Illegal association , in Law , is an association with the intention of permanence, agreed between several individuals in order to commit an indeterminate number of criminal offenses . In some countries it is considered an autonomous crime and in others a simple aggravating circumstance. It differs from conspiracy in that the latter is an agreement between several people to commit a specific crime. Within criminal law, the concept of illicit association is also related to the concept of «gang», which for one current are synonymous and for another current they are differentiated by the circumstance that the gang may have been created to plan and organize a certain crime, while the illicit association is always created to commit an indeterminate number of crimes.
In some countries, the mere fact of belonging to an illicit association is considered an autonomous crime, belonging to the class of crimes of abstract danger . In these cases, the crime is committed before the commission of the crimes for which it was created and even though no crime has been committed. This modality has been questioned for violating basic guarantees of the Rule of Law , such as the principles of legality , confidentiality , harmfulness and non bis in idem (double sentence for the same crime). 3 In other countries, the illicit association is not an autonomous crime, and is only considered an aggravating circumstancein cases where the commission of crimes organized by said association is proven.
In the legal field there is a law known as the crime of unlawful association. As its name indicates, the idea of illicit association means that a group of people establish a bond or association to commit an illegal act, that is, something illicit.
As a general rule, this type of offense is carried out by criminal groups
Criminal associations are usually organized through a structure , which is why organized crime is referred to . This means that a group of criminals is considered an illicit association when a series of circumstances occurs.
First, whether the group or association has a common goal. Second, when its members share a series of functions or tasks so that your organization is as efficient as possible. On the other hand, its organizational structure is governed by some type of standard or code and has a certain hierarchy to coordinate its illegal activities.
Obviously, its members have close cooperation ties and maintain economic or social ties. When all these conditions are met, it is possible to speak of a criminal organization guided by the illicit association to commit crimes.
In short, every crime related to an illicit association has three elements: the intention to be part of an association or group, a minimum number of components and, of course, a criminal purpose.
Various terms related to the concept of illicit association
When talking about illicit association, there is a wide range of associated terms, such as band, mob group, organized crime, among others. Each of them has its own way to structure itself.
The Italian Mafia, Chinese Triads and Japanese Yacuza
If we take the Italian mafia as a reference, this criminal organization has a boss or gift and a vice or substitute, the sottocapo. Below them there is a consigliere, a caporegime, a capocime, a soldier and an aspiring soldier or associati.
As its name implies, Chinese triads are organized by groups of three people
Each of these groups has connections with others through one of its members, thus, the other members do not know what the connections of each triad are. This system is especially effective in preventing police investigations .
Members of the Japanese mafia or yakuza form a private illicit association. They have a form of organization similar to that of a family , as there is a father (the oyabun-kobun) and a series of children who swear loyalty to him.
As their name suggests, the Chinese triads are organized in groups of three people.
Each one of these groups has connections with others through one of its members and in this way the rest of the members do not know what the connections of each triad are. This system is especially effective in preventing police investigation .
Members of the Japanese mafia or jacuza form a singular illicit association . They have a way of organizing themselves similar to that of a family , since there is a father (the oyabun-kobun) and a series of children who swear allegiance to him.