International Crime and Punishment: The Gap Through Which to Drive a Mafia

80 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2013 Last revised: 10 Mar 2015

See all articles by Wayne McCormack

Wayne McCormack

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Date Written: November 3, 2014


International crimes against the person are now widely recognized but lacking any cohesive enforcement. Universal principles of human dignity make it easy enough to define behaviors as illegal. What is much more difficult is finding the means and resources to deploy enforcement mechanisms. The lack of enforcement opens the path to enormously powerful and wealthy criminal organizations as well as to the unsophisticated jihadist. Mass atrocities, terrorism, slavery, and piracy may be linked in a number of ways. Terrorist tactics can be used to enslave a population, and enslaved populations can be trained in the ways of terrorism. In the modern world, human trafficking may provide both funds and camouflage for terrorist organizations. Both are linked in organized crime along with drug trafficking and piracy. Despite universal revulsion toward slavery, there are many forms of forced labor still in practice with no supra-national enforcement whatsoever. Similarly, terrorism is now subject to almost universal condemnation but virtually no transnational enforcement mechanisms. We may not see an effective international police force within my lifetime, but surely the increasing pressure for international cooperation in these arenas ultimately must lead to an effective law enforcement response. Perhaps not in my lifetime, but someday there must be an enforcement mechanism to match the world’s norms.

Keywords: terrorism, trafficking, international crime

JEL Classification: K31, K33, K42

Suggested Citation

McCormack, Wayne, International Crime and Punishment: The Gap Through Which to Drive a Mafia (November 3, 2014). 31 Ariz. J. Int'l. & Comp. L. 623 (2014)., Available at SSRN: or

Wayne McCormack (Contact Author)

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

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