21 June 2022, Naples – The second day of the PAM High-level Conference “The Palermo Convention: the future of the fight against transnational organized crime” began with the address of H.E. Luigi Di Maio, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
In his intervention, Minister Di Maio highlighted that the fight against international organized crime is a common challenge for the Mediterranean countries, in which a shared understanding, the exchange of best practices, and the definition of coordinated strategies is fundamental. Added value in this context is the parliamentary dimension. Parliamentarians are the first and most immediate interpreters of the demands of the citizens for the future. He also recalled that judge Giovanni Falcone contributed to tracing the basic principles of Italian legal diplomacy, true guidelines of the Italian foreign policy and multilateral action.
The address of Minister Di Maio was followed by the contribution of Prof. Antonio Palma, President of the Italian Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato. Prof. Palma reiterated that PAM will be the first international parliamentary assembly to provide its MPs with an official passport. The so-called PAM laissez-understanding being realized with the most advanced technologies, and it will be impossible to counterfeit or falsify it.
After the opening speeches, the first session was dedicated to the Italian experience in enforcing the Palermo Convention. The session was moderated by Sen. Francesco Amoruso, PAM President Emeritus, and benefited from the participation of Raffaele Piccirillo, Chief of Cabinet of the Italian Ministry of Justice; Giovanni Russo, Deputy Italian National Anti-mafia and Anti-terrorism Prosecutor; and Giovanni Salvi, General Prosecutor of the Italian Court of Cassation. Their presentations gave an historical and operational overview of the Italian experience in investigating and prosecuting criminal organizations. They agreed that international cooperation is key to address the most recent fields of interest of transnational organized crime: environment and cyberspace.
The second session focused on the criminal misuse of Information and Communication Technologies. In this session, chaired by Vittorio Occorsio, Co-Founder of the Vittorio Occorsio Foundation, intervened Suzana Pribilović, member of the delegation of Montenegro to PAM, and former Minister of Public Administration, and Sami Ryhänen, Head of OSCE Strategic Police Matters Unit.
The session aimed at identifying the major challenges of cybercrime, which include territoriality - while the cyberspace is global in nature, judges can only act within their jurisdiction -, lack of legislative harmonization, and the ongoing evolution of digital technologies. They affirmed that international conferences, such as this one of PAM, represent excellent platforms for exchange of information, raising awareness, and identification of major problems and solutions.
The morning concluded with a session on environmental crimes, chaired by Hon. Karim Darwish, PAM Vice-President, with the participation of Patricia Mbote, Director of Law Division at UNEP; Fulvio Bonavitacola, Vice President and Environment Councilor of the Campania Region; Diana Battaggia, Head of the Italian Investment and Technology Promotion Office at UNIDO; Duccio Mazarese, Program Manager at UNICRI; and Filippo Musca, Director General of the Siracusa International Institute for Criminal Justice and Human Rights.
Nowadays, environmental crimes are the most profitable crimes after drugs trafficking. New models of governance and strategies are needed to face these crimes; it is essential to gain an accurate knowledge of the environmental catastrophes possibly caused by criminal activities. To this extent, low-income countries are the most vulnerable, and efforts on international and regional level towards environmental protection must be deployed as soon as possible.
In the afternoon, the conference continued with a discussion on the other forms of transnational organized crime, such as: trafficking in cultural property; the nexus between organized crime and terrorism; drug trafficking; crime and corruption related to sport activities; falsified medical products; illicit trade of firearms.
Hon. Pedro Roque, PAM Vice-President, moderated the interventions of Weixiong Chen, Executive Director of CTED; Majlinda Bregu, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council; Roberto Baldoni, General Director of the Italian Agency for Cybersecurity; Kurasha Sheuneni, Programme Manager, Democracy, Governance and Human Rights at SADC Parliamentary Forum; Alon Simhayoff, Deputy Ambassador of Israel to Italy; Maitre Jean-Jacques Neuer of Cabinet Neuer; and Brigadier General Mohamad Cheikh from Lebanon.
The session featured the contribution of Krista Pikkat, Director of Culture and Emergency at UNESCO, who stated that illicit trafficking of cultural property is increasing, and the involvement of criminal organizations is clear. In this regard, UNESCO is strengthening the cooperation with UNODC, in order to counter this phenomenon.
The last session of the conference was chaired by PAM President, Hon. Gennaro Migliore and saw the participation of Michel Debacq, Prosecutor of the French Court of Cassation; Dimosthenis Chrysikos, Division for Treaty Affairs at Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch of UNODC; and Ian Tennant, Head of Vienna Multilateral Representation & Resilience Fund of the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime.
The discussion brought the attention on the role of parliamentarians in promoting a specific agenda against transnational organized crime, based on the Palermo Convention and its Protocols, with a focus on how to raise awareness, how to promote new legislative initiatives, and how to provide technical assistance to national parliaments through the UNTOC Review Mechanism.
The contributions of Paolo Bertaccini Bonoli, Coordinator of the Premio Giorgio Ambrosoli, and of Giovanni Tartaglia Polcini, Prosecutor and legal adviser, at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, constituted the opportunity to honor the memory of the victims of criminal organizations, including Giovanni Falcone, Paolo Borsellino, Pierre Michel, and Marcelo Pecci. They reminded that civil society plays a crucial role in countering transnational organized crime.
At the conclusion of the conference, PAM President read the PAM - Declaration of Naples.
The Declaration summarizes the elements in the agenda and the work that the Assembly has done so far, and recalled all the resolutions already adopted by the international community, within the UN mechanism, to fight transnational organized crime. It represents the manifesto of the Assembly to support the work of governments and international institutions to act united in contrasting criminal organizations.
PAM President, on behalf of all PAM delegates, expressed his gratitude to the Italian Ministry of Culture, the President of the Campania Region, and the city of Naples, for having hosted this conference and rendered possible such a high-level debate and its recommendations for
the effectiveness of international cooperation in fighting transnational organized crime efficiently.//