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The creation of a specific G8 experts group on the issue of TOC is a part of the movement. The set up of a G8 expertise in this area was certainly a way of promoting a kind of G8 added value on the international stage, and specifically on security issues. Since the beginning of the 's, transnational organized crime has been an issue discussed at every level of the "G8 system". By "G8 system", I refer to all the structures within the G8 member states that are involved in the elaboration of G8 norms. When I say G8 norms, I refer to the recommendations and measures adopted at the G8 level, and that can be assimilated as norms in a rather constructivist perspective, that is a " a collective expectation of the proper behaviour of actors with a given identity ".

On that matter, it is important to underline that the G8's official statement made at the end of each Summit only shows the top of this "G8 system" iceberg, which involves a wide range of actors, from leaders to ministers, from delegates to designated "experts". This system has the ability to set G8 norms and to diffuse them at the international level. A first distinction must be made between G8 experts and G8 political actors. If ministerial meetings and Summits give voice to G8 ministers and G8 leaders, thus establishing a "G8 voice" on the international stage, it is G8 experts who forge and frame these political discourses.

From what I have learned from my interviews and the internal documentation I obtained, the analysis of G8 expertise shows rather a bottom-up process from experts to ministerial and heads of states than a Top-Down approach from Heads of States to ministerial levels and experts level. This repartition will change after , as I'll explain later on. The Lyon Group works at the international level, and its meetings organized three times a year by the country that hosts the Summit. The experts' discussions and their work are then taken up to the G8 Justice and Interior Ministers' meetings which usually take place once a year.

Interviews with some of these designated experts have therefore been very useful in order to understand their role and their shared practices. A focus on these experts is now needed in order to understand the G8's mobilisation against transnational organized crime. One of the most prevalent perspectives used in International Relations to understand international expertise and its influence on political decisions is the perspective focusing on epistemic communities. Epistemic community are usually defined as " a network of professionals with recognized expertise and competence in a particular domain and an authoritative claim to policy-relevant knowledge within that domain or issue-area ".

Haas, , p. According to the approach developed by IR scholars, " members of transnational epistemic communities can influence state interests either by directly identifying them for decision makers or by illuminating the salient dimensions of an issue from which the decision makers may then deduce their interests. This approach seems to confirm what has earlier been argued: G8 experts inform their hierarchies and help them define the scope of actions needed to enhance mobilisation and cooperation against organized crime.

Nevertheless, this understanding of epistemic communities remains silent on the effect of legitimization that such an expertise might provide for the political actors and does not question how discourses adopted by these communities are shaped, nor does he question the actors who produce these discourses. The concept of "epistemic community" may therefore be compelling, but it gives a false image of homogeneity and ignores the complexities of the individuals involved in such a community. A sociological approach is therefore useful to fill such gaps.

Such a perspective is all the more insightful that it provides the tools to clearly understand the G8 expertise in the field of transnational organized crime. Interviews with some of the Lyon Group experts have indeed allowed me to not consider such actors as anonymous individuals and to draw a sociological picture of them. Following Pierre Bourdieu's concept of habitus , the aim of this sociological approach is to underline the set of acquired patterns of thoughts, behaviour, and taste, which constitutes the link between social structures and social practices Bourdieu, An analysis of the actors themselves, of their identity, of their professional and personal backgrounds, thus helps understand their collective practices and the symbolic authority gained on the political actors.

Adopting such a theoretical framework adds a new dimension to the concept of expertise. Experts are not only providers of technical information; they also have the power to shape the understanding of and to constitute the beliefs on specific topics. The norms they are producing are therefore never neutral and reflect these beliefs. Throughout our interviews with some of these G8 experts, I identified two main elements that help understand how they can mobilise and coordinate themselves: first, all G8 experts share a similar background.

The Global Regime for Transnational Crime | Council on Foreign Relations

Second, the Lyon Group creates a sense of membership that facilitates a collective mobilisation. First, all the designated senior experts in the Lyon Group are civil servants from the G8 countries' bureaucracies and share a common professional and personal background. All of them are clearly international relations oriented.

Even if some of them do not have a specific background in organized crime issues, all of them gain the status of "experts" from their participation to the Lyon Group. These civil servants working in the G8 can be seen as "crime technicians", sometimes by accident because they were occupying specific posts in their administrations, which got them invited to such meetings , sometimes because their hierarchy recognises them specific skills. These "crime technicians" obviously share the same understanding of the threat posed by transnational organized crime.


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Throughout our interviews, it was clear that the actors involved in the Lyon Group do not bother to question the nature of such a threat. The role of these actors is neither to question the legitimacy of discourses on the scope of the alleged threat nor to intervene in current debates on the efficiency of international tools against organized crime. On the contrary, their role involves no more than working together on the possibilities of international cooperation in a very pragmatic way; it aims only at enhancing collaboration and thus focuses on legal and law enforcement instruments.

A collective belief strongly emerges from the interviews conducted: the growing threat of organized crime calls for a closer international cooperation.

