post / 29 June 2023

Negotiating with Organized Crime Groups: Questions of Law, Policy and Imagination

Negotiations with organized crime groups occur more often than realized, and raise complex questions of ethics, practice and policy. Currently, law provides few incentives for States to choose the path of negotiation, and thus the political costs and moral hazards remain very high and a mano dura (“firm hand”) approach prevails. This paper examines some of the challenges faced by those who in good faith might initiate or participate in negotiations with such groups, offering an assessment of how those challenges can be mitigated and an inquiry, in particular, into how law and policy might be improved or reimagined to make such negotiation more feasible and effective in contexts of armed conflict or other situations of violence.

Originally published in International Review of the Red Cross.

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