State-Corporate Crime and the Commodification of Victimhood: The Toxic Legacy of Trafigura’s Ship of Death, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

State-Corporate Crime and the Commodification of Victimhood

The Toxic Legacy of Trafigura’s Ship of Death, 1st Edition

By Thomas MacManus


182 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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This book highlights the continuing impunity enjoyed by corporations for large scale crimes, and in particular the crime of toxic waste dumping in Ivory Coast in 2006. It provides an account of the crime, and outlines contributory reasons for the impunity both under the law and from a criminological point of view. Furthermore, the book reveals the retrogressive role of civil society organisations (CSOs) in Ivory coast, contrary to the societal expectations made of 'non-governmental' organisations (NGOs) and CSOs.

This book reveals that in the case of this particular example of state-corporate crime, civil society as an agency of censure and sanction actually played a distinctly retrogressive role. Here, in fact, state and state-corporate crime facilitates corruption within the civil society sphere through a process referred to in the book as the ‘commodification of victimhood’ and, as a result, ensures that impunity is virtually guaranteed for the corporation and the Ivorian government. This book also examines the failure of international and domestic legal measures to sanction the perpetrators alongside civil society’s shortcomings and ultimately advocates a more cautionary approach to civil society’s potential to label, censure and sanction large-scale state-corporate crime.

This book will help readers understand the difficulties in sanctioning such crime as well as promoting the theoretical framework of state crime, the understanding of which could lead to the alleviation of human suffering at the hands of criminal states and corporations.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Applying a Criminological Framework

2. State-Corporate Crime: Origins of the ‘Ship of Death’

3. The Probo Koala Arrives at Abidjan

4. The Development of the State of Ivory Coast

5. Explanations for Impunity

6. Civil Society’s Role

7. Researching Civil Society in Ivory Coast

8. Organisational Crime and the ‘Commodification of Victimhood’

9. Cover-up and Denial: The Battle in Britain

10. Conclusion

Appendix: Victim Card (issued by FAVIDET)



About the Author

Thomas MacManus is a Research Fellow and concentrates on the crimes of the powerful. He is based at the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI, in the Department of Law at Queen Mary University of London ( He is admitted as an Attorney-at-Law (New York) and solicitor (Ireland). He is an editor in chief of State Crime Journal, and joint editor of Amicus Journal: Assisting Lawyers for Justice on Death Row. He is a director of the Colombia Caravana (

About the Series

Crimes of the Powerful

Crimes of the Powerful encompasses the harmful, injurious, and victimizing behaviors perpetrated by privately or publicly operated businesses, corporations, and organizations as well as the state mediated administrative, legalistic, and political responses to these crimes.

The series draws attention to the commonalities of the theories, practices, and controls of the crimes of the powerful. It focuses on the overlapping spheres and inter-related worlds of a wide array of existing and recently developing areas of social, historical, and behavioral inquiry into the wrongdoings of multinational organizations, nation-states, stateless regimes, illegal networks, financialization, globalization, and securitization.

These examinations of the crimes of the powerful straddle a variety of related disciplines and areas of academic interest, including studies in criminology and criminal justice; law and human rights; conflict, peace, and security; economic change, environmental decay, and global sustainability.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Natural Resource Extraction
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology