesterday. "We must also
crack down on the accomplices of crime, like the army of
white-collar criminals -- lawyers, accountants, realtors and
bankers -- who cover them up and launder their proceeds."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the threat from
transnational crime syndicates is growing and the ability of
countries to deliver justice "is not evolving as quickly as
the criminals` skill at evading justice."
Ban and Costa called for all countries to ratify and
implement the UN Convention Against Transnational Organised
Crime adopted by the General Assembly in 2000. It commits
countries that ratify the treaty to adopting uniform laws to
fight organised crime, strengthen money laundering
investigations, and streamline extradition processes -- and to
cooperate with each other to combat illegal activities such as
"Unfortunately, over the past decade, the treaty has
suffered from benign neglect," said Costa, who heads the UN
Office of Drugs and Crime.
Costa`s appearance coincided with the release of a report
by his office titled "The Globalisation of Crime: A
Transnational Organised Crime Threat Assessment," which said
organised crime has transformed itself into one of the world`s
foremost economic and armed powers, leaving law enforcement to
grasp for an adequate international response.
He told the General Assembly profits from illegal
activities has enabled criminals "to influence elections,
politicians and power -- even the military."