• Ivana Marković


environmental crimes, administrative dependence, endangerment, complexity, statistics, Serbia.



Environmental crimes have currently become, like no other, a symbol of crimes that are hard to investigate and prove, despite being committed literally every day in our immediate surroundings - on soil, in the air and in water, to humans and to animals. The massive long-term consequences of these crimes and the ongoing technological progress with its implications for flora and fauna, and by this for our immediate preconditions for life, have put them in the centre of attention. Yet, conviction rates are not proportionate to the importance and occurrence of these crimes. Reasons for that can be found in the very features of these offences. The purpose of this paper will therefore be to show and analyze the connection of the characteristics of environmental crimes with the disproportionally low convictions for them, stemming from problems in their detection and later proving.


Doctrinal legal research is combined with statistical data, leading to normative conclusions and recommendations. The paper therefore deals first with the legislative formulations of environmental crimes, their forms and statistics, here in particular from the Republic of Serbia, which will serve as a representative example. Deriving from this initial base, the characteristics of environmental crimes are filtered out and analyzed in the context of their challenging detection and proving.



The variety, heterogeneity and complexity of environmental crimes, their blank legislative formulations, referrals to (or rather dependence on) administrative provisions (regulatory violations), the specific consequences of abstract and concrete endangerment, damage/harm can be underlined as difficulties for prosecution.


The originality and value of the paper lie in recognizing and extracting the characteristics of environmental crimes that are problematic for their detection and proving, and that hence represent the main factors that influence the low number of convictions or even charges for and reports of these kind of crimes. The practical issues of a high number of unreported cases and challenges for their prosecution have been identified within their normative formations. In addition, those characteristics of environmental crimes can be found in the majority of jurisdictions worldwide and can be described as nearly universal. Therefore, the findings can provide the basis for general suggestions de lege ferenda for environmental crimes, beyond one certain legislation.

Keywords: environmental crimes, administrative dependence, endangerment, complexity, statistics, Serbia.




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Contemporary Challenges in Detecting and Proving Crime