Press Releases

    BKK/CP/23
    24 April 2005

    Security, Development, Human Rights All Essential for Life ‘In Larger Freedom’, Crime Congress High-Level Meeting Told

    Government Efforts to Combat Organized Crime, Corruption, Terrorism Indispensable in New Collective Security System

    A new consensus was essential to realize the aspiration of the United Nations Charter -- that all peoples might live “in larger freedom”:  freedom from fear, freedom from want and freedom to live in dignity, Stephen Stedman, Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, told the Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice today.

    Opening this morning’s high-level session, he said that the Secretary-General’s report “In Larger Freedom” had stressed that “we will not enjoy development without security, we will not enjoy security without development, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights”.  The efforts of Member States, domestically and in collaboration with others, to combat organized crime, corruption and terrorism were indispensable in a new collective security system and in securing “larger freedom” for all peoples.  Transnational organized crime was chief among the threats to peace and security and demanded a sustained and focused response from all States and the United Nations.

    In recent years, the United Nations had made important progress in building a framework of international standards and norms for the fight against organized crime and corruption, he continued.  In order to truly respond to organized crime and corruption, action must be aligned with rhetoric.  “We all must work to increase cooperation among States, coordination among our international agencies, and work toward a much stronger record of compliance and implementation for the commitments we have undertaken.”

    He said that, in addressing the need for a comprehensive, global strategy against terrorism, the Secretary-General had put forward the following guiding concepts or “five Ds”:  dissuasion, deterrence, denial, development, and defence of human rights.  He urged all Member States to support that strategy and underlined the need to agree on a universal definition of terrorism that could be part of a declaration at the high-level summit in September that would mark the opening of the sixtieth General Assembly and the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations.  He recommended the conclusion of a comprehensive convention against terrorism and the establishment of a special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism.

    Referring to the Congress’ theme -- “Synergies and responses:  strategic alliances for the prevention of crime and criminal justice” -- speakers today, among them five Ministers of Justice and numerous other high-level government officials, called for greater international cooperation to combat transnational organized crime, money-laundering, corruption, trafficking in illicit drugs and human beings, cybercrime and, above all, terrorism.  They stressed that the root causes of crime and terrorism, including poverty, should also be addressed as part of crime prevention.  Speakers welcomed the entry into force of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and two of its Protocols and urged Member States to ratify its third Protocol, as well as the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the 12 conventions and protocol against terrorism.

    Elizabeth Verville, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Crime, of the United States State Department, noted that one particularly odious form of organized crime was trafficking in persons.  The United States had accelerated its response to the challenge at home and was actively fighting it abroad, she said.  Over the past four years, it had provided some $295 million in anti-trafficking foreign programming.  The United States also provided financial support to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime anti-trafficking efforts.  The energy, innovation and effectiveness of the United Nations Global Programme against Money-Laundering, and its willingness to work with Member States, deserved special mention, and she urged other countries to join in supporting the programme.

    She said the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime had codified many of the most effective law enforcement and crime prevention strategies currently in existence into international law -- a great achievement of which all could be proud.  Universal implementation of the 12 legal instruments to combat terrorism was integral to the international community’s efforts to develop an effective global counter-terrorism capacity.  The United States supported the efforts of the Secretary-General and the Security Council to urge all States to become party to those international conventions.

    Turkey’s experience in its struggle against terrorism showed that determination and international cooperation were of the utmost importance, that country’s Minister of Justice, Cemil Cicek, said.  Failure in adopting the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, due to differences in defining terrorism, constituted the biggest obstacle in countering that evil.  He, therefore, called on all States to show more flexibility so that negotiations on that last instrument could be concluded.  He could, in no way, share the tendency to couple terrorism with religion, and such an approach would, in fact, play into the hands of terrorists.

    Michel Bouchard, Associate Deputy Minister of Justice of Canada, said that a distinction had to be maintained between the fight against crime and the fight against terrorism.  Some of the measures used against terrorism, some of which were justified only by the serious threat to national security, would not be appropriate for use against crime.  In order for the fight against terrorism to succeed, it must always be waged in full respect for basic civil liberties and the obligations under international law, including human rights, refugee and international humanitarian law.

