In this study, environmental crimeis investigated on the basis on three conventions: the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); the Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) and the Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and Their Disposal (Basel Convention). The EU is not a party to one of these Conventions (MARPOL), will be a party on the basis of the basis of an enabling amendment (the CITES); and a party (the Basel Convention).
When the EU is bound by an international obligation, the EU enacts legislation, which is binding on its Member States. However, the EU sometimes also implements international rules although it is not bound by them. EU Member States can be bound by their international obligation as well as by the EU legislation that implements the international obligation (such as MARPOL).
CITES penalizes trade in, or possession of, specimens, or both; and to provide for the confiscation or return to the State of export of specimens.
MARPOL regulates and criminalises pollution from vessels.
The BASEL Convention introduced control over the transboundary movement of hazardous and other wastes. The Parties are obliged to adopt appropriate measures to minimize the generation of hazardous and other wastes and ensure adequate disposal facilities within the generating State. The Convention states that the Parties “consider” illegal traffic in hazardous wastes or other wastes as criminal and requires each Party to take appropriate legal, administrative and other measures to prevent and punish such conducts
Frequently the EU goes beyond the international regulation such as in the case of the MARPOL where it had gone further than the requirement of the IMO after oil spillages such as in the cases of Erika and Prestige accidents.
These Conventions are considered to be effective. However, there is a pending issue with compliance, notwithstanding that some of these Conventions (such the CITES and the Basel Convention) have instituted special bodies to monitor compliance. There are also States that avoid imposing criminal penalties. However, it may be said the criminal penalties under the MARPOL are frequently imposed.