Good Example Of Research Paper On Crimes Committed
Viktor Bout was a common name for logistic chiefs of the United Nations, United States and even NATO initially. He was a transporter of cargo into war zones. Although he has a significant history with the KGB, he was an essential part of maintaining the peace. His cargo planes flew in and out of some of the most inhospitable parts of the world. His UN cargo included flowers, frozen chicken and weapons. He was fluent in seven different languages including Arabic. This enabled him to fly cargo trips for the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan during the Afghan war. However humanitarian missions do not pay as much as black market payloads; especially for countries under sanctions. Eventually, Bout focused more on flying weapons for countries and organizations that were determined to rid the world of Americans and Israelis. This led to his subsequent fallout with the United States and his incarceration.
The nature of crimes committed by Viktor Bout was political; there were a lot of possible outcomes from each and every shady deal he undertook. Whether it was shipping weapons to countries with weapons embargo or selling planes to terrorist organizations.
Nature of crimes
Viktor Bout probably never killed anyone directly however his actions led to genocide and anarchy across Africa. He was the gun runner who supplied partisan armies with weapons that they used for ethnic cleansing. Although his motive was most likely to gain monetary profit, he became the extended arm of terrorist organizations and ruthless dictators. This gave Viktor’s actions the conspiracy angle. Even his eventual sting operation was for conspiring to kill U.S. soldiers.
The locations of Viktor’s operations loomed largely across Africa where he supplied Libya, Lebanon, Congo, Kenya, Angola and Rwanda. He also supplied arms to the Northern Alliance and the Taliban. It is also believed that he ran most of his business transactions based out of Russia.
Period of criminal actions
Viktor Bout started his cargo business after his military stint with the Russian Army and the KGB in the 1990s. He carried his actions through to the 2000s. His business operations were limited to Africa and parts of the middle-east during the 1990s. He then expanded into Afghanistan, Congo, Kenya, Lebanon and Libya during the 2000s.
The people affected by the actions of Viktor Bout were innocent civilians who were caught in the fury of a civil war or facing the backlash of a terrorist organization that was armed equally to match government forces. U.N. peace keepers also faced hardship when local militia managed to get hold of sophisticated surface to air missiles and rockets. The people of Afghanistan were particularly affected after Bout’s aircrafts managed to smuggle vast quantities of gold from the country during the closing stages of the Afghan war post 9/11.
All criminal actions are potent with motivation; this is what compels the individual to engage in the act of committing crime. Likewise, Viktor Bout also had his reasons to turn rouge and turn against the forces that he once supported to keep the peace.
Viktor Bout was a well known arms dealer in Russia. He had several political connections and also served in the GRU; an intelligence wing of the KGB. His intentions had a political ring especially against the United States and her allies. All of his clientele from the 2000s had a common enemy; the United States of America. Although Viktor had supposedly ended his military commission with Russia, it was the Russian parliament that strongly objected to his arrest and eventual sentencing. Perhaps he was hoping that his operations were a small extension of carrying on with Cold War intentions.
Arms’ dealing is a very lucrative trade even when it is conducted legitimately. Viktor chose his clients carefully from the mineral rich continent of Africa. Hence, it would be fair to ascertain that he had steep monetary benefits from his infamous trade. He was known as the “Sanction Buster” for delivering essential military hardware into territories that were marked by the rest of the world as “Embargoed”. Potentially the prices in the black market even for small arms such as pistols and light weight rifles would have been as high as buying high powered weapons in the legal market. His high profits allowed him to chance flying in and out of no-fly zones.
Theory of Crime: Viktor Bout
Viktor’s crimes were against humanity. The reason why the United Nations maintained arms embargo against certain African countries was to prevent the country’s armies from plundering and pillaging innocent people across the plains. Viktor however, provided these armies with the weapons that they used effectively in some of the bloodiest conflicts the African continent had ever witnessed. In addition, Viktor was inclined to weaken the defense of nations such as the United States that continuously strive to sustain peace and provide humanitarian assistance to the affected African population. His supply of surface to air missiles and rockets are a testament to that.
Investigation and trial
The investigation of the case was led by the United States; although Swedish authorities were already issuing warrants for his arrest in money laundering cases. It was hard to determine his exact location and hence, the DEA was called in to check if Viktor would intentionally harm the interests of the United States and her soldiers. DEA agents went under the guise of being agents for the dreaded FRAC rebels. They were looking for armaments ranging from armor piercing rounds to hand held rockets that could be used to bring down low flying fighter planes. The Columbian rebels have been fighting an extensive war against their own government and U.S. law enforcement agencies like the DEA and the ATF. Viktor Bout agreed to supply the weapons and expressed intentions at harming U.S. pilots during the undercover meetings. This was sufficient to place Viktor Bout under arrest on foreign soil (Thailand) in September 2008.
Although Thailand had an extradition treaty with the United States, the pressure from Russia in the north was clearly overwhelming the Thai judiciary (BBC, 2009). The first request for extradition was turned down even as the Russian vehemently protested Viktor’s innocence. The United States appealed the lower court decision in the Thai high court. This time in the high court, the go-ahead was given to the United States to fly Viktor Bout to the United States to stand trial for his crimes (RT, 2012).
The subsequent trial was entirely constructed upon the theory of the sting operation since Viktor had not openly engaged in any action that endangered the defense of the United States of America. There were continued protests throughout the trial from Russia. Viktor himself was confident of beating the charges since they were based on speculated theory and not concrete facts (Fuller, 2010).
A Manhattan jury found Viktor Bout guilty of conspiring to kill American soldiers in 2011; three years after his actual arrest by the Royal Thai police. However, the sentencing judge only passed the minimum sentence of twenty five years. He ascertained that Viktor Bout did not commit any action that harmed U.S. security interests since his admissions were only part of a sting operation. Hence, there was no room to jail Viktor Bout for anything more than conspiracy.
Viktor Bout was convinced that his conviction was based on vindictive prosecution. He appealed against his conviction at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in September 2013; five years after he was arrested. The court however, upheld the judgment and declined to entertain Viktor Bout’s appeal (Stempel, 2013). This spelled the end of the Merchant of Death. Viktor Bout was immortalized by the silver screen with the 2005 movie, “Lord of War”. His character was also featured in the 2014 documentary, “The Notorious Mr. Bout”.
At the height of the Edward Snowden episode with Russia, there were speculations that Viktor Bout might be traded for the former CIA contractor who released several classified documents to a public website. Although there were several political overtures for his release, Viktor Bout stays at the US penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. The illustrious and infamous career of the former Soviet translator popularly known as the “Sanctions Buster” was effectively over.
The twenty five year sentence and freezing of all his assets except the ones in Russia has ensured that the man who made avenues for war would no longer affect the indigenous population of Africa or the middle-east.
Freeman, Colin (2014). Viktor Bout: husband, father, arms dealer. Retrieved from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/10991892/Viktor-Bout-husband-father-arms-dealer.html
Stempel, Jonathan (2013). Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout's U.S. conviction upheld. Retrieved from: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/27/us-usa-crime-bout-idUSBRE98Q0PG20130927
RT Staff (2012). US pressured Thai officials in Bout extradition case – attorney. Retrieved from: http://rt.com/politics/viktor-bouts-defense-retrial-248/
Fuller, Thomas (2010). Arms Suspect Vows to Win Case in U.S. After Extradition Order. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/21/world/asia/21thai.html?_r=0
BBC staff (2009). Thailand rejects Bout extradition. Retrieved from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8194824.stm
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