    Maurice Kamto, Vice-Minister of Justice of Cameroon, drew the attention to a less prominent aspect of transnational organized crime -- the increasing trafficking of protected species of wild fauna and flora and the organized looting of genetic resources.  He said those new crimes devastated the already meagre resources of poor countries and constituted a real threat to the biodiversity of the planet.  He hoped that the international community would integrate in its fight against crime and terrorism the fight against poverty, which was the soil in which most crimes flourished.  Child soldiers, young girls forced into prostitution, drug dealers and hunters of protected species were recruited mostly among the poorest people.

    The representatives of Mexico, Croatia, Australia, Mauritania, Peru, Cuba, Zambia, Romania, Brazil, Viet Nam, Russian Federation, Angola, Malaysia, India, Norway, Austria, Jordan, Algeria, Syria, Chile, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sweden, Switzerland, Venezuela, Germany, Paraguay, Colombia, Sri Lanka and Greece also spoke.  The Director-General of the Council of Europe addressed the Congress as well.  The representatives of Japan and United States exercised their right of reply.

    The high-level segment of the Eleventh United Nations Crime Congress will meet again tomorrow at 10 a.m. to conclude its debate and to adopt its final document:  the “Bangkok Declaration”.

    Statement by Special Adviser to Secretary-General

    STEPHEN STEDMAN, Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said that, in September, heads of State and government would convene in New York to mark the opening of the sixtieth General Assembly and the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations.  The Secretary-General had been working tirelessly to encourage leaders to come together at that summit and agree upon a new and comprehensive concept of collective security for the twenty-first century.  That new consensus was essential to realize the aspiration of the United Nations Charter -- that all peoples might live “in larger freedom”.  Larger freedom meant freedom from fear, freedom from want and freedom to live in dignity.  The Secretary-General’s report “In Larger Freedom” had stressed that “we will not enjoy development without security, we will not enjoy security without development, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights”.

    He said the efforts of Member States, domestically and in collaboration with others, to combat organized crime, corruption and terrorism were indispensable in a new collective security system and in securing “larger freedom” for all peoples.  Transnational organized crime was chief among the threats to peace and security and demanded a sustained and focused response from all States and the United Nations.  Not only was organized crime interconnected with the threats of poverty, war, terrorism and nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, it was a unique and vital enabler for realizing the most destructive potential of those other threats.

    In recent years, the United Nations had made important progress in building a framework of international standards and norms for the fight against organized crime and corruption, he continued.  In order to truly respond to organized crime and corruption, action must be aligned to rhetoric.  “We all must work to increase cooperation among States, coordination among our international agencies, and work toward a much stronger record of compliance and implementation for the commitments we have undertaken.

    The Secretary-General had pointed out that better coordination was most urgently needed in post-conflict environments.  Effective national legal and judicial institutions were essential to the success of efforts to help societies emerge from a violent past, he added.  Yet, the United Nations, other international organizations and member governments remained poorly equipped to provide support for such institutions in their early development and consolidation.  To help the United Nations realize its potential in that area, the Secretary-General had announced his intention to create a dedicated Rule of Law Assistance Unit in a new Peacebuilding Support Office to assist national efforts to re-establish the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict environments.  He fully expected the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime would play a role in that Unit.

    Addressing the need for a comprehensive, global strategy against terrorism, the Secretary-General had put forward the five Ds:  dissuasion, deterrence, denial, development, and defence of human rights.  He urged all Member States to support that strategy and underlined the need to agree on a universal definition of terrorism that could be part of a declaration at the high-level summit in September.  He recommended the conclusion of a comprehensive convention against terrorism and the establishment of a special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism.

    PATRICIA OLAMENDI TORRES, Undersecretary for Multilateral and Human Rights of Mexico noted that, in the “In Larger Freedom” report, the Secretary-General expressed a desire for new consensus based on collective action.  The Secretary-General had made reform proposals to enable developed and developing countries to overcome the threats of the new millennium.  The Organization must be a relevant actor, meeting the aspirations of the world’s people.  The Congress had the opportunity to build a more egalitarian world and ways to strengthen collective security must be found.

    The past 10 congresses had highlighted the fact that security could only be achieved by building more equitable societies in which the rule of law reigned and human rights were respected, she said.  Unfortunately, the United Nations preventive capacity was nearly inexistent.  The Organization did, however, provide a normative framework with which to combat the threats of today.  All must ratify and incorporate the various crime-related United Nations conventions into national legislation.  Nations must join forces to end impunity and violations of freedom and to ensure the physical integrity and security of persons.

