Remarks on the launch of the Digest of Organized Crime Cases
16 October 2012
Brigadier General Guzman ,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors of Colombia and Italy,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure for me to present our new Digest of Organized Crime Cases.
Organized crime is a global, multi-dimensional threat that affects nearly every society. It undermines development, the rule of law and security, creating victims all over the world.
Organized crime groups engage in many different criminal activities and markets. Drug trafficking is one prominent example; others include trafficking in persons and cultural property, extortion, cybercrime and piracy.
The list is long and growing, as criminals continue to seek new ways of making illicit profits, while evading the law.
Countering such crime in all its forms is a major challenge, particularly since almost all organized crime has a transnational dimension.
Countries cannot tackle these threats on their own.
The Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols are the main international tools to help countries respond to these threats more efficiently.
With 172 State Parties, the Convention is approaching universal adherence, which is an important first step.
Full implementation of the Convention, however, remains challenging for many countries.
One of the chief tasks of the Sixth Session of the Conference is to consider a review mechanism for the UNTOC, similar to the one already in place for the Corruption Convention.
Under such a mechanism, countries which have ratified the UNTOC, would be peer reviewed on a five year cycle to see how, they are fulfilling their obligations under the Convention.
The country reports generated by these reviews can help countries identify gaps in national laws and practices, and highlight the successes and challenges faced in the struggle against transnational organized crime.
Adopting the review mechanism would be a major step towards fuller implementation of the Convention and it is closely connected to this Digest, which relies on the experience and expertise of Member States.
Two years ago, during the fifth session of the Conference, Member States asked UNODC to develop practical tools to help them make better use of the Convention.
The Digest we are launching today is another tool to assist implementation, and represents our response to this request.
The Digest provides a compilation of cases that set out good practices, commentaries and lessons learned to help with the investigation and prosecution of organized crime cases.
To develop the Digest, UNODC has worked with the Governments of Colombia and Italy, as well as INTERPOL.
The Digest is based on analyses of more than 200 cases and the accumulated knowledge of more than 50 experts.
The final tool reflects this wealth of experience and illustrates the challenges and opportunities that confront law enforcement and judiciary personnel in dealing with organized crime.
The lessons learned and the recommendations are strikingly simple: To effectively combat organized crime, countries must dismantle the criminal organization as a whole, bring the ring-leaders to justice, deprive them of their illegal profits and prevent them from laundering money.
We will hear more from the Digest's main drafter, Mr. Gioacchino Polimeni, on the major findings, and from other colleagues about the future plans for this work.
Italy has been responsible for hosting two of the three expert meetings, and they have contributed many topical cases demonstrating how they have successfully investigated and prosecuted transnational organized crime.
Colombia, with its own experience in these matters, has also been an enthusiastic supporter of the Digest providing financial support and substantial inputs.
Both countries have stressed the need to make the Digest a living tool and to continue with the expert exchanges in the future.
Let me conclude by expressing my sincere gratitude to the governments of Italy and Colombia who have provided the necessary support for this initiative to happen.
I also want to thank our other partner, INTERPOL, and the experts who participated in the development of the Digest for their enthusiasm and support.
Many of the experts were released from duty by their governments in order to contribute. I am grateful for this.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Digest is a good example of what we can achieve through effective collaboration.
We hope that the advice it contains will be widely used so that transnational organized crime can be tackled more effectively.