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Mr. Laura Peters publishes WODC report on fighting Mafia crime in Italy

13 June 2023
Mr. Laura Peters

Laura Peters, Associate Professor of Criminal Law and Criminology at our Faculty, has carried out a study commissioned by the Ministry of Justice and Security’s Scientific Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) on Italy’s criminal justice experience in dealing with Mafia crime. It resulted in the report ‘The Fight against Mafia Crime in Italy’ (Dutch: Hoofdlijnen van de bestrijding van maffiacriminaliteit in Italië), which Peters was honoured to present to Minister of Justice and Security Dilan Ye┼čilgöz last week.

Lessons learned from criminal legislation aimed at combatting serious crime

Strengthening the approach to combatting organized crime is considered one of the current government’s top priorities. The extent of this type of crime is increasing, as is the severity of its excesses and the level of intimidation and threats. In this light, it may be useful to learn from the lessons already learned in other countries on how to combat serious and organized crime through adopting criminal legislation.

Focus on three important aspects of anti-Mafia legislation

Peters’ study focused specifically on identifying three important instruments in anti-Mafia legislation. These are the criminalization of Mafia offences, the deviations in criminal procedural law for Mafia cases and the preventive measures system. Within these, she identified those components that appear to be effective in Italy and may be of interest to the Netherlands because they are unknown in the same form here.

Peters visited Naples, Palermo and Rome and talked to police officers, judges, lawyers and top prosecutors, among others. She herself describes the study as ‘an exploratory legal study for the debate on fighting organized crime syndicates in the Netherlands’.

Possible source of inspiration for the Netherlands, but further research needed

The study shows that the Italian approach can inspire the Netherlands in some areas. This applies, for example, to the nationwide coordination of criminal investigations into criminal organizations, as well as the more tightly framed statutory crown witness scheme.

In order to answer the question whether the special provision in criminal law for 'participation in a Mafia organization' can have added value, more sociological research into the specific characteristics of the types of criminal networks to be combatted in the Netherlands is needed first. In addition, it is important to free up sufficient space in the criminal justice system if a network-oriented approach is to be further encouraged.

The findings of this study will form the basis for new policy initiatives and legislative trajectories or follow-up studies to improve the fight against criminal organizations in the Netherlands.

This article was published by the Faculty of Law.

Last modified:02 January 2024 12.29 p.m.
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