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Though corruption is difficult to define and harder still to quantify, it is undoubtedly one of the most widespread forms of criminal victimization in todays world; and in its most serious forms it is properly regarded as a form of state crime rather than individual deviance. The International Crisis Group describes “state corruption” as, “a... Read more »

Gender-based Violence

In the last 25 years, campaigns of mass rape by armed state and non-state actors have become widespread, appearing to take place as a structured aspect of organized hostile action against civilian populations. These campaigns have occurred in the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Liberia, Sudan, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Mass rape can... Read more »

Genocide and Extermination

Genocide, the intentional destruction of a specific group, is an important subject for state crimes, yet it remains under explored within the discipline and genocide studies have tended to be the remit of historians and theologians. Social scientists rarely turned their attention to the study of this particular type of criminality until the 1970s and... Read more »

Immigration and Asylum

Jimmy Mubenga
All countries practise immigration controls. But in an era of globalisation, the rich industrialised nations have colluded in the creation of a global system of migration controls which serves the interests of market states and global elites, while excluding the poor and persecuted from the culture of human rights. Some commentators characterise this as a... Read more »

Natural Disasters Exacerbated by Government (In)action

The consequences of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, hurricanes, drought and floods are increasingly important subjects for scholars of state crimes but they remain underexplored within the discipline, not least because of their problematic characterization as “natural disasters”. It is not the climatic or geophysical hazard which kills rather it is the political, economic and social structures... Read more »

Organised Police Crime and Deviance

Resistance and Civil Society

State Terror and Terrorism

State crime frequently masquerades as counter terrorism. Counter terrorism encompasses laws, police, security, and military powers and measures directed at what states determine are terrorist threats. Terrorism is notoriously difficult to define and its definitions selectively applied. The difficulties of defining terrorism, combined with the ease with which states apply the label, means that what... Read more »

State-Corporate Crime

The concept of state-corporate crime refers to crimes that result from the relationship between the policies of the state and the policies and practices of commercially motivated corporations. The term was coined by Kramer and Michalowski in 1990. While the subject of numerous case studies and theoretical debates, state-corporate crime as a criminological focus remains... Read more »

Theory and Methodology


Torture is a specific form of state violence. In practice, the boundaries of torture are subject to vigorous debate for instance, does a tortured person have to be detained? Can rape be a form of torture? Where does psychological pressure, or degrading treatment, end and torture begin? These questions illustrate the ongoing contentious nature of... Read more »

Transitional Justice

Transitional justice refers to certain mechanisms adopted by states in a period of transition from conflict to peace, or from a form of authoritarianism to a form of liberal democracy. These mechanisms are designed with reference to human rights standards and promote a number of discourses and outcomes: conflict resolution, international criminal justice, peacebuilding, restorative... Read more »

War Crimes