The Department for the Study of the Contemporary
Strives to increase awareness of contemporary criminal
phenomena, national or transnational, that threaten our societies in all
their dimensions: legal, criminological, social, cultural, financial…
After having defined the elements that characterize
the threats, aims to make concrete proposals to create or reinforce the
legal means available to combat these criminal phenomena.
Records, analyzes, tracks trends, provides information,
warnings and proposals.
The Emerging Contemporary
The speed of computer information, worldwide economic
exchanges, globalization, and the concurrent weakening of the classic State,
are factors that are conductive to the emergence of a form of criminality
that defies traditional categorization.
This criminal activity distinguishes itself not only
by its extreme versatility, but also by the speed of its evolution. The
fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet sphere of
influence, and the shift from bi-polarization to nationalism, or even clanism,
have resulted in the loss of both ideological points of reference and financial
sources for a number of violent political movements.
Naturally these movements have focused on any lucrative
activity (based on all forms of trafficking) capable of financing their
cause. It is also quite natural that groups aiming exclusively for power
and profit should adopt terrorist methods that have proven effective.
This overlapping of criminal, financial and political
factors explains the sophistication as well as the global nature of contemporary
criminal threats: their methods are very diverse, and their sphere of action
limitless, resorting, when necessary, to pre-existing criminal networks.
For instance, urban violence, based on cultural differences
and social exclusion, can very well serve more vast and coordinated strategies,
and consequently requires a special understanding.
Against this contemporary criminality, which defies
traditional categorization, our legal means of classification, detection,
pursuit, and repression, created to combat a form of criminality now obsolete,
are slow, compartmentalized, and increasingly inappropriate.
Methods & actions
to counter the Contemporary Criminal Menace
Contemporary criminal threats demand that our knowledge
and proposals now include in their analyses the complexity and immensity
of the means available to the enemy, whose power sometimes exceeds the
capacity of response of a single State.
It is therefore necessary to abandon the usual categorization
and try rather to develop a more global vision. This is the only way actually
to measure the phenomena and develop insightful solutions.
No doubt significant tools already are available, such
as those created by the CERVIP (Center for the Study and Research on Political
Violence). However, these tools need to be further developed so that the
Rule of Law of modern States can be extended to these often poorly identified
This is precisely one of the goals of the Department for
the Study of the Contemporary Criminal Menace. It will strive to present
concrete proposals for action. Suggestions that are at times different
and out of the ordinary, and at other times adapted and borrowed from foreign
or transnational models. However, in order to achieve this, and in view
of the threat, it is imperative to survey the spheres that can be examined
for research and analysis.
Action Methods of
the Department for the Study of the Contemporary Criminal Menace
In order to contribute to this global vision, the Department
for the Study of the Contemporary Criminal Menace can rely on the assistance
of teaching staff and researchers from our University.
It addition to the contribution of academics, it
is obviously essential also to solicit input from the Magistrature, Police,
Gendarmerie, Army, and generally from all specialists, in France as well
For this reason the Department has created a Scientific
Council, convening French and foreign specialists, academic as well as
The Department for the Study of the Contemporary Criminal
Menace is developing publishing and information activities in the pertinent
Fields of investigations
for the Department for the Study of the Contemporary Criminal Menace
Considering the polymorphous as well as global shape
of the Contemporary Criminal Menace, the areas of prospection of the Department
are very diverse, and will often overlap. Hence, the following list is
only indicative and may include overlaps between the identification of
the shape and type of the threats and the methods used to study them.
Mafia-type criminality: typology of transnational
groups with a criminal aim.
Drug trafficking: production, flows, networks,
Money laundering: conversion of funds in view
of penetrating and destabilizing the legitimate economy.
Trafficking in weapons, works of art, medical
supplies, organs, human beings (clandestine immigration networks, child
Religious fanaticism and sects: extremist behavior
and creation of groups using a specific violence.
Terrorism: identification and listing of procedures,
diversion of political ends.
Denatured guerillas: politically oriented groups
situated or not within low intensity conflicts, using criminal procedures
to finance their cause.
"Urban violence" and
"concrete jungles": forbidden perimeters, parallel economies, violent
subcultures relying on all forms of trafficking, most notably narcotics,
Eco-terrorism/bio-terrorism: forms of violence
based on the defense of a certain vision of the environment, and use of
biological agents for hegemonic or simply criminal goals.
discovery and use of open sources sometimes supplied by those concerned,
leading to the uncovering of new threats.
economic espionage, "competition analysis", competitor intelligence, and
adapted counter-intelligence methods.
forms of criminality based on the vulnerability generated by computer networks,
information highways and adapted responses.
Activities of the
Department for the Study of the Contemporary Criminal Menace
• Research and publication
The research activity of the CCM includes the publication
on its website, of its materials pertaining to the Contemporary Criminal
- Research work:
- Archives and Literature:
Studies, articles, updates
A search engine and links to pertinent and related sites
are aggregated on the Department’s web page.
"Notes & Studies
of the Institute of Criminology"
"Terrorism & Political
This communication is done through:
Whose programs and conference notes are published
on the CCM's web page.
The "CCM Tuesdays", conferences-debates, by invitation,
centering on an expert, 6 times a year
Seminars bringing together specialists and graduate