Professor, can you summarize your speech to the United Nations for us?
A very short speech that can be summed up as the logical continuation of what I have been saying in schools and at meetings on organized crime for over thirty years. Despite the limited time available, it was a great honor to be able to speak not only about peace and international relations, but also about the fight against organized crime, corruption and terrorism at such an important international meeting. A trinomial that unfortunately is increasingly associated. I have repeated that the fight against the new transnational mafias must unite the peoples of all parts of the world. With great pride I remembered the character of Giovanni Falcone and his “follow the money” method, while paying tribute to all the victims of the Mafia in the world. Finally, I asked the competent bodies and Secretary General Antonio Guterres to revise the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
What changes does it refer to?
I’m referring to those indispensable updates after the process of globalization and the spread of technology within the new mafia. Significant changes are occurring in the method and territorial scale of organized crime with each passing day. One of the most common metamorphoses is the diversification of crime that accompanies the continuous increase in the number of nations affected by organized crime.
Can you be more specific on this point?
Over the past thirty years, their criminal activities have expanded rapidly beyond national borders in areas such as trafficking in drugs, people and organs, weapons, works of art and hazardous waste. Advances in new digital communication technologies have opened up new avenues for committing sophisticated crimes, particularly online, which are increasingly being exploited by organized crime groups. Today, thanks to new communication technologies, a Mexican or Colombian drug dealer and a Calabrian or Sicilian drug dealer can interact and communicate in real time and in complete safety, regardless of time and distance. Unfortunately, the laws, both national and international, are inadequate to deal with these new metamorphoses of modern organized crime.
What are these new metamorphoses?
They are visible to all and closely linked to the development of new global markets and new communication technologies. The diversity of criminal activity has also contributed to the growth of organized crime in developing countries. Where there are wars, where there are developing countries, there is organized crime that changes and adapts to any eventuality.
What leads the Mafias to these transformations?
The use of the term “metamorphosis” is not accidental, since it is the process by which the mafia changes their appearance, even radically, to adapt to the changes and changes of the territory in which they settle. They use the violent or the corrupt method and seem to prefer the latter because it facilitates criminal activity and does not arouse the suspicions of law enforcement. For these reasons, the fight against corruption must inevitably become an integral part of the fight against organized crime if we really want to have an impact on the phenomenon and its development.
You also spoke earlier about a connection between mafias and terrorism. Can you explain that better?
In addition to the link between mafia and corruption, there is a link between organized crime and terrorism. For example, some terrorist groups have used organized crime to fund their criminal activities. This shows that it is imperative to promote international cooperation to counteract precisely these links between mafia, corruption and terrorism.
What can be done internationally?
I told the United Nations: we can start amending the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Convention against Corruption, which are two sides of the same coin. A global response to transnational organized crime needs to be created by starting to update these two laws.
What changes are we talking about?
I would like to refer to those changes that have a concrete impact on improving cooperation and mutual legal assistance between the states of the international community. To those that will lead to the ratification of the two updated United Nations Conventions that seek universal recognition among States. To those who make it possible to build, collect and analyze the data of the relevant police and judicial authorities and train those who work in the criminal justice system to investigate and prosecute all cross-border crimes related to the new mafia metamorphoses.
What would these changes lead to?
Certainly a more effective response to the challenge posed by transnational organized crime. The danger of the new mafia lies in the interconnectedness between them and their neighboring third parties, so that we can no longer fight them separately. Prevention and suppression must therefore be carried out in a global framework. Only in this way can a more effective and territorially incisive response be achieved.
What role should the United Nations play in this?
As I reiterated in my speech, there is an absolute need to effectively strengthen the United Nations’ ability to cooperate and provide legal assistance to the States that make up the international community. For example, a new committee could be set up to deal exclusively with organized crime, modeled on the already existing Counter-Terrorism Committee, which consists of all members of the Security Council. This new body could finally implement a series of measures aimed precisely at strengthening the ability to fight the mafia worldwide. UN Security Council resolutions on organized crime would be legally binding on all Member States and therefore obliged to implement them. In this way we could achieve that the anti-mafia legislation is harmonized and adopted by the individual member states. This would reduce the differences between laws and jurisdictions and the way organized crime is tackled. In fact, international, multilateral and bilateral cooperation between member states would be strengthened. The legally binding nature of Security Council resolutions would quickly become a fearsome measure for modern criminal organizations. Mafias are so powerful because they are organized. At the transnational level, it would therefore be necessary to be much better organized than the mafiosi we face, since they currently have an advantage that states do not have: a global, integrated organization with no rules to respect. In my opinion, the creation of this committee would ensure an integrated and multidisciplinary approach, bringing all the actions together ad hoc Promotion of international standards and norms in various areas of anti-mafia fighting.
Vincenzo Musacchio, forensic criminologist, lawyer associated with the Rutgers Institute on Anti-Corruption Studies (RIACS) in Newark (USA). He is an independent researcher and a Fellow of the Higher School of Strategic Studies in Organized Crime at the Royal United Services Institute in London. In his career he was a student of Giuliano Vassalli, a friend and collaborator of Antonino Caponnetto, an Italian judge known for leading the anti-mafia group with Falcone and Borsellino in the second half of the 1980s. He is one of the most recognized scholars of the new transnational mafias. Expert in strategies to fight organized crime. Author of numerous essays and a monograph entitled “The fight against the new mafias conducted at a transnational level”, published in 54 countries, written by Franco Roberti. He is considered the leading European expert on the Albanian mafia and his in-depth studies on the subject have also been used by legislative commissions in Europe.