Countries that have passed laws to choke off terrorist fundraising have created a new problem for themselves: terror groups could be turning to organized crime to raise money.
Solicitor-General Lawrence MacAulay said the convergence of terrorism and organized crime will be a top agenda item as G8 justice and security ministers and officials meet today for their first gathering since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
'Two Paths Will Meet'
"Organized crime and terrorism have been on two different paths, but now when you see the legislation that has been put in place by G8 countries and other countries around the world there is a great concern that ... two paths will meet and they will get involved in organized crime in order to support the terrorist activities," MacAulay said yesterday.
The international fight against terrorism is expected to dominate the two-day meeting. Other agenda items include how to collectively battle child pornography on the Internet, when laws against child porn stop at each country's borders. Organized crime and cybercrime are also up for discussion.
About one dozen ministers and senior bureaucrats from the G8 countries, including MacAulay and Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, began arriving yesterday in this quiet resort town in the Laurentians north of Montreal.
As security from three police forces patroled the village and organizers sealed off entry to the luxury hotel housing the delegates, protesters who had quietly threatened to demonstrate were nowhere to be found.
Besides Canada, only the United States and Italy have sent ministers. The other countries - Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Russia - are represented by senior bureaucrats or state secretaries.
MacAulay and Cauchon are to meet privately today with U.S. Attorney-General John Ashcroft, and Cauchon says he will raise concerns about the United States pulling out of the treaty that establishes the world's first permanent international war-crimes court.
Canada is a prime backer of the court, which will prosecute war crimes, including genocide and crimes against humanity, occurring after July 1.
Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham has already said he is extremely disappointed with the U.S. announcement last week of a pullout.
The U.S. fears the court could be influenced by opponents of U.S. foreign policy and that it could be used to prosecute U.S. soldiers and diplomats.
The meeting is one of several leading up the G8 leaders' summit in June in Kananaskis, Alta.
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