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Round-up of Session
25 April 2002

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
Concludes Eleventh Session in Vienna, 16-25 April 2002

VIENNA, 25 April (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice concluded its eleventh session in Vienna on 25 April. Delegates reviewed the activities of the UN Centre for International Crime Prevention (CICP), focussing on the reform of the criminal justice system, the fight against terrorism, and current international efforts to combat transnational organized crime and corruption among other issues.

The Commission accepted the offer by the Government of Thailand to hold the Eleventh UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Thailand. The proposed theme of the Crime Congress to be held in 2005 will be “Synergies and responses: strategic alliances in crime prevention and criminal justice”. The topics to be covered in the eight-day meeting will be finalized by the Commission at its twelfth session in 2003. Among the issues proposed are: effective measures against transnational organized crime; corruption: threats and trends in the twenty-first century; economic and financial crimes: challenges to sustainable development; and making standards work: fifty years of standard-setting in crime prevention and criminal justice.

Reform of the criminal justice system

The main theme of the eleventh session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice was the reform of the criminal justice system: achieving effectiveness and equity. Expert panelists addressed the Commission on various regional approaches with concrete examples from different countries. The focus was on three areas: (i) integrated criminal justice reforms, with particular emphasis on prosecutors, courts and prisons, (ii) juvenile justice reform and (iii) strengthening international criminal justice co-operation.

Crime prevention

The Commission accepted the ‘Guidelines for the Prevention of Crime’, elaborated by an expert group. The guidelines lay down basic principles for responsibility for the state at all levels for providing structures and resources for multi-agency cooperation in preventing crime with the involvement of the private and corporate sector. It further requested Member States to establish or strengthen international, regional and national crime prevention networks and take action to promote effective crime prevention.

Restorative justice

The Commission discussed basic principles on the use of restorative justice programmes in criminal matters, based on the findings of an expert group report which followed a meeting hosted by the Government of Canada in 2001. The principles set out that restorative justice may be used at any stage of the criminal justice system, subject to national law and recommends that Member States establish guidelines and standards to govern the use of restorative justice programmes.

UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols

The implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols which sets out measures on international cooperation in combating transnational crime was discussed. The Commission requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide CICP with the resources necessary to enable it to promote the entry into force and implementation of the Convention and reiterated the importance of its speedy entry into force.

Action against Corruption

The progress of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Elaboration of a Convention against Corruption was welcomed by the Commission and the hope was expressed that the work be completed by the end of 2003. The Commission accepted the offer made by the Government of Mexico to host a High-level Political Conference for the purpose of signing the UN Convention against Corruption and invited all States to be represented at the highest possible level of government. The next session of the Ad Hoc Committee to be held from 17-28 June will continue conducting the first reading of the remaining articles of the draft convention, including holding a workshop on asset recovery.

Combating Terrorism

The Commission adopted a resolution calling for improved international cooperation and technical assistance to combat terrorism. It also requests the strengthening the capacity of the CICP and in particular the Terrorism Prevention Branch to provide Member States with technical assistance aimed at preventing and combating terrorism.

The Commission welcomed the Austrian Government’s decision to host a meeting on international terrorism and supports holding the Symposium on Combating International Terrorism: the Contribution of the United Nations on 3-4 June in Vienna. The meeting will be organized by CICP with the support of the Austrian Government and will consider ways to strengthen concerted and coordinated action against terrorism.

Trafficking in Protected Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and Illicit Access to Genetic Resources

The illicit trafficking in protected species of wild fauna and flora and illicit access to genetic resources was discussed for the first time at the Crime Commission. The Commission encouraged all Member States to promote judicial cooperation and mutual technical assistance with a view to preventing, combating and eradicating illicit trafficking in protected species of wild flora and fauna.

Other resolutions

A resolution condemning kidnapping was adopted by the Crime Commission. It calls for international cooperation in the prevention, combating and elimination of kidnapping and in providing assistance for the victims. The Commission vigorously condemned the worldwide practice of kidnapping and expressed concern about the increase in kidnapping in various countries. It urged Member States to take legislative steps to establish it as a serious crime and to foster international cooperation to combat it.

A resolution promoting effective measures to deal with the issues of missing children and sexual abuse or exploitation of children was adopted by the Commission. It calls upon Member States to cooperate with Civil Society in tracing missing children and making toll-free hotlines available to children. On the issue of child prostitution, it calls on Member States to legislate against those who procure or obtain the sexual services of children. Furthermore it calls on states to allow children to bring criminal proceedings in cases involving sexual abuse or exploitation when they have reached the age of majority.

The Commission requested the Secretary-General to convene an expert group meeting to evaluate the results achieved and the progress made in the application of existing United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice.

Technical Assistance

The Commission noted the report of the Executive Director of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) on the work of CICP, which focused on the centre’s technical assistance activities of the three Global Programmes against transnational organized crime, trafficking in human beings and corruption as well as on the improvement of juvenile justice systems.

The Commission invited the various parts of the United Nations system particularly the UN Development Programme and the World Bank to increase their interaction with CICP on crime prevention and criminal justice activities. It also requested the Secretary-General to support the work of CICP in respect of advisory services in crime prevention and criminal justice.

Membership of Commission

The 40 members of the Commission are Algeria, Argentina, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chad, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, United States of America, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe.


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