1st Edition

Policing the Amazon Why the Rule of Law is Crucial for the Future

Edited By Vicente Riccio, Guilherme Lopes da Cunha Copyright 2025
    302 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    302 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This edited collection discusses the rule of law in the Amazon and the capabilities of the region’s sovereign states to police their territory considering security matters. Comprised of nine countries, including a European Union member, the Amazon region features states facing political instability, poverty, social inequalities, high levels of corruption, and lack of trust by their populations. This context is aggravated by the presence of criminal organizations operating there and shaping transnational bonds. Notably, the world’s foremost cocaine-producing countries — Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia — are located in the region, presenting related turmoil and instability. Moreover, as home to the largest rainforest on Earth and the widest biodiversity, the region is an object of concern due to environmental reasons. The protection of these natural resources as well as the traditional peoples living there is intertwined with issues of development, security, and policing.  

    The book delves into questions on the international agenda, such as: How is it possible to sustain the rule of law in the Amazon? What are the states’ capabilities for controlling the territory and enforcing the law? How do these states deal with the growing urban violence in the region? What are the capabilities of public authorities for proposing law and policies, and judicial systems to process, prevent, and suppress different crimes such as drug dealing, smuggling, human trafficking, terrorism, and environmental crimes? 

    The book fills a gap in English-language scholarship exploring the context of the rule of law in the Amazon and the impact on policing activities. It is ideal for a wide range of audiences, including policing scholars, law enforcement and community leaders, and students focusing on criminal justice and the Amazon.  


    Introduction: Why the Rule of Law?

    Vicente Riccio and Guilherme Lopes

    Part I: Crime, Violence, and the Rule of Law in the Amazon

    1 – Rule of Law and Environmental Crimes in Southern Amazonas

    Vicente Riccio, Giuseppe Giura, Deborah De Felice, Dorlí João Marques, Antonio Gelson de Oliveira Nascimento

    2 – The Law in a Frontier Region: The Peruvian State and its Complex Relationships with the Amazon

    Oscar Espinosa

    3 – Devastating devastation: impact of crime in the Colombian Amazon

    Juan Carlos Ruiz Vazquez, Rubén Sánchez David

    4 - Organized Crime and the Intelligence System in Amazonas

    Rodrigo Castro, Fabio Licata, Giuseppe Giura, Sandro Sarkis, and Vicente Riccio

    5 - Ecuador’s presence in the Amazon: security, weak institutions, questioned capabilities and strategic opportunities

    Katalina Barreiro Santana and Diego Pérez Enríquez

    6 - Strategic resources, border economies, urbanization of the indigenous population and transnational threats in the Amazon: the security problems of Lago Agrio in Ecuador

    Milton Reyes Herrera, Patricio Trujillo Montalvo

    7 – Policing Indigenous Lands Impacted by Hydroelectrical Dams in the Brazilian State of Rondônia

    Rafael, Artur de Souza Moret, Jean Carlo dos Santos

    8 – A Polycentric Governance Model through the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization: Capabilities for Tackling Transnational Threats?

    Carlos Alberto Teixeira Lazary, Fabio Queiroz and Guilherme Lopes

    Part II – Policing Challenges in the Amazon

    9 – Being a Policewoman in the Brazilian Amazon

    Ludmila Ribeiro

    10 – Procedural Justice Perceptions and Hierarchy at the Civil Police of Amazonas

    Eduardo Magrone, Mario Aufiero, Vicente Riccio, Wagner Silveira Rezende

    11 – Pressure on the Brazilian Amazon border and State discretion in granting asylum to Venezuelans

    Janaína de Mendonça Fernandes

    Part III – Law and the Environmental Protection in the Amazon

    12 – Intellectual Property Rights Legislation as a Source of Inequality: a case study based on natural genetic resources from the Amazon region

    Marcos Vinício Chein Feres

    13 - The environmental protection in French Guiana: normative scheme and stakes

    Frédéric Bondil, Carole Hassoun, Mathilde Kamal-Girard, Jean-Philippe Vauthier

    14 – Piracy and Traditional Knowledge in the Amazon

    Raimundo Pontes

    15 – The Brazilian Amazon Between Geopolitics and Law

    Guilherme Sandoval Góes and Antonio dos Santos


    Vicente Riccio holds a doctorate on Sociology from Instituto Universitário de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro and was the coordinator of the graduate program of Law and Innovation at Federal University of Juiz de For a (2017 – 2023), Brazil. He also has worked as a consultant for many public institutions in Brazil, such as the Ministry of Justice, Public Security Secretary of Rio de Janeiro, Civil Police of Amazonas. His research interests are police reform, legal systems in developing democracies, media, justice and video evidence. He has organized “Police and Society in Brazil” (Routledge) book coedited with Wesley Skogan (Northwestern University. He has also published articles and book chapters in international and Brazilian publications.

    Guilherme Lopes da Cunha is an Adjunct Professor at the Brazilian War College (ESG), and a Collaborating Professor at the Brazilian Defense College (ESD) from the Brazilian Ministry of Defense. Associate Researcher in the Projects "Critical Analysis of Judicial Decisions Relating to Environmental Crimes in the Amazon: the case of Apuí and Lábrea”, and "Prospective for Security and Defense” (PROCAD-DEFESA), supported by the Brazilian Ministries of Defense and Education. He holds Postdoctoral Studies in International Relations (2021-2023) at the University of Brasilia, PhD (2017) and MA (2013) in International Political Economy at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and Bachelor of Laws (2005) at the Catholic University of Petrópolis. Executive Committee Member and Section Program Chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies Section (IDSS) at the International Studies Association (ISA)