Outline of the Chapters

Chapter 2, ‘A Paradigm Shift in Environmental Criminal Law’ by Michael Faure, provides an overview of EU legislation and how it is implemented on national levels. Faure shows how legislators, beginning in 1980, perceived environmental crime, how, consequently, environmental crime was defined in legislation, and how this has changed dramatically in the past 30 years. He analyzes this evolution and discusses how the changes entailed by it have been influenced by various legal doctrinal shifts concerning the previously strong relationship between administrative and criminal law, even a dependence of environmental criminal law upon administrative law and concerning a strong tendency toward criminalization of any violation of environmental law, hence the absence of a toolbox approach. Central in his analysis is the way in which environmental crime is currently described in legislation. He explores whether the 2008 EU directive on environmental crime is a response to doctrinal changes, and how legislation concerning environmental crime is dealt with in relation to other enforcement systems. The changes observed also entail support for the tool box approach caused by the doctrinal change, thus relying on various measures to control and enforce environmental crimes. He argues that criminal law should be reserved for the most serious infringements, whereas other infringements could be dealt with by other means such as civil or administrative penalties.

Chapter 3, ‘“Victims in the Land of Fires”: Illegal Waste Disposal in the Campania Region, Italy’ by Anna Rita Germani, Giacomo D’Alisa, Pasquale M. Falcone, and Piergiuseppe Morone, addresses the environmental crime of toxic waste dumping. This chapter reveals who commits these crimes and who and what are harmed by them. From a legal perspective, the authors discuss how the Italian authorities respond, or fail to respond, to these crimes. While for a long time mafia groups have been responsible for these crimes, in this case, legal enterprises are also involved, and the crimes are committed as an extension of legal activities, thus making them corporate crimes. The issue of environmental rights is central in the chapter as the consequences of the polluting activities are that communities in the vicinity of the dump locations suffer physical harm in the form of diseases caused by the toxic waste.

The illegal disposal of toxic waste can take different forms: dumping it directly in the countryside, dumping it in illegal quarries and construction sites of public infrastructure works, burning it in the countryside and along low-traffic roads, and mixing toxic with domestic waste for disposal in legal landfills and incinerators. The chapter is based on a rich empirical study including interviews with victims and network analysis and reveals how the victims interacted over time with different associations. The authors identify a strong degree of victim empowerment through which the victims strengthened their relationships with local associations in their networks and begin to play an important role in reinforcing their sociopolitical and judicial actions to combat the illegal practices that have seriously affected their lives.

Chapter 4, ‘Tackling Illegal Fisheries: The Role of Rights-based Management’ by Stephanie Newman and Andrew Farmer, focuses on the causes, motives, and incentives for committing illegal fishing. Based on a literature review, it considers the role of rights-based fisheries management systems in incentivizing or disincentivizing illegal behavior in relation to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU). The authors provide an overview of the regulations and enforcement practices in regards to IUU in the EU and argue that rights-based management is a potential tool in the delivery of better fisheries management that moves away from mere enforcement of regulations, as fisheries are notoriously difficult to control. Much IUU takes part as a prolongation of legal activities; quotas are exceeded, or the wrong species are caught, but fishing per se is legal. The fishers, the offenders of this particular crime, therefore, need to have an incentive to not abuse their legal rights and comply with EU regulations despite the opportunities that IUU offers. Rather than regarding these incentives as purely economic, in a Gary Becker sense, the authors argue, based on other studies, that the adoption of rights-based management could lead to better compliance with fishery requirements due to the interest rights holders have, for example, their ability to lease extra quotas. When fishers are rights holders to fish quotas, they will feel responsible for what they regard as their own resource; they will self-regulate more than when they are competing for the fish. Newman and Farmer conclude that equitable distribution of rights in relation to fisheries might be an appropriate mechanism to better manage those resources and a possible mechanism to reduce this kind of environmental crime. This is important because by regarding fish as a resource, they can be protected for the benefit of the ecosystems they inhabit and the survival of their species, and because it will ensure the viability of the resource for the local communities and others who depend on it.

Chapter 5, ‘Wildlife Trafficking: Harms and Victimization’ by Jenny Maher and Ragnhild Sollund, is based on a case study of illegal wildlife trade in UK, Norway, Colombia, and Brazil. The chapter sheds light on the questions, What are the characteristics of wildlife trafficking? (What consumer practices are driving forces, and why?) How are animals (and humans) victimized? What are the common features of how these crimes are enforced in case study locations? This empirical work establishes that wildlife trade is largely based on consumer practices, such as the purchase of luxury products such as caviar and traditional Asian medicine, and pet keeping, parrots and reptiles being the most popular. The demand for and the economic value of the trade make it an attractive crime for actors of the trafficking chain, although the economic values increase the longer the chain gets. As a result, offenders are everywhere from purchasing a wildlife product on eBay to smuggling ivory from tourist destinations. The case studies reveal that illegal trade in wildlife is not prioritized and poorly resourced in relation to control and enforcement; the enforcement response is often uninformed and uncoordinated, while legislation is complex and disjointed leading to uncertainty and leniency in punishment. The chapter adopts a green criminology harm perspective that acknowledges that the animals who are killed and trafficked and who are often also revictimized, when are killed by the authorities in Norway as a means to enforce CITES, they are the principal and direct victims of the environmental crime of trafficking. The chapter concludes with recommendations on how to prevent this harm: responses to the trade of wildlife require a multifaceted and multi-agency approach, focused on reducing demand, enhancing awareness and compliance, increasing political will, fostering trust between and within agencies (nationally and internationally with all stakeholders), developing a targeted approach, and utilizing the resources and strategies used in fighting other organized crimes.

