Global Perspectives Assessment in Criminal Law

Summary

The last few decades have been characterized by immense global changes that have affected the technological, political, social, economic, cultural and environmental areas of daily life. A multifaceted advancement in technology has prompted a social process that enhanced the information exchange around the globe that serves the sharing of ideas and data. As a result, the concept of “globalization” has been developed in different fields. Globalization is the progressive global economy, characterized by liberated trade and flow of capital (Merriam-Webster, 2013). This definition obviously shows that criminal organizations that operate for financial gains could take advantage of globalization to expand criminal behaviors. Therefore, globalization increases security risks to citizens around the globe. Does this mean that globalization produces new challenges to criminal justice, and criminals are thinking globally? The core objective of this paper is to assess criminal justice from a global perspective. First, let us assess the impact of globalization on the United States criminal justice system.

Globalization and the U.S Criminal Justice System

In an attempt to recognize and combat future crime threats of globalization, the U.S government implemented a framework that aimed at integrating all components of its security agencies’ response to global crime through the International Crime Control Strategy (ICCS) (Ward, 2000). As a result, the American government has introduced crime-combating programs through its special task forces, including the FBI. These programs use special task forces, whose main duty is to build up cooperation among government departments in dealing with global crime.

Without any doubt, the profound impacts of globalization have connected America’s criminal justice system with other criminal justice systems creating a fast and efficient network of information among systems. Recent studies indicate an escalation in the number of Federal agencies operating abroad and cooperating with other countries (Ward, 2000). As a result, policing and law enforcement agencies are able to get and share information on criminal organizations and individuals more quickly. In the past, security agencies took hours and sometimes days to obtain criminal records from databases of other countries. However, today, it is hard for criminals to escape or even hide whether on local or foreign soil.

The impacts of global crime have prompted the global cooperation of police officers. As a result, the American government has introduced joint training programs that provide avenues for the exchange of ideas. In addition, the government also facilitates foreign visits by law enforcement officers equipping them with knowledge about global cultures and legal systems. It is worthwhile to note that the American criminal justice system is confronting and adjusting to global criminality, an important aspect of international cooperation. Even though several measures have been developed, the criminal justice system will require key modifications in educating and training practitioners. Therefore, law enforcement agencies must adopt advanced techniques of fighting against global crimes (Modafferi, 2007).

International Criminal Justice Systems

Civil law systems incorporate intellectual principles that serve as primary sources of law. They comprise a group of legal systems based on general principles that create a distinction between procedural and substantive rules. Civil laws contain basic rules that guide people’s daily lives. According to the law systems, case laws are secondary to statutory laws and establish distinctive differences between statutes and codes. Common law systems are derived from court decisions, made by judges in courts, and statutes. These laws are basically based on determining wrong or right ideas.

Civil law systems contrast to common law systems, whose intellectual principles originate from decisional laws made by judges, giving models of authority before court decisions. Socialist law traditions refer to legal systems of laws used in states that practiced and still practice communism and are based on Marxist political ideologies. Even though these systems are based on the civil law systems, they contrast in that, while civil law systems fail to define the concept of private property, socialist law traditions offer ownership of the property to the state or agricultural cooperatives.

Islamic law systems incorporate legal structures that define the public and private aspects of life in a legal system established on the principles of Islam. These systems deal with activities linked to day-to-day human lives like politics, sexuality, banking, economics, marriage, business and social issues. The Islamic law system is not guided by a codified system of laws but is defined by a set of numerous laws based on the Quran. Both civil and common-law systems are developed through fairness and equity, while Islamic and socialist law traditions are developed on patriarchal controls and are not based on equity. For example, under Islamic law, women and children have no rights, while under socialist law traditions part of land and property belongs to a section of people said to have the right to own property over others. It is important to note that all these International criminal justice systems have common originating principles. For example, civil laws originate from general principles, common laws from court decisions, Islamic laws from the Quran, and socialist laws originate from Marxism.

The Impact of Cybercrime and Technology on Global Justice Systems

Advancement in technology has made tremendous improvements in global commerce. Shockingly, the troubles caused by the internet compete with its benefits. Cybercrime has changed from spam emails, hacking and other attacks to deployment and sabotage of computer networks. Interestingly, today cyber-crime criminals are more conversant with strategies to catch cyber-crime criminals than the law enforcing agencies, complicating the work of global justice systems.

