Letter from Sarajevo

 

[Editor’s Note: Sadmir Karović has graced these pages before. He is a tireless and independent researcher who lives in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has published numerous works on criminal law and human rights.]

EFFICIENT POLICY OF CRIME REPRESSION – SOCIAL PREVENTION OF INTERNATIONAL AND CLASSIC CRIMES

Nowadays, international criminal law is strongly criticized for having very adverse effects on real life. This also applies to classic or traditional crime on the international level. In real social life there ought to be some concrete and effective solutions,and protection mechanisms for all people and all human groups. International criminal law – a relatively new branch of law – is striving to establish international peace and stability in all regions of the world, under a universal axiom – the principle of equality. This is a theoretic idea and the essence of existence of this branch. It is evident that international peace and security, as well as other universal human values, are often overlooked in different geographic parts of the world. The motives behind destructive activities are different, but can be primarily focused on gaining profit, economic or political power, and occupation of territories.The international community is focused on finding a peaceful solution. However, it is often impossible to reconcile two extremely opposing sides or reach a compromise, which first leads to verbal disputes, and then to conflicts, wars, crimes and different forms of destruction. The international community is everlastingly seeking best solutions and appropriate reactions, but crimes and other forms of human destruction keep repeating in increasingly brutal and destructive modes. The engagement of the international community is mainly humanitarian (delivery of food and medications to vulnerable areas, etc.). That is inadequate, taking into consideration we are living in the 21st century when there is a real need to establish proper and effective control mechanisms in order to create necessary preconditions for peace and safety of every and each individual.

The situation is identical at the national levels due to increasingly complex social relations, the country and its law enforcement agencies are unable to devise a concrete and appropriate response to crime. What aggravates it even further is the fact that some new and very specific forms of organized crime (illegal drug and arms trade, human trafficking) have appeared on the social scene, as an international phenomenon by its very nature. Crime is a complex social and legal, multidiscipline and multifactor phenomenon, and as such very dynamic and unstable. The second aggravating circumstance is one of the key causes of such deeply unsatisfactory state – the presence of corruption that successively destroys the country and the society. This social and legal phenomenon is present in all countries, but it is more specific for the countries in transition where it appears more often. It is a general fact that crime is connected to other negative occurrences in the society, thus accumulating even further problems. Nowadays, there is no such thing as a state or a society immune to crime. Parallel to the general society development and the overall progress in all fields of human existence, different mechanisms, modalities, arms, tools, etc. are continuously improved for exercising even more destructive activities. Multiple international legal documents (conventions, agreements, etc.) acknowledge and recognize the basic human rights and individual freedoms while, on the other hand, numerous problems are present in practice (violence, crimes).

What is an acceptable solution?

Crime prevention should not be considered an exclusive jurisdiction of police or other law-implementing institutions.The primary task of crime-prevention implementing agencies or establishments is, indeed, crime prevention. However, it should be noted that many sciences (law, criminology, anthropology, psychology, sociology) developed an interest in crime, requesting a multidisciplinary approach to crime research. Social prevention of crime (international and classical) is a vital responsibility of all establishments as well as individuals, and not just the police, court, prosecutor’s office and other law enforcing subjects (family, educational institutions, non-governmental sector, sport collectives), and not just the law-enforcing agencies. Together, we need to find appropriate and concrete prevention mechanisms based on pre-determined crime causes. Firstly, the area of crime etiology must be defined, while the efficient preventive strategies and programs (that are in line with real life needs) must be researched. To research the area of crime etiology, i.e. to research the causes of crime, is the foundation or the platform for efficient development of preventive measures. Social crime prevention is a major precondition for peace and stability in every country and on the international level as well. The second major factor is a proactive correlation between the science and profession, and the core of the problem lies in the fact the politics doesn’t acknowledge it enough. Therefore, the science and profession must take proactive and preventive actions in all fields of human activities. It is generally known that the science and profession are often ignored by policy makers, which minimizes its real-life effects. Nevertheless, the science and profession should play an important role in society by creating positive and useful social processes. All subjects and authorities that can contribute to the efficient and energetic battle against crime and all other negative issues should be included in the process of prevention of classic and international crime. Declarative preference without a concrete action is insufficient, thus indicating there is a real need to find the most optimal prevention mechanisms in practice; the mechanisms that should be able to eliminate the concrete causes, or at least weaken their impact. In this respect, there are some universal human values that must be maintained and promoted; the values that actually lead towards significant crime-prevention opportunities and whose primary bearers are the family, school, different educational institutions, religious communities, media and other prevention-related establishments. Passivity or inaction presents a form of crime collaboration, therefore the international community, as well as other participants and individuals at the national level, are carrying a burden of responsibility and commitment to perform certain actions. It is important to reiterate that the science and profession ought to take responsibility and become a key bearer on the path towards the creation of positive and socially useful social processes in an impartial and objective manne. Furthermore, effective controlling and surveillance mechanisms must exist at national and international levels, so the risk factors could be timely recognized and identified. This would alarm us there is a need for undertaking certain actions to eliminate or decrease their influence, in order to stop any negative consequences or negative social after-effects, such as the crime. Certainly, when it comes to the energetic and united battle against crime and other negative occurrences in the society, all subjects and individuals should responsibly and in a committed way provide their proactive and tangible contribution.

By embracing peace and stability as fundaments, we can build and create a better future. This should specifically apply to individuals who are vulnerable categories in need to be awarded a special treatment and status (women, children, the sick, the elderly…). Every person deserves a normal life!!! Lessons from the past have to be learned once and for all. Prevention is the key to success!!!

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