Press Releases

    UNIS/CP/406
    16 April 2002

    REFORM OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM TO BE
    THE FOCUS OF UN CRIME COMMISSION MEETING

    40-Member Body to Hold Eleventh Session in Vienna
    from 16 to 25 April 2002

    VIENNA, 16 April (UN Information Service) – The reform of the criminal justice system will be the main theme of discussion at the eleventh session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to be held here starting this morning.

    The discussion will include contributions from panelists from different regions on how to achieve effectiveness and equity in the criminal justice system. They will highlight various regional approaches with concrete examples from different countries. The focus will be 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.

    Special attention will be given to technical assistance and co-operation in support of criminal justice reform especially within the framework of peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction.

    An expert group report on restorative justice will also be considered by the Commission, following a meeting hosted by the Government of Canada last year at which elements on restorative justice were reviewed and finalized. The report concludes that restorative justice can serve as a supplement to established criminal justice practices, especially in areas where such practices had not functioned adequately. While a number of states have already incorporated some restorative justice measures into their criminal justice systems, many of them consider the application of these measures to be at an exploratory stage with possibilities for further development.

    The Commission will also consider draft recommendations on effective community-based crime prevention. The Commission’s work will be based on a report by an expert group, which was also hosted by Canada. The experts identified priority areas for international action including building inter-agency coordination, raising public awareness and considering ways to ‘design out’ crime.

    Corruption

    A report on the work towards developing a UN Convention against Corruption will be considered by the Commission. Negotiations on the draft Convention are underway with the first meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Elaboration of a Convention against Corruption concluded in Vienna on 1 February 2002. The next session of the Ad Hoc Committee to be held from 17-28 June will continue reading of the draft convention.

    UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols

    On the issue of international co-operation in combating transnational crime the Commission will consider progress made towards the entry into force of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols. Considerations will include the assistance provided by the Centre for International Crime Prevention in support of countries wanting to ratify the new instruments.

    Combating Terrorism

    The need to strengthen international cooperation in combating terrorism has come to the fore since the catastrophic terrorists attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001. In its resolution 56/253, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to make proposals to strengthen the Terrorism Prevention Branch based at the UN at Vienna. CICP has been requested to provide technical assistance to Member States in the ratification and implementation of the universal legal instruments against terrorism and in the implementation of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) of 28 September 2001. Since 11 September CICP has been raising awareness of the relevant international instruments and encouraging States to sign and ratify them. The International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism has come into force on 10 April 2002.

    Jointly with the Austrian Government, CICP is organizing a Symposium on Combating International Terrorism: the Contribution of the United Nations, to be held in Vienna on 3-4 June. It 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 will be discussed for the first time at the Crime Commission. A report on the topic assesses the scope and nature of the type of crime and the problems of enforcement.

    The profits in wildlife trafficking are estimated by the United States to be worth between 2 billion and 3.5 billion United States dollars a year. Trafficking in animals and plants is less costly and less risky than drug trafficking, although very lucrative. Powered rhinoceros horn can be worth more than the equivalent weight of heroin or cocaine while rare parrots can fetch tens of thousands of United States dollars on the black market.

    Technical Assistance

    The Commission will consider a report of the Executive Director of ODCCP on the work of CICP, which touches particularly on the Centre’s technical assistance activities. CICP’s technical cooperation activities focus on three Global Programmes against transnational organized crime, trafficking in human beings and corruption, but also address the improvement of juvenile justice systems. The contributions and pledges to the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Fund during 2001 amounted to $ 4,436,637, representing an increase of 50 per cent in contributions compared to the previous year. The main donors are the United States, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Japan.

    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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