Anti-gang laws in the spotlight at UQ

15 Jan 2014

Queensland and European Union laws enacted to stamp out organised crime will be the focus of a University of Queensland Law School seminar on Friday 24 January.

Seminar presenter Professor Susanne Reindl-Krauskopf, of the University of Vienna Law School, said  the event would focus on anti-organised crime offences, police powers and other law enforcement measures adopted in Austria and the European Union and  Australian laws against ‘bikie gangs’.

“The difficulties to define and combat organised crime are not unique to Australia,” Professor Reindl-Krauskopf said.

“Other countries also find it difficult to articulate clear boundaries about the constituent elements of criminal organisations.

“In Austria, for example, a group of animal rights activists has been caught up in criminal proceedings involving charges relating to criminal organisations.”

Professor Reindl-Krauskopf and UQ Law Professor Andreas Schloenhardt are examining the criminal justice response to organised crime worldwide.

Their research project, ‘Transnational Organised Crime – International Law and Domestic Practice’, examines a range of crimes commonly associated with organised gangs, such as people smuggling, human trafficking, social security fraud, corruption and cybercrime.

Professor Schloenhardt said foreign jurisdictions had refrained from labelling groups such as bikie gangs as criminal organisations, imposing control orders on gang members and creating offences for the mere association of gang members.

“The types of infringements on civil liberties envisaged by Queensland’s new laws would be unimaginable and not permissible in the European Union and cannot be reconciled with international human rights standards,” Professor Schloenhardt said.

“Further complicating matters is the contentious distinction between criminal organisations and terrorist groups, which many laws fail to recognise.”

Event details: TC Beirne School of Law Research Seminar Series: Criminalising Organised Crime: Austrian and European Perspectives

When: Friday 24 January 2014, noon - 1pm
Where: Sir Samuel Griffith Room, 1-W341, Forgan Smith Building, UQ St Lucia Campus