Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

(Bangkok, Thailand, 18-25 April 2005)

Background

The United Nations General Assembly, by its resolution 57/17 of 18 December 2002, accepted with gratitude the offer of the Government of Thailand to host the Eleventh Congress. The Assembly also decided that the main theme of the Eleventh Congress shall be " Synergies and responses: strategic alliances in crime prevention and criminal justice ".

Provisional agenda:

  1. Opening of the Congress.
  2. Organizational matters.
  3. Effective measures to combat transnational organized crime.
  4. International cooperation against terrorism and links between terrorism and other criminal activities in the context of the work of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
  5. Corruption: threats and trends in the twenty-first century.
  6. Economic and financial crimes: challenges to sustainable development.
  7. Making standards work: fifty years of standard-setting in crime prevention and criminal justice.
  8. Adoption of the report of the Congress.

Workshop 1: Enhancing international law enforcement cooperation, including extradition measures;

Workshop 2: Enhancing criminal justice reform, including restorative justice;

Workshop 3: Strategies and best practices for crime prevention, in particular inrelation to urban crime and youth at risk;

Workshop 4: Measures to combat terrorism, with reference to the relevant international conventions and protocols;

Workshop 5: Measures to combat economic crime, including money-laundering;

Workshop 6: Measures to combat computer-related crime.

The Assembly also decided that a high-level segment would be held during the last three days of the Congress in order to allow heads of State or Government or government ministers to focus on the main substantive agenda items of the Congress.

In the same resolution, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to prepare a discussion guide to stimulate discussion of issues of major concern and to identify the main policy options for consideration and action by the Eleventh Congress.

In accordance with General Assembly resolution 56/119 of 19 December 2001, the Crime Congresses are expected to adopt a single declaration containing recommendations emerging from the discussion of its substantive items, as well as from the deliberations of the high-level segment, the round tables and the workshops. After adoption, the declaration is be submitted to the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice for its consideration and further follow-up action.

Attendance of the Congress

More than 3000 participants attended the Eleventh Congress. Invitations to the were sent to Governments, as well as to representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, specialized agencies and other United Nations entities. Following past practice, individual experts could also indicate their interest in attending and their professional qualifications in order to receive an invitation to participate, at their own expense.

Accredited members of the media by the Department of Public Information provided press, television and radio coverage.

The Congress was conducted in one of the official languages of the United Nations, i.e., Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish, with simultaneous interpretation into the other official languages.

Contributions to the work of the Eleventh Congress

The United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, acting as the preparatory body for the Congress, discussed, at its Eleventh and Twelfth sessions, progress made in the preparations for the Eleventh Congress. The Commission finalized, for approval of the General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council, the proposals for the Eleventh Congress. The Commission had before it reports of the Secretary-General on the progress made in the preparations for the Eleventh Congress (E/CN.15/2002/12 and E/CN.15/2003/11 and Add.1 and Corr.1), which contained not only the views of Member States on the main theme, agenda items and workshop topics for the Eleventh Congress, but also those of relevant specialized agencies and United Nations programmes, intergovernmental organizations and other entities, non-governmental organizations and the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network of institutes.

Entities and programmes of the United Nations system can make major contributions to the Congress in areas of common concern, where their expertise and perspective would illuminate the discussion and further an integrated approach. Efforts to involve other parts of the United Nations system in partnerships to mutual advantage have been strengthened.

Non-governmental organizations can also make important contributions to the work of the Crime Congresses. In line with past practice, NGOs convened ancillary meetings and engaged in advocacy vis-à-vis governments and their representatives on the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Professional partnerships have been created channelling the contributions of NGOs and the scholarly community into the Congress proceedings. The NGO Alliances in Vienna and New York have provided valuable input through their working groups, information sharing and other activities. Through their periodic meetings, they have offered opportunities for ongoing contacts and dialogue. Also the International Scientific and Professional Advisory Council (ISPAC) made a major contribution to the Congresses and to the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice programme, including by highlighting priority issues. It developed selected training materials to upgrade national capabilities in critical sectors, such as the treatment of offenders and prison reform.

The importance of involvement of the private sector was stressed by several delegations at the Eleventh Congress. Previous Congresses benefited from private sector participation, especially in computer exhibits and demonstrations, particularly the use of security equipment for crime prevention, of computers in criminal justice systems, and of information networks and technological advances in criminal investigations.

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