Crime Commission addresses threat to security and justice

crime commission24 April 2009 - The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice wrapped up its eighteenth annual session today. From 16 to 24 April, the Commission adopted resolutions on a wide range of issues requiring effective global criminal justice responses.

Acknowledging the importance of a resolution on improving the collection, reporting and analysis of data to enhance knowledge on trends in specific areas of crime, UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa noted, "this should help clear the statistical fog that impedes evidence-based policy in fighting crime."

Another resolution was passed on the role and governance of civilian private security companies. "At a time when war and peace are becoming privatized, the regulatory framework of private companies in the security sector certainly deserves attention," said Mr. Costa. Member States also adopted a resolution voicing greater support for child justice reform, including non-custodial measures, and another to deal with kidnapping.

Two thematic discussions took centre stage, one on economic fraud and identity-related crime and the other on prison conditions and penal reform. Noting the resolution adopted on economic crime, Mr. Costa said: "These are issues that have a serious, and growing, impact on all our societies. We need to understand better the various dimensions of the problem and to take more effective counter-active measures, not least against cybercrime," said Mr. Costa.

Considerable attention was given to the question of prison overcrowding and conditions that fell below the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, as well as to the improvement of the lives of female inmates. Mr. Costa hailed the resolution passed on supplementary rules specific to the treatment of women prisoners and non-custodial measures for women offenders.

A new initiative was launched by UNODC, the United Nations Office for West Africa, the Department of Political Affairs, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and INTERPOL to support implementation of the ECOWAS regional action plan to address drug trafficking, organized crime and drug abuse in West Africa (2008-2011).  Similarly, another resolution supported the establishment of the Santo Domingo mechanism, intended to take a regional approach to fighting illicit drugs and crime in the Caribbean.

Countries endorsed numerous treaty actions to strengthen international law against crime, corruption and terrorism. The first United Nations treaty event to take place in Vienna saw 11 treaty actions (four ratifications and seven notifications) by seven Member States. Instruments of ratification were deposited for the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime by Indonesia, for the Protocol to the Organized Crime Convention related to human trafficking by Luxembourg and for the United Nations Convention against Corruption by the Islamic Republic of Iran. UNODC is the guardian of these instruments.