Governments face accelerated costs in fighting against cyber-crime as multinational corporations and government offices progressively become cyberattack targets. According to the report ‘cyber-crime – Growing Challenge for Governments,’ released by KPMG International Cooperative, the UK estimates the annual cost of cyber-crime to be 43 billion dollars (KPMG International Cooperative, n.d.). The report also reveals an increase in governments’ spending on cybercrime.

Cybercrime also burdens a country’s justice system. As a result, governments are adopting measures to facilitate global cyber security. For example, in America, the FBI has a task force that coordinates and deals with matters related to cyber-crime and UK has invested in the Police Central e-Crime. India has dedicated its resources to training professionals and developing technologies to tackle cyber-crime. China is also collaborating with the UN and other governments to fight cyber-crime. Therefore, to achieve positive results in fighting global cyber-crime, governments must cooperate with each other.

Differences of Global Policing Systems

Police officers share the common goal of combating criminal activities by enforcing laws that bring criminals to justice and eliminate criminal activities in society. However, the methods employed by police officers and agencies differ significantly. The Department of Homeland Security, for example, unites the intelligence of all police departments and dispatches agents to all states who work closely with local law enforcement agencies to combat all forms of crime.

European countries borrow policing organizational structures from America. Europol, an agency modeled after the American FBI investigates major crimes, such as cyber-crime, fraud, terrorism and human trafficking, and works closely with American agencies. Asian countries lack a cohesive policing system. However, many countries partner with the United States policing systems to handle major crimes. Africa has a different policing system comprised of numerous police agencies that worked independently until recently when the African Police Resource Network was developed to boost police operations. Even so, it is premature to ascertain the organizational structure of the system.

Global policing is not a new idea as Interpol, formed in 1914, is a global police organization dealing with crimes across borders. Interpol has made major improvements to combat international crime. For example, in order to share intelligence about criminal data, the organization set up the Criminal Information System Database. Global strengths and power of governments are manifested in policing transformations witnessed in the past few decades. Similarities in policing strategies and operations exist and global technologies to aid the police and military have been developed. As a result, technologically advanced police activities are spreading around the globe and into space.

Impacts of Major Crimes and Criminal Issues on Justice Systems and Processes

Globalization has created a network through which sophisticated ways of conducting crimes occur. For example, the flow of transferring dirty funds has been improved. However, the flow of such funds is hardly determined, and proving criminal connections has been made impossible. As a result, illegal activities, such as human and drug trafficking, can hardly be tracked and stopped (Schmalleger, 2009). Fraud has proved to be a major crime that arises from developing countries that need restrictions to combat such activities. For example, Africa leads in fraudulent activities directed at internet users from developed countries. Consequently, the lack of laws in countries, where crime is invented, makes it impossible for persecution. International criminal activities pose major threats to communities, businesses, financial institutions and threaten global security and stability. Maritime piracy poses a major security threat to international maritime commerce. Piracy creates restrictions to free trade, elevates insurance rates and creates tension between states and countries.

Major crimes arising from internal national conflicts continue to pose questions related to humanitarian intervention and the protection of civilians. A number of countries like Somalia, Rwanda, Darfur, Kosovo, Bosnia and East Timor record terrific mass atrocities, characterized by records of civilian killing, sexual violence and child labor. As a result, the international justice system introduced the “responsibility to protect” principle that made efforts to confront crimes against humanities and prevent mass killings. In addition, the international community created the Genocide Convention and the International Criminal Court that commits countries to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity by punishing its executors. However, despite these developments, countries such as Somalia, Sudan and Darfur are faced with conflicts that pose a threat to international principles of protecting and safeguarding the lives and rights of civilians. Globalization is not a new phenomenon, but the degree, to which crime rates are growing, is alarming. While law-enforcing systems must adapt to new global circumstances, criminal organizations continue to advance ways of carrying out criminal activities.

References

KPMG International Cooperative. (n.d.). cyber-crime: A growing challenge for governments. Web.

Merriam-Webster. (2013). Globalization. Web.

Modafferi, P.A. (2007). The world is flat: The 21st-century reality and what it means to law enforcement. Web.

Schmalleger, F. (2009). Criminology today: an integrative introduction (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Ward, R. (2000). The internationalization of criminal justice. National Criminal Justice Reference Service, 2(1), 267-32.