Transnational criminal law
Transnational crimes transcend international boundaries. Under article 3(2) of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime 2000, an offence is transnational if it is committed in:
- More than one state,
- One state, but a substantial part of the preparation takes place in another state,
- One state, but involves an organised criminal group that engages in criminal activities in more than one state, or
- One state, but has substantial effects in another state.
Transnational crimes include organised crimes, drug trafficking, human trafficking, corruption, terrorism, terrorism financing, and piracy.
International cooperation for the suppression of such crimes is in the best interest of multiple states. Accordingly, states establish multilateral treaties to help define, investigate, and prosecute transnational crimes. These international “suppression conventions” have become a key mechanism for dealing with transnational crime. They require state parties to enact domestic criminal provisions and provide mechanisms for international co-operation.
This body of law, generated internationally and applied domestically, is called transnational criminal law.
Transnational criminal law in Australia
Australia is party to several suppression conventions and has enacted the relevant provisions into domestic legislation. Accordingly, many transnational crimes are criminalised under Australian law, including cybercrime, foreign bribery, terrorism financing, and money laundering.
International criminal law
International criminal law can refer to different bodies of law, usually either:
- International cooperation in domestic or transnational criminal matters, or
- The international law establishing individual criminal responsibility and the prosecution of such individuals before international mechanisms.
This first category generally refers to the law and mechanisms between states which facilitate the effective investigation and prosecution of crimes across international borders. It encompasses laws governing jurisdictional disputes, extradition and mutual legal assistance, and transfer of prisoner arrangements.
International criminal law stricto sensu
The second category includes war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and the crime of aggression. These crimes are also referred to as international criminal law stricto sensu. They are considered the gravest crimes of concern to the international community, and are prohibited because they threaten international peace and security and fundamental human rights.
International criminal law in Australia
Australia has extensive legislative regimes governing our international criminal cooperation relationships, including the Extradition Act 1988, Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1987 and the International Transfer of Prisoners Act 1997.
Australia has also criminalised war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and the crime of aggression in the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).