The Palermo convention against transnational organized crime 2003-2018 - Panel IV

Even if divergences may occur during the negotiation process, this rather narrow approach favours consensus. Such a consensus is highly facilitated by the fact that these G8 experts share a sense of membership that facilitates a collective mobilisation. Most of the interviewees have underlined the pleasure they were taking in participating to the Lyon Group's meetings: the degree of informality in the discussion, the mutual sharing of understanding, the self-consciousness of belonging to a group of exception.

According to some of the actors involved in the G8's system we have met, the G8 brings remarkable added value in the setting of international norms and most of the actors did not hide they felt proud to be members of such an exceptional Group. One of them even referred to the Lyon Group experts as " top class international experts ". Some experts of the Lyon Group assimilate their meetings to a genuine " laboratory of ideas " and an " influent states coordination arena ".

This underlines the high degree of informality and confidentiality the G8's framework confers, allowing them to speak freely and frankly without public scrutiny and bureaucratic constraints. Many of them insist on the high level of expertise of the actors involved, and on the importance of the exchange of ideas among some of the most influential countries that the G8 allows to gather in an original way. Most of them see the G8 as the only arena where free discussions between Americans, Canadians, Europeans, Russians and Japanese partners take place in an efficient way. These similarities among the Lyon Group's actors similar experience, similar background, similar sharing of understanding on the issue at stake certainly create a collective identity and a collective mobilization.

The actors of the Lyon Group meet three times a year. Their meetings usually last two or three days and are organized around subgroups. Since , four main subgroups have been active:. Each subgroup gathers approximately thirty delegates, usually two or three per member state. These subgroups interact a lot during the meetings and they each present their work during plenary sessions. With regards to the nature of the G8 measures against TOC, the only available public documents we have are the recommendations issued by the Lyon Group in and in The first document is rather short, but covers all the legal and policing issues: mutual legal assistance, assistance arrangements, information exchange, extradition, protection of victims, improvement in domestic legislation, support to other international organisations, assets seizures procedures, rules against corruption.

The essence of the first recommendations has been kept, but the second version is far more prolific, both in quantity and in details. The recommendations aim at enhancing international cooperation through education and exchanges, mutual legal assistance and law enforcement channels, extradition , and strengthening investigative capabilities through the promotion of specific investigative techniques, the protection and cooperation of witnesses and other participants in criminal proceedings. As underlined earlier, the G8 experts work together on the possibilities of international cooperation in a very pragmatic way, which explains the strong focus on legal and law enforcement instruments adopted in their recommendations.

Generally speaking, the Lyon Group tries to promote operational tools in order to improve cooperation. The experts create a framework for action. The group's members carry out the international coordination while giving information and advice needed to political actors. Because they are seen as "experts", their views and recommendations are taken for granted most of the time by the Ministers and their leaders who usually don't have the skills or the willingness to question them.

Thus their knowledge is not much debated, and they shape most of the discussions and forge a common "G8" approach to transnational organized crime issues. The Lyon Group can be considered as a "norms entrepreneur", as its role is critical for norm emergence. Accepted and diffused within the "G8 system" as a whole, the Lyon Group recommendations are also meant to be diffused worldwide. At the beginning, in , the Lyon Group's work was meant to be practical and operational and to complement the work of other international arenas.

The mandate the experts were explicitly stated at the Halifax Summit as I have mentioned earlier. Evaluations of other International Organizations' activities are made within the Lyon Group; satisfactory evaluation or gaps are identified; the Lyon Group then decides collectively if further work is needed or not. This strategy explains why the Lyon Group has not focused on drug trafficking issues, as the UN's work was deemed sufficient, or on money laundering issues, where the FATF was recognized as the international reference.

This explains also why the Lyon Group has focused, among others, on high-tech crimes, migration issues or judicial and law enforcement harmonization matters in general. This strategy is sometimes rather ambiguous, as the Lyon Group has, at times, gone beyond its complementary role and played a role of impulsion and framing in other international arenas. Two main arguments must be highlighted to demonstrate how the G8's norms are diffused worldwide: firstly, the Lyon Group constitutes an exceptional platform of communication. Secondly, norms labellized as G8 norms have a strong weight in international negotiation processes.

The circulation of G8 norms is highly facilitated by the fact that this arena constitutes an exceptional platform of communication. Moreover, although the involvement of the EU Commission is often forgotten, the Commission has been de facto the ninth member of the institution since the very beginning, in Regarding the issue of transnational organized crime, EU Commission observers participate at every level described in this presentation, G8 experts and working groups and ministerial delegations.

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Some of the EU observers we have met largely recognize the central role the G8 plays in its capacity impulsing what is done within the EU and in including countries such as Russia, Japan and most importantly the US into international coordination. This mobility, from one working group to the other, across national boundaries and international bodies, is part of the explanation as to why the fight against transnational organized crime seems to be so consensual on the international stage.