Chapter 6, ‘Illegal Shipments of E-waste from the EU to China’ by Andrea Illes and Kristof Geeraerts, concerns an increasing problem of electronic waste and the ways in which this waste is trafficked, usually, from western industrialized economies to the south. Stricter rules for handling e-waste in the EU resulted in an increase in the costs of dismantling and recycling e-waste, thus leading actors to illegally ship e-waste to China, where dismantling and recycling techniques of the informal sector are rudimental compared to the formal sector and do not comply with health and environmental safety standards. The chapter provides estimates for the amounts of e-waste that are trafficked to China. It also highlights the thin line between legal and illegal activities, the problem with parallel legal and illegal markets, and the concealment of these crimes as a continuation of legal activities. The chapter illustrates the modus operandi of the actors involved in the crime, for example, by not warning authorities and means of fraud, and highlights the environmental and health dangers resulting from this crime. The first direct victims are the workers, often poor, rural migrant women and children, who are exposed to hazardous waste. They also carry the toxins with them to their homes, thus endangering themselves, their families, and their neighbors in surroundings that should be safe. Indirectly, victims are harmed when the poison enters surface and ground water, which also harms ecosystems. In terms of control and enforcement, the chapter concludes that the recently introduced amendments to the EU waste shipment regulation and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive have the potential to improve inspection and enforcement, but that this will greatly depend on whether national policymakers will see the fight against transnational e-waste crime as a priority and whether the individual EU member states will be willing to provide the necessary resources to implement the new requirements.

Chapter 7, ‘The EU Action to Protect the Environment in Kosovo and to Fight Environmental Crime’ by Teresa Fajardo del Castillo, addresses environmental crime in Kosovo, showing the EU efforts to introduce environmental protection in the negotiations that led to the signature of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement of 2015 with Kosovo. Taking a legal perspective, Fajardo Castillo shows how the postwar Kosovo legal order, as well as its political, economic, and human context, poses innumerable challenges in protecting the environment. As do previous chapters, this chapter shows that environmental crime concerns not only traditional criminals, but the state itself acts criminally through lack of control and enforcement and corruption. Nor do environmental crimes concern only easily identifiable victims; its victims are both human and nonhuman.

Illegal practices are openly carried on in most of the territory of Kosovo; illegal logging, illegal hunting, and illegal waste management are examples of such crimes, which are driven by consumer interests and needs, for example, when forests are cut to provide logs for heating, but also by organized crime groups at a wider scale. The lack of regulation in the mining industry is a serious hazard to the environment in Kosovo. Outdated coal plants are so polluting that resettling entire villages has been considered. The poverty-driven environmental crimes in Kosovo cause victimization of the environment, human beings, and animals, who face the loss of their habitat and are also killed in illegal hunts. Although there is adequate legislation in Kosovo, law enforcement agencies lack the resources to adequately build the capacity to ensure compliance, implementation, and enforcement. Fajardo Castillo concludes that a carte blanche to invest is offered that does not include measures to cope with pollution, jeopardizing future investment and the care of the environment.

Chapter 8, ‘Environmental Crime in Armenia: A Case Study on Mining’ by Christoph H. Stefes and Pete Theodoratos, focuses on the harms caused by the mining industry in Armenia, which in several ways resembles the situation in Kosovo. As a member of the European Neighbourhood Policy, Armenia is politically and economically linked to the EU. As a former Soviet republic, Armenia has inherited a host of environmental problems. Since independence, Armenia has done little to address these problems despite the country’s willingness to sign and ratify numerous international environmental treaties and conventions. Environmental destruction is especially apparent in the mining sector, one of Armenia’s few thriving economic sectors. Domestic laws and enforcement are wholly insufficient to regulate the country’s mining industry, which pollutes the soil, water, and air and devastates Armenia’s pristine nature. Most environmentally harmful behavior is legal under Armenian domestic law, although some of these acts are illegal. Lax environmental legislation is the result of collusion between powerful economic players and the government. The country’s oligarchs, who are politically well connected, dominate the mining sector, which consists of mostly foreign (including European) companies and their Armenian subsidiaries. This widespread corruption, in addition to insufficient law enforcement and adjudication, contributes to an atmosphere of impunity. Since corruption and collusion prevent the passing of more stringent environmental legislation, it is questionable if a narrow legal approach to environmental crime in Armenia’s mining sector suffices to analyze, understand, and address the problem.

The main victims of these environmental crimes are the people living close to the hundreds of mining sites in the country. Pollution also affects Armenians further away and citizens of Armenia’s neighboring countries due to transborder water and air pollution and the contamination of agricultural products. Tourism and other economic sectors also suffer because of pollution.

Mining in Armenia is an important driver of the economy at the moment. Yet, the sector is wholly unsustainable economically. Environmental nongovernmental organizations and citizen movements are the only viable actors in Armenia that have had some success in limiting harmful mining activities. Their principal means are the naming and shaming of politicians and business people. Their attempts to use local courts to stop mining activities have, however, largely failed.

The Armenian government is in clear violation of several international treaties it signed, one being the Aarhus Convention. This is an arena in which the EU and its member states could exert some leverage. They could remind the Armenian government of its international obligations and put some diplomatic and economic pressure on it. They could support the country’s environmental groups through technical training, financial resources, and diplomatic support. So far, European actors have largely failed to do so.

The conclusion, Chap. 9, Summary of Findings and the Way Forward’ by Christoph Stefes and Anna Rita Germani, summarizes the findings of the case studies by focusing on the variegated answers the authors find to the central research questions of this book. Beyond the summary of the research findings, the authors suggest further steps the EU and its member states could undertake to fight environmental crime more effectively within the borders of the EU and beyond.

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