International Cooperation

International Cooperation Networks I International Transfer of Sentenced Persons I International Cooperation Tools and Publications

Vienna International CentreTransnational organized crime requires a coordinated transnational response. As organized criminal networks span the globe, efforts to combat them must likewise cross borders so as to ensure that organized crime networks do not simply divert their activities to countries or regions where weak cooperation means weak criminal justice responses.

The key feature of the UNTOC is its emphasis on international cooperation, in particular in the area of cooperation in criminal matters, but the Convention also contains provisions which aim to facilitate and promote international cooperation in other ways.

International Cooperation in Criminal Matters

International cooperation against organized crime should, as a matter of urgency, be conceived and used as a tool for strengthening sovereignty and security, not of surrendering it. The UNTOC provisions on mutual legal assistance (MLA), extradition, transfer of sentenced prisoners, and asset confiscation make it a practical tool in this area.

States can use the UNTOC to cooperate at both informal and formal levels using the UNTOC.   Informal cooperation can be undertaken in many ways, such as  between law enforcement authorities to share criminal intelligence, between witness protection authorities to cooperate in the protection of witnesses and between financial intelligence authorities to share information concerning financial crimes. 

At the formal level, State Parties can use it to request and deliver MLA, extradition, freezing and confiscation of criminal proceeds.  State Parties may also use  it - either alone or in conjunction with other mechanisms - to supplement bilateral and multilateral MLA and extradition agreements and to supplement thematic multilateral agreements

The role of UNODC

UNODC promotes and facilitates formal and informal cooperation between different types of authorities of countries.  UNODC also acts as a liaison between States and international organizations and facilitates regional networks of cooperation against organized crime around the world (Networks fighting criminal Networks).  Specifically, UNODC is supporting the establishment and implementation of regional network of Central Authorities and of Prosecutors, such as the West African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors ( WACAP ) and the Network of Prosecutors against Organized Crime ( REFCO ). See Global Programme

UNODC develops and delivers training to promote cooperation in the implementation of the UNTOC and its supplementary Protocols and actively contributes to conferences, meetings and specialized workshops at regional and international levels.

An Open-ended Working Group of Government Experts on Extradition, Mutual Legal Assistance and International Cooperation for Purposes of Confiscation is held concurrently with the biennial sessions of the Conference of the Parties to the Organized Crime Convention.

Since the Seventh United Nations Conference on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in 1985, UNODC has played an active role in facilitating the transfer of sentenced persons so as to ensure their fair treatment and effective rehabilitation.

UNODC's International Cooperation Resources

UNODC continuously develops new tools to facilitate international cooperation, including manuals, an online directory of competent national authorities, a mutual legal assistance request writer tool, a legal database and best practices case law.

Every nation is affected by the problems of serious and organized crime. Its destructive effects can detrimentally impact on the daily lives of citizens, hamper economic growth, and hamper efforts made by governments to contain the consequences of crime.  UNODC works with States parties to the Organized Crime Convention to strengthen their responses to preventing and combating organized crime, both within their own domestic borders and within and between regions.

Technical assistance projects are tailored to individual needs of beneficiary countries. The process begins by conducting technical needs assessments on which to design intervention strategies, taking into account considerations such as existing strategies of national authorities, operational procedures, legal system, human and technical resources, existing approaches to interagency and regional cooperation as well as cultural and political contexts. Based on its findings, UNODC works in partnership with the beneficiary government to design and implement projects to strengthen capacity.

On the basis of ad hoc requests, UNODC also assist States to take effective, practical steps in line with the UNTOC. In this respect it has undertaken activities in supporting implementation of the UNTOC in Africa, Europe, Latin America, Central America and Asia.

A key part of UNODC's work to assist States in fighting organized crime, is the development of technical assistance tools. To ensure that its tools reflect diverse perspectives from common and civil law and from high and low resource countries, UNODC brings together experts with a wide range of experiences to contribute to the elaboration of UNODC technical assistance tools. In the fulfillment of mandate given to UNODC by the Conference of Parties to the Organized Crime Convention, UNODC has developed several practical assistance tools including handbooks, training manuals, model laws, digests of relevant case law and legal commentaries, international cooperation tools, issue papers and other materials aimed at improving the capacity of States to implement and use the Convention and its Protocols

Also see Tools and Publications and Contact Us for more information.