Compendium of United Nations Standards and Norms in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

The Compendium of United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice contains internationally recognized normative principles and standards in crime prevention and criminal justice developed by the international community in the last fifty-one years.

Over the years a considerable body of United Nations standards and norms related to crime prevention and criminal justice has emerged, covering a wide variety of issues such as juvenile justice, the treatment of offenders, international cooperation, good governance, victim protection and violence against women.

These standards and norms have provided a collective vision of how criminal justice system should be structured and have helped to significantly promote more effective and fair criminal justice structures in three dimensions. Firstly, they can be utilized at national level by fostering in-depth assessments leading to the adoption of necessary criminal justice reforms; secondly, they can help countries to develop sub-regional and regional strategies; and thirdly, globally and internationally, the standards and norms represent "best practices" which can be adapted by States to meet national needs.

The first edition of the Compendium was published in 1992. After more than a decade and in order to assist countries to respond to the emerging threats and needs, it was decided to update the text so as to include the standards and norms developed after 1992.

This updated version of the Compendium has been structured in accordance with a new clustering system articulated in four sections: 

  1. standards and norms related primarily to persons in custody, non-custodial sanctions, juvenile justice and restorative justice;
  2. standards and norms related primarily to legal, institutional and practical arrangements for international cooperation;
  3. standards and norms related primarily to crime prevention and victim issues; and
  4. standards and norms related primarily to good governance, the independence of the judiciary and the integrity of criminal justice personnel.

It is hoped that this updated version of the Compendium will contribute to a wider awareness and dissemination of the United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice and, consequently, will reinforce the respect for the rule of law and human rights in the administration of justice.

The following files are in Portable Document Format (pdf). 

Download the complete Compendium in Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish or the individual sections below ( Arabic | Chinese | French | Russian | Spanish ):

Part One: Persons in custody, non-custodial sanctions, juvenile justice and restorative justice

Part Two: Legal, institutional and practical arrangements for international cooperation

Part Three: Crime prevention and victim issues

Part Four: Good governance, the independence of the judiciary and the integrity of criminal justice personnel