GREENLAUND: Green Crimes and Joint Crime Ventures: Laundering Natural Resources 01.02.2024 to 01.02.2028
General project description

The high value and scarcity of natural resources increasingly attracts criminal entrepreneurs operating in the legal economy. Thelaundering of natural resources is a prime example where illegally obtained natural resources are converted into legal products. Consequently, consumers buy products, such as a gold wedding ring, a hardwood floor, or endangered species, as ‘legitimate’ on the international market and unknowingly become part of a trade with devastating environmental effects. To facilitate laundering, crime groups interact with corporations and state actors, as joint crime ventures. The proposed research aims to understand how and why joint crime ventures launder natural resources and what the environmental impact is.

Contemporary developments in environmental crime networks signal the expansion of grey areas of business where the separation between conventional and non-conventional criminals is no longer appropriate for understanding and dealing with the increasing complexities of environmental crime. Therefore, it is essential to develop an innovative approach to fill this theoretical and empirical gap. By analysing coercive, economic, and political interactions between crime groups, corporations, and state actors, this study will build a new line of research and reveal the causes, incentives, and environmental harms of laundering natural resources.

The environmental impact of laundering is illustrated by rapidly disappearing rainforests, large-scale pollution, and the mass extinction of species. Yet, laundering natural resources has been the subject of rather limited study. This research introduces a novel combination of cluster analysis of environmental crime cases, multi-sited field research, and crime script analysis that ensures a unique mixed-method perspective. The insights will be crucial for scientists, policymakers, corporations, NGOs, and law enforcement to develop inventive solutions to prevent and tackle the laundering of natural resources.

Project Leader
EU grant ERC Grant
Project members UU
Ecocide 01.10.2022 to 30.09.2025
General project description

Since the 1970s, the possibility of internationally criminalizing ecocide has been widely discussed, for example as a war crime, a form of genocide, a crime against humanity, or a fifth international core crime.

However, there are numerous challenges, both theoretical and pragmatic, associated with any such criminalization, and with the concept of ecocide in itself. While ecocide has yet to be recognized officially as an international crime, it is firmly established in the public vocabulary for discussing the unfolding environmental crises with severe ecological consequences such as large-scale pollution, rapidly disappearing rainforests, and the mass extinction of species.

The concept of “ecocide”, including its legal manifestation, implies a form of intentionality (recklessness) and culpability. At the same time, the kind of violence that ecocide denotes is often diffuse and delayed, thereby challenging established notions of cause and effect, agency, and responsibility.

Furthermore, these environmental harms cut across national and international boundaries, which raises problems of jurisdiction and standing. They also cut across conceptual boundaries, such as those between nature and society, human and non-human, foreign and domestic.

These challenges have contributed to the difficulty of defining ecocide as a crime within existing juridical frameworks and institutions, such as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Ecocide raises fundamental questions regarding the way we think about guilt, liability and the duty of care. How do we determine who is responsible and how do we hold them to account? How do we acknowledge human and non-human victims? What is the power of a legal concept such as ecocide? And how do we, or should we, balance ecological and socio-economic considerations?

In addition to the theoretical and legal challenges, ecocide also presents a fundamental representational challenge: how do we make visible and understandable to a broader public what ecocide is? What role can the cultural arena play and how can artists, writers, and filmmakers raise public awareness about ecocide? Conceptualizing ecocide calls for an approach that cuts across academic disciplines.

The aim of this project is to bring together researchers from across the university and stakeholders and organizations beyond the university, whose work touches on any aspect of the problem of ecocide and its legal, ecological, scientific, political, sociocultural, criminological, philosophical, and historical dimensions.

Project Leader
Completed Projects
The Diversification of Organized Crime into the Illegal Trade in Natural Resources 01.09.2018 to 30.11.2022
General project description

The Diversification of Organized Crime into the Illegal Trade in Natural Resources

The rising global scarcity of natural resources increasingly attracts transnational criminal organizations. These criminal organizations rapidly shift from ‘traditional’ criminal activities, such as drug or human trafficking, to the illegal trade in natural resources. They react to socio-economic, political and ecological changes by looking for opportunities to diversify their illegal activities. This research aims to understand how and why transnational criminal organizations diversify into the illegal trade in natural resources.

Period: 2018-2022




Project Leader & Researcher & Contact
NWO grant The grant provides the laureates with the opportunity to further elaborate their own ideas during a period of three years:
Redress for tort related crime through criminal proceedings. A survey into theory and practice of the (Dutch) adhesion procedure 01.08.2015 to 31.08.2016
General project description

De vraag die in dit onderzoek centraal staat, luidt:
Hoe ziet de praktijk van de besluitvorming van de strafrechter ten aanzien van de afdoening van de voeging benadeelde partij in het strafproces er anno 2016 uit?
Deze vraag wordt beantwoord aan de hand van de volgende deelvragen:

  1. Hoe verloopt de voorbereiding van de voeging benadeelde partij? Welke knelpunten doen zich daarin voor en zijn daarvoor oplossingen gevonden?
  2. Hoe vaak is jaarlijks sprake van een voeging benadeelde partij en hoe verhoudt dit zich tot het jaarlijkse totale aantal zaken?
  3. Wat kan op grond van beschikbare data worden gezegd over het aantal en typen zaken waarin de vordering benadeelde partij niet-ontvankelijk wordt verklaard of gedeeltelijk niet-ontvankelijk wordt verklaard?
  4. Hoe adviseert het Openbaar Ministerie en beslist de strafrechter in zaken waarin het gaat om delicten waarin civiel schadeverhaal via het strafproces gelet op de aard van die delicten haalbaar lijkt te zijn?
  5. In hoeverre doen de knelpunten met betrekking tot de voeging zoals in 2007 vastgesteld zich nog voor en in hoeverre zijn er eventuele nieuwe knelpunten ontstaan?
  6. In hoeverre is het mogelijk om meer van dergelijke (gedeeltelijk) niet-ontvankelijk verklaarde zaken toch in het strafproces te kunnen afdoen? Welke aanpassingen in de behandeling van de civiele voeging zijn daarvoor nodig?
External funding WODC
External project members
  • Drs. P. Backers
  • E.M. van Gelder