Confiscation of Proceeds from Crime: a Challenge for Criminal Justice?
At the international level, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the institutions of the European Union have adopted a significant number of instruments to enhance the fight against crime, including organised crime, and to minimise the negative consequences produced by (organised) crime for national economies and for society. Individual States have also adopted legislative and non-legislative measures to combat (organised) crime. One of the legislative measures is the implementation of legislation related to confiscation of the proceeds of crime. Practice shows that the law-enforcement authorities have often difficulties to identify, freeze and confiscate the proceeds of crime. Despite several decades of effort, the European Union and its Member States must keep paying a lot of attention to this problem. This article generally describes this problem and briefly explains the different confiscation models applied in different EU Member States; as well as the result of this situation in the field of international judicial cooperation. In the vast majority of the Member States there are no statistics available concerning proceeds of crime. Therefore to assess the efficiency of the law-enforcement authorities in the fight against organised crime, based on the criteria of confiscated proceeds of crime, is a challenging task. We believe that confiscation of criminal assets should not only be seen as a key indicator of success in terms of protecting national economies, but it should also be seen in terms of enforcement of the rule of law.
KeywordsOrganise Crime Commercial Matter Transnational Organize Crime Brussels Convention Civil Proceeding
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