Throughout our interviews, it was clearly demonstrated that this community of experts dealing with organized crime, was indeed a small world, and that most of these experts know each other very well, since they meet a couple of times a year at international meetings. The multiplication of international meetings favours interactions, and gives roots to a horizontal negotiations space that allows its participants to socialize beyond national bureaucracies.

This mobility gives birth to transnationalized public actors. It has certainly allowed the constitution of an international network of experts; such a network facilitates the sharing of understandings of, harmonized approaches to and common perceptions of the appropriate tools to fight organized crime. Second, the G8 can be seen as a community of actors, which is able to have a strategic influence and have the financial capacities to meet its commitments.

As Sikkink and Finnemore argue, norms held by states widely viewed as successful and desirable models are likely to become prominent and diffused Sikkink and Finnemore, , p. The G8 represents a dominant group that has pertinent information and a high level of expertise. It tries to define the "best way" of acting on the international stage. This consensus creates a constraint that is able to modify state behaviour.

Therefore, G8 recommendations are conceived as ready-to-use guidelines, and are not only meant to improve cooperation among the members, but also to have a global reach. The G8 clearly supports other international institutions, as many specific provisions in the recommendations show. Generally speaking, the G8 tries to improve multilateral agreements. This impulse is not only a principle, as the G8 does try to dictate goals. This Convention has been an important step towards multilateral action in this field.

The Convention is the first global tool in the international fight against organized crime. Several aspects must be highlighted in order to understand how the G8 has framed the Convention. The Western countries were first reluctant to agree to this convention. Paradoxically, it is the G8 that called for it in This shows that the G8 wants to be the one that stimulates directions and guidelines.

The preparatory process of the Convention has been tightly framed by the G8.

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The G8 wanted to guide the negotiations. Thus, it is not very surprising to find many of the Lyon Group recommendations in the UN convention, as the Lyon Group has been a catalyst for negotiation of this Convention. The recommendations of the European Union Action Plan to counter the threat of transnational organized crime were modelled on the Lyon Group recommendations. This cooperative behaviour at the transnational level is no secret, as declared in the revised G8 recommendations : " We will work together in the governing bodies of International Organizations whenever possible, in order to give more coherent impetus and coordination to the fight against transnational organized crime and terrorism "[5].


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  • From until , the Lyon Group has been very active in promoting tools and measures in the international fight against transnational organized crime. The 40 recommendations have been quite successful, and the Lyon group mobilisation at the margin of the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime has been fruitful. Of course, all these aspects raise the problem of transparency, accountability and legitimacy of the G8 in general and the Lyon Group in particular. I may sound a bit provocative, but the case of the Lyon group is pretty interesting on this regard, as it work almost as a clandestine experts group, with no publicity, and in total secrecy.

    Of course, one of the most common argument put forward by the experts I met in order to justify this absence of transparency was that they had to keep secret their work in order to be more efficient to fight crime. That is to say not to disclose their strategies and catch the criminals by surprise. This argument is of course understandable. What is more disturbing is that in recent years, the G8 has publicized some specific recommendations that are demonstrating a more and more proactive and preventive strategies that raise questions in regards to the protection of civil liberties and democracy at large.

    In the fight against terrorism, the G8 countries set up an experts Group in the 80's, named the Roma Group. The role of this Group until is difficult to analyse, as we have no documents providing information concerning its nature and its activities. Under the initiative of the G8, negotiations have been underway at the United Nations since on the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime UNTOC , which is the first universal and comprehensive legal framework for the fight against transnational organized crime, and its three related protocols on the smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons, and illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms.

    Meanwhile in May the Tenth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders was held in Vienna, Austria, and the "Vienna Declaration on Crime and Justice: Meeting the Challenges of the Twenty-first Century," which is an exhaustive political proclamation opposing transnational organized crime, was adopted. The Lyon Group continues to deliberate measures to combat diverse transnational organized crime through sub-group discussions on high-tech crime, the smuggling of persons and firearms, judicial cooperation, and law enforcement projects.

    Japan's active role in international efforts to combat organized crime during included organizing three Lyon Group meetings as Chair of the G8, leading the Group's discussions, and otherwise positively supporting the G8's joint anti-crime works. In addition, in May Japan and France co-chaired the first high-level meeting between the public and private sectors on measures against high-tech crime, which took place in Paris, France. The international community's response to narcotics and other illegal drugs, which are posing an increasingly severe problem worldwide, is primarily taking place through the United Nations International Drug Control Programme UNDCP.

    At this Special Session, the UN General Assembly adopted a Political Declaration on Global Drug Control, which provides a guideline for new international drug countermeasures, as well as six other documents. In light of these international anti-drug efforts, Japan has actively supported the activities of the UNDCP by contributing millions of dollars each year ever since the UNDCP was established in , despite Japan's severe domestic fiscal conditions. In January, the Fifth Asia-Pacific Operational Drug Enforcement Conference ADEC-V took place in Tokyo with the attendance of approximately representatives from international and national drug enforcement organizations from 37 countries and regions, primarily from the Asia-Pacific region.