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Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism

Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism


  • Organized crimes are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity.
  • Organized crime threatens peace and human security, violates human rights and undermines economic, social, cultural, political and civil development of societies around the world.

“Any group having a corporate structure whose primary objective is to obtain money through illegal activities, often surviving on fear and corruption.”- Interpol

As of 1997, the United Nations Draft Framework Convention Against Organised Crime states that, for the purposes of the Convention, “organized crime” means group activities of three or more persons, with hierarchical links or personal relationships which enable their leaders to earn profits or to control territories or markets, internal or foreign, by means of violence, intimidation or corruption, both in furthering criminal activity and infiltrating the legitimate economy, in particular by means of:

  • Illicit traffic in narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, and money laundering, as defined by the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances;
  • Traffic in persons, as defined by the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, of 2 December 1949;
  • Counterfeiting currency, as defined by the International Convention for the Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency, of 20 April 1929;
  • Illicit traffic in or the theft of cultural objects, as defined by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property of 14 November 1970 and the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects of 24 June 1995;                                                    Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism
  • The theft of nuclear material, its misuse or threats of its misuse to harm the public, as defined by the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material of 3 March 1980;
  • Terrorist acts;                                                                      Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism
  • Illicit traffic in or the theft of arms and explosive materials or devices;
  • Illicit traffic in or the theft of motor vehicles;
  • The corruption of public officials


  • Organized crime has diversified, gone global and reached macro-economic proportions: illicit goods may be sourced from one continent, trafficked across another, and marketed in a third.
  • Transnational organized crime can permeate government agencies and institutions, fuelling corruption, infiltrating business and politics, and hindering economic and social development. And it is undermining governance and democracy by empowering those who operate outside the law.
  • The transnational nature of organized crime means that criminal networks forge bonds across borders as well as overcome cultural and linguistic differences in the commission of their crime.                                                                      Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism
  • Organized crime is not stagnant, but adapts as new crimes emerge and as relationships between criminal networks become both more flexible, and more sophisticated, with ever-greater reach around the globe.


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