The 18th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology took place from August 29th to September 1st 2018 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, under the title Crimes against Humans and Crimes against Humanity: Challenges for Modern Criminology. Total of 1203 registered participants, plus additional 100 volunteers, contributed to the organization of one of the best ESC conferences to date. A total of 300+ sessions had been organized, at 30 different locations, covering a range of topics related to crimes against humans and crimes against humanity. It is worth noting that, looking at the number of active participants, this event was bigger than the Winter Olympic Games held in Sarajevo in 1984. Therefore, at the opening ceremony, I have described the conference as the Olympic Games for Criminologists.
With the organization of this conference, the second of a kind in the world, the University of Sarajevo and the Faculty of Criminalistics, Criminology and Security Studies, are officially placed on the criminological map of the world. And whereas the conference itself belongs to the history, the research and ideas presented, the discussions and conversations held, will have its impact on the future. New projects will be developed, new collaborations will be established,
and new solutions to the societal problems will be found.
In order to preserve some of the ideas, and thereby contribute to the future of criminology in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Europe and the world, the Faculty of Criminalistics, Criminology and Security Studies has decided to invite presenters to submit their work for potential publication in the Criminal Justice Issues – the Journal of Criminalistics, Criminology and Security Studies, which publishes papers in English once a year. A number of papers have been submitted for
consideration, and those that have satisfied rigorous, double blind peer reviewing process are being published in this issue.
The paper that deserves particular attention is MEETING THE DEMANDS OF JUSTICE WHILST COPING WITH CRUSHING CASELOADS? HOW SYKES AND MATZA HELP US UNDERSTAND PROSECUTORS ACROSS EUROPE, written by Marianne L. Wade. This paper, which was presented at one of the main plenary sessions, examines the procedural paths taken by criminal justice systems in dealing with crimes against humans. It highlights the dearth of knowledge in relation
to prosecutors work within them despite this being key to understanding how criminal justice systems work “producing justice” as a whole. It draws together what information is available to highlight how far systems across Europe have moved towards more negotiated forms of justice for a vast majority of cases, despite the professed abhorrence at US style plea bargaining most jurisdictions profess. Utilising Sykes and Matza’s seminal “techniques of neutralisation” as a tool, it highlights how far the proliferation of such modern criminal justice practices has gone to warp the kind of justice produced in the vast majority of cases. It highlights the efforts of prosecutors as largely principled and reasoned in nature but producing a “justice” likely not to resonate with the broader public. It therefore highlights the need for honest reflection upon what is needed from criminal justice systems and the necessity of reform in light of this
to ensure our systems remain legitimate. This honest reflection is emphasised as particularly necessary as domestic systems serve as models (and the source of personnel) for transnational and international(ised) criminal justice systems.
In addition to this paper, this issue contains articles covering a range of topics. Some papers are focusing on prevention, other on sanctions. Some papers are written from a national perspective (Hungary, Mexico, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland, Australia, etc.), others utilise a comparative approach. Some authors are focusing on a particular type of criminal behaviours (environmental crime, homicide, corruption, or terrorism), others on particular offenders (individuals,
groups, or states). As expected, in this issue you will find papers that deal with crimes against humans, but also crimes against humanity. Unsurprisingly, some authors have opted for analysing different participants within a criminal justice system (a victim, or a prosecutor), whereas others have decided to assess the work of the whole criminal justice system.
Regardless of what your topic of interest, you will find something interesting in this issue. With the exception of the first paper, which is the paper from the plenary session, all other papers are listed alphabetically, by the family name of the first author.
In the end, after the ESC Sarajevo 2018 Conference, it has to be asked - what can be expected in the future? What will the future (Bosnia and Herzegovina) bring to criminology? And what will criminology bring to the future (Bosnia and Herzegovina)? It is common place to observe that post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina is facing various challenges: cybercrime, ecological crime, migration flows, crimes against children, trafficking in human beings, terrorism, organized crime, corruption, are only the first once that come to mind. If these are to be addressed properly, they will have to be well researched and understood. It is hoped that this ESC Conference will lead governments in Bosnia and Herzegovina to recognize a direct link between criminological
research, as a process of fact finding, on one side and effective criminal justice and other security policies, on the other. This, it is hoped, would lead to a dedication of budgetary funds for criminological research, which would provide a fertile ground for further development of criminology in the country and, later on, contribute to introduction of evidence based policies.