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UNIS/CP/473
30 March 2004

Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Experts Stress the
Need for Assistance in Post-Conflict Situations

VIENNA, 30 March (UN Information Service) -- In response to a resolution of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) convened an inter-governmental expert group meeting to prepare proposals on the application of standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice. The experts focused on maximizing the effectiveness of technical cooperation in the context of the reconstruction of criminal justice institutions in peacekeeping and post-conflict situations. The meeting concluded in Vienna last week.

The meeting made recommendations in the form of a draft resolution to be submitted to the Thirteenth Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which is scheduled from 11 to 20 May 2004.

The inter-governmental group of experts included high-level crime prevention and criminal justice officials from 13 countries representing all regions and the Director of the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control (HEUNI), affiliated with the United Nations. HEUNI prepared draft information-gathering instruments to be used in the assessment of application of standards and norms in the fields of persons in custody, juvenile justice, alternatives to imprisonment and restorative justice in accordance with the mandate given by the Economic and Social Council. The instruments were reviewed and approved by the experts at the meeting.

The experts stressed the important work carried out by HEUNI in designing straightforward instruments, which could be used to assess the situation in countries requesting assistance as well as for general surveys of criminal justice. The meeting highlighted the importance of integrating the rule of law and criminal justice reform in peacekeeping and post-conflict situations. It also recognized the central role of UNODC in facilitating this process.

Experts participating in the meeting called upon Member States, in particular through the Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, to be held in Bangkok from 18 to 25 April 2005, to consolidate and to increase the effect of the actions of the United Nations and other inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations in the field of standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice.

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