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    For information only - not an official document.
    Press Release No:  UNIS/CP/377
    ROUND-UP OF SESSION Release Date:  20 April 2000
     UN Commission Paves Way for Substantial Action on
    Transnational Crime at Vienna Meeting

    Approves Vienna Declaration on Crime and Justice; Discusses Anti-Corruption Measures; 
    Sets Up International Victims Assistance Fund;

      VIENNA, 20 April (UN Information Service) -- Reviewing and approving the Vienna Declaration on Crime and Justice was the main focus at the three-day meeting of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held in Vienna from 18 to 20 April.

     As the Tenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and the Treatment of Offenders was held prior to the Commission’s meeting (10 to 17 April), the Commission gave priority attention to the results of the Congress.

    Vienna Declaration

     The Vienna Declaration, which was concluded by the Tenth Crime Congress, was reviewed and accordingly forwarded to the General Assembly, which is expected to adopt the Declaration at its Millennium session this fall.

     The Declaration, as Pino Arlacchi, Executive Director of the Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention, put it, “will serve as a guiding light for years to come”. Member States agreed to intensify cooperation and to provide mutual assistance, legal and technical, to combat transnational criminal activities.

     The Commission also elaborated possible follow-up measures to the Congress to be recommended to the General Assembly. 

    Transnational Organized Crime

     The Ad Hoc Committee, set up by the General Assembly in 1998, to elaborate ways and means of establishing international instruments against transnational crime, presented the results hitherto achieved.

     Negotiations on the United Nations Convention against Transnational Crime and the three protocols on illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, their parts and components and ammunition; illegal trafficking in and transporting of migrants; and trafficking in human beings, especially women and children are likely to be concluded this year culminating with a high-level signing ceremony in Palermo, Italy.

    The Commission emphasized that, in future, the Convention and its protocols will play an essential role in the international community’s fight against transnational crime. “Just as criminal groups have globalized their actions, so must we”, Mr. Arlacchi said strikingly.

     Therefore it was stressed that negotiations should receive special attention to make sure they were concluded on time, so the Convention would be before the Millennium General Assembly in fall. 

    Corruption

     The General Assembly, in its Resolution 54/128, requested the aforementioned Ad Hoc Committee to explore the desirability of an international instrument against corruption. Accordingly the views and recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee were presented at this week’s three-day Commission meeting.

     The Commission agreed to request the General Assembly to establish a new mechanism to enable it to develop the new instrument. Corruption poses a serious threat for both, developed and developing countries, hence the international community has to set measures to fight such a threat.

    Victims Assistance

     The views of an expert working group on the foundation of an International Fund for Support to Victims of Transnational Crime were presented to the delegates.

     The Commission discussed the issue and decided to set up a Victims Fund, symbolizing another step in the UN action plan for victim support and helping countries to carry out projects to support victims and prevent victimization.

    Technical Cooperation

     Through its global programmes on trafficking in human beings, corruption and organized crime, standard-setting, legal-advisory services and technical assistance activities, the Centre for International Crime Prevention (CICP) will continue to provide technical support to Member States.      

     The Commission agreed that the international community should act at the policy and at the operational level to encourage reforms and to bring national legislation in line with United Nations policy and instruments.

    Background on the Commission

     The 40-member Commission was set up by the Economic and Social Council in 1992. It develops and reviews the UN programme on crime prevention and mobilizes support for it among member states. The Centre for International Crime Prevention acts as the Secretariat of the Commission.

    Commission Membership

     For the ninth session, the 40 member of the Commission will include Algeria, Argentina, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, United States of America.

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