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Russia: International Conference On Organized Crime

By Lev Roitman

Onate, Spain; 4 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - An expert says crime is the most serious threat to democratic institutions in countries in transition. An international conference on global organized crime has opened in Onate, Spain. And, our correspondent reports that more than 80 scholars and experts from 18 countries are attending, including criminologists from the U.S., Russia, Ukraine, Latvia and Moldova.

Professor Johannes Faest of Germany, an academic director of the conference, said the end of the Cold War reduced many traditional security challenges. But, he said, this only cleared the way for crime to become the most serious threat to democratic institutions, the rule of law, community welfare and basic values of human rights.

Conference discussions focus on balancing society's needs and observance of human rights - with the need to combat drug-smuggling, terrorism, corruption, money-laundering and other financial crimes.