New research project into improvement of fight against illicit tobacco trade

UPDATE: Utrecht University has informed PMI Impact that it will not accept funding for a study into tobacco smuggling. The study by professor Vervaele will continue but will be funded by the University itself. For more information check here.

RENFORCE has been awarded a grant for a multi-disciplinary research project on ‘The enforcement dimension of the fight against the illicit tobacco trade in the EU’. The project is funded by PMI Impact and was approved by a prestigious council of external independent experts in the fields of law, anti-corruption and law enforcement (Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni, Suzanne Hayden, Alain Juillet, Paul Makin, Luis Moreno Ocampo, Jürgen Storbeck, Catherine Volz).

The project will be coordinated by Prof. John Vervaele and Dr. Michele Simonato and conducted (from February 2018 until February 2020) by a team of researchers at Renforce (Dina Siegel, Brenda Oude Breuil, Daan van Uhm, Machiko Kanetake, Koen Bovend’Eerdt), together with five external experts from Belgium, Italy, Latvia, Poland, and Germany. For further information:



Second Meeting of the Hercule-III Project on the Exchange of Information between Law Enforcement Authorities

The second meeting of the project ‘Exchange of information with EU and national enforcement authorities: Improving OLAF’s legislative framework through a comparison with other EU authorities’ will take place in Utrecht on 9 November 2017.

The meeting will be dedicated to the discussion of national and transversal reports, and will be attended by several researchers from Renforce (John Vervaele, Michiel Luchtman, Michele Simonato, Mira Scholten, Koen Bovend’Eerdt, Argyro Karagianni) and other EU Member States (Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, Hungary, UK). The results of the project will be published in February/March 2018.



Conference on Confiscation in the EU

On 23 November 2017, a conference on ‘Confiscation of Criminal Assets in the EU’ will be held at the Paushuize. It will bring together scholars and practitioners from different Member States to discuss challenges and way forward in the international cooperation on confiscation and asset recovery proceedings.

The conference will be followed, on 24 November 2017, by the first meeting of the project ‘Improving Cooperation between EU Member States in Confiscation Procedures’. The project, funded by the EU Commission (DG Justice), is coordinated by the University of Ferrara (Italy) and involves researchers from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Romania, and the Netherlands. John Vervaele, Michele Simonato, and Wouter de Zanger take part in the project on behalf of Utrecht University.



RENFORCE/ UU Research on Trafficking in Minors for Criminal Exploitation in the News

In their research report the mixed USG-Criminology research team concluded that the trafficking of minors for criminal exploitation has no priority for authorities and police in the Netherlands. Partly due to this report, this seems to be changing.

In the past month, the exploitation of Roma minors by international criminal organizations appeared in the news. The assistance for these children in the Netherlands is, according to the interviewed staff member of the Salvation Army, concerned with the help for them, a ‘mission impossible’. This is underlined by the abovementioned research report: assistance, including police, do not succeed in a timely signalling of this form of trafficking, do not have the right instruments and treat victims of exploitation still as perpetrators.

The research report also claims that this form of child trafficking in the Netherlands is approached with tunnel vision. This makes that only Roma, and Middle- and Eastern Europeans are – mistakenly – seen as the groups suffering from this form of exploitation. This last observation is confirmed by the newspaper article: they are all about Roma groups.




New issue of the International Review of Penal Law on food regulation and criminal justice

The International Association of Penal Law (AIDP/IAPL, presided by John Vervaele, organises four international colloquia in preparation of the quinquennial Congress on ‘Criminal Justice and Corporate Business’ (Rome, 2019).

In September 2016, a colloquium on ‘Food Regulation and Criminal Justice’ was hosted by the Beijing Normal University. Its proceedings are now published in the International Review of Penal Law (2016/2, vol. 87). The issue is edited by Adan Nieto (general rapporteur), Ligeia Quackelbeen (Ghent University), and Michele Simonato (researcher at Renforce), who wrote a special report on ‘The EU dimension of ‘food criminal law’’. The other articles analyse the administrative and private enforcement of food law, the relation between product liability and criminal law, as well as several national systems.