Working Group reaffirms commitment to ensuring effective implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
30 October 2013-The seventh session of the Working Group of Government Experts on Technical Assistance closed on Wednesday at UN Headquarters in Vienna. Over a three-day period, the meeting brought together experts from States parties and signatories to the Organized Crime Convention. A number of recommendations on the provision of technical assistance under the Convention were adopted by the Working Group.
Experts from States addressed a wide range of issues concerning the provision of technical assistance in the area of identifying and protecting victims of and witnesses to organized crimes, as well as the establishment of capacity-building programs to enhance inter-agency cooperation and coordination. Expanding the knowledge base on transnational organized crime was concluded to be one of the core elements of the technical assistance needs of the states.
The Working Group also recognized the importance of national legislation as a means of giving life to the Convention and there was a fruitful discussion on assistance in harmonizing national legislation with the Organized Crime Convention and its Protocols.
The delegates noted that the Organized Crime Convention often contains the information on what and why, but not how. This is where legislative technical assistance is vital. Further discussions revolved around the forms in which UNODC can provide legal technical assistance - from networks of practitioners sharing experiences to provision of assistance to national drafting teams. It was agreed that harmonization of domestic legislation with the Convention and its Protocols should be rather viewed as an on-going process, than a "one-time" event.
The working group viewed video statements prepared by the Witness Protection Agency of Kenya, the National Directorate of Police Information of the National Police of Panama, and the UNODC Country office in Viet Nam. Each of the video statements covered the respective countries' experience in regard to the implementation of the organized Crime Convention, as well as means of combating organized crime.
In her video presentation Ms Alice Ondieki, the Director of the WPA of Kenya, noted that the witness protection is a critical element in any criminal justice system. She also emphasized the importance of the qualified staff, commitment, international cooperation and political will in the successful implementation of the witness protection program. Commissioner Jorge Miranda of Panama elaborated on the successful implementation of the Plan Orion, which was developed by the the National Directorate of Police Information in coordination with UNODC. Ms Zhuldyz Akisheva, the country manager for the UNODC country office in Vietnam, spoke of the significance of the ratification of the Organized Crime Convention by the government of Viet Nam.
The meeting of the working group was chaired by his excellency, Ambassador Istrate of Romania
More information about this and other meetings related to UNODC's work to combat transnational organized crime is available at http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CTOC/CTOC-COP.html.