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Global Crime Requires Global Police Cooperation

(Washington, DC--March 6, 2002) An Italian prosecutor with expertise in fighting corruption says that the Italian judicial system was able to convict corrupt politicians with solid evidence only because it received international judicial cooperation.

Dr. Paolo Ielo, Deputy Prosecutor of Milan and an active member of the "Clean Hands" group of prosecutors and judges, told a RFE/RL audience last week that today's "globalized criminal activities require globalized police efforts." Ielo said every government should sign the treaties which allow for interstate judicial cooperation, otherwise prosecutors in one country will be hampered when tracing the transnational flow of illegal money used to corrupt native politicians.

"Technology can make the difference, too," said Ielo, explaining that prosecutors need to respond in a timely manner by having "technology as good as the criminals'" in this age of electronic wire transfers. From his experience, Ielo has seen that at the "highest levels of corruption, prosecutors need the most sophisticated tools of investigation."

Ielo said that another "fundamental element in the fight against corruption is the press," which generated citizen support for the judicial system in Italy during the "Clean Hands" campaign. He acknowledged that not enough had been done to sustain the anti-corruption campaign over time. Ielo suggested that in order to "win the battle [against corruption] all governmental institutions need to see it in the nation's interest" and not rely on swings in public opinion.