State Crime

Green and Ward define state crime as ‘illegal or deviant activities perpetrated by or with the complicity of state agencies.’ McLaughlin identifies 4 categories of state crime; political, economic, social/cultural crimes by security and police forces.

The scale of state crime

The states power enables it to commit extremely large-scale crimes with widespread victimisation. The states power also means it can conceal its crimes and evade punishment more easily. Because the state defines what is criminal and managers the CJS, it also has the power to avoid defining it own harmful actions as criminal. The principle of national sovereignty makes it difficult for external authorities to intervene or apply international conventions against genocide, war crimes etc.

Case studies of state crime

Genocide in Rwanda Under the Belgians, the minority Tutsi were used to rule over the Hutu majority. After independence, elections brought the Hutus to power. By the 1990’s, economic and political crisis led to civil war were 800,000 Tutsis were slaughtered by the state-backed Hutu militia.

State corporate crime State crimes are often committed in conjunction with corporate crim crimes. Kramer and Michalowski distinguish:

State-initiated corporate crime, when state initiate, direct or approve corporate crimes a.g. the challenger space shuttle disaster.

State-facilitated corporate crime, when states fail to regulate and control corporate behaviour, making crime easier e.g. the Deepwater horizon disaster.

There are 2 types of war crime:

Illegal wars- falsely claiming that a war is in self defence

Crimes committed during war or its aftermath– illegally seizing or occupied country’s assets, torture of prisoners, bombing civilians.