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Instruments, Actors and Institutions in the Fight Against Environmental Crime

This report aggregates the main outcomes of research conducted on instruments, actors and institution of relevance to the fight against environmental crime at the national, European and international level by individual researchers from various institutions.

The report reflects the multilevel approach of the research (international, European and national level) as well as its articulated content, which covers, at each level, e.g. legal instruments as well as actors and institutions, truly criminal as well as administrative offences (and related enforcement authorities), individual liability as well as corporate liability etc.

This results in a ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ aggregation.

The ‘vertical’ aggregation describes the main features of those instruments which, at different levels (e.g. international and European), appear to be more relevant in tackling the most serious forms of environmental crime (e.g. illegal shipment of waste), as well as the role played by actors and institutions at the enforcement level. It also tries to the extent possible to individuate relevant multilevel normative and enforcement issues (such as organised environmental crime) and to highlight to the extent possible strengths and weaknesses of the regulatory framework as well as of the enforcement mechanisms (e.g. lack of cooperation between enforcement authorities at different levels and, on the contrary, effectiveness of environmental enforcement networks).

The ‘horizontal’ aggregation represents the core part of this report. It describes the main characteristics of the selected national legal systems on environmental crime and it provides a comparison among them (e.g. concerning the structure of the criminal offences, the levels of sanctions for the same criminal conduct or the role of administrative offences and related enforcement authorities in assuring the effectiveness of environmental protection). The report also highlights to the extent possible strengths and weaknesses of the different regulatory and enforcement systems on environmental crime.

On these grounds, this report formulates conclusions on the existing regulatory and enforcement settings and tries to provide a baseline for the formulation of policy recommendations to the EU legislator in order to enhance the regulatory and enforcement tools to fighting environmental crime.