Local law and international law have a normative influence on one another. This is particularly evident in the law of transnational crime, which sits in a hybrid space between the two. In that context, this article is concerned with the intersection between the local and the international through the prism of transnational criminal law. The law of transnational crime sits at one of the many junctures where the local and the international intersect. Issues of jurisdiction, extradition, mutual assistance, national security and human rights collide and intermingle in a symbiotic relationship between the local and the international. It should come as no surprise, then, that the development of domestic legislative frameworks on transnational crime have been influenced by international and foreign law. In Australia, at least, there is evidence of such influence in parliamentary second reading speeches, explanatory memoranda and in official statements of elected representatives as legislators. In East and South-East Asia, for example, such influence can be seen in penal codes and constitutions.
In that context, this paper posits that three distinct incarnations of the relationship between international and domestic law on transnational crime can be identified. It does so with a focus on legislative, rather than judicial, engagement with international law. First, international law has had a normative influence on the substantive content of criminal offences. Second, international law and domestic law concerning transnational crime have together further developed the principles of extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction. Third, international law is sometimes used by legislators in attempts to legitimise law reform on controversial issues.
Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law, Australia