    What had been achieved in the field of human rights should not be undermined, she said.  Past congresses had stressed the fact that development and equality were powerful means for preventing crime.  She asked the Congress to support the Secretary-General’s reform efforts.  A more efficient organization that could respond to problems in a timely manner was needed.  Development and respect for human rights was crucial to the fight against crime.

    CEMIL CICEK, Minister of Justice of Turkey, associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union, said that, while globalization made the free movement of capital and labour across borders possible, it rendered the control over borders, money and criminal groups more difficult.  Given the lack of an appropriate normative and regulatory framework for crime prevention and criminal justice and the fact that no State alone could combat transnational crime, there was now, more than ever, a need for more synergy, especially for developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

    He said terrorism continued to have a devastating impact on all the regions of the world, impeding sustainable development and jeopardizing fundamental principles of democratic society.  There could be no cause or claim to justify terrorism.  Turkey’s experience in its struggle against terrorism showed that determination and international cooperation were of the utmost importance.  Turkey was party to all 12 universal instruments against terrorism and was developing domestic legislation against terrorism as well.  Failure in adopting the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, due to differences in defining terrorism, constituted the biggest obstacle in countering that evil.  He, therefore, called on all States to show more flexibility so that negotiations on that last instrument could be concluded.  He could, in no way, share the tendency to couple terrorism with religion, and such an approach would in fact play into the hands of terrorists.

    Unfortunately, the transnational offence of trafficking in persons continued to threaten the international community, he said.  The biggest difficulty in combating the offence was the lack of a definition based on international standards.  Turkey had ratified the Protocol on Trafficking in Persons and had become party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  He went on to describe Turkey’s efforts to harmonize its basic legislation with today’s needs and its obligations arising from international instruments.

    SNJEZANA BAGIC, State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice of Croatia, said the Secretary-General’s report “In Larger Freedom” provided a strong base for further discussion about peace and security, the rule of law, development and United Nations reform.  Security and development were linked in more ways than one.  Given the ever increasing links between national and international crime it was necessary to work domestically and internationally to harmonize and implement legislation.  Croatia strongly condemned acts of terrorism and was actively involved in the activities of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee.  Given its geographic location, Croatia was taking measures to prevent the growth of crime, both through preventive action and also through the prosecution of perpetrators of criminal offences.  Croatia was among the first countries to sign the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in 2000 and the corruption convention in 2003.

    Croatian legislation provided the necessary framework for the fight against transnational organized crime and corruption, he said.  Legislation included the penal code, the Act on International Legal Assistance, the Act on Liability of Legal Entities, the Act on International Restrictive Measures and the Witness Protection Act.  The role of the Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime -- the most important body tasked with the fight against corruption and the suppression of corruption -- had been strengthened.  In 2004, Croatia had adopted the National Plan for Combating Organized Crime, which provided an overview of Croatia’s legislative and institutional framework in the fight against crime.  The menace of terrorism, organized crime and corruption could not be fought alone.  Croatia, therefore, sought to strengthen cooperation both internationally and regionally.  The Bangkok Declaration should provide an opportunity to reaffirm international determination to prevent and combat crime.

    CHRISTOPHER ELLISON, Minister for Justice and Customs of Australia, said that, since the Vienna Congress five years ago, Australia had increased its fight against transnational crime.  Transnational crime in one country was local crime in another.  The relationship between transnational crime and local crime was clearly demonstrated by organized drug trafficking.  In Australia, 61 per cent of those charged with property offence tested positive to drugs, which pointed to the fact that the drug trade was related to local crime.  He then described Australia’s measures against the drug trade, which had led to a drop in the supply of heroin.

    He said money-laundering was the life blood of transnational organized crime and terrorism.  Australia was a founding member of the Financial Action Task Force on money-laundering (FATF) and was among the first countries to enact comprehensive anti-money-laundering legislation.  For too long, the heads of major crime syndicates had distanced themselves from criminal operations but had still taken major slices of the profits.  Australia had put in place “proceeds of crime” legislation to focus on the assets of any person who -- on the balance of probabilities -- had been involved in or benefited from a criminal offence.

    Corruption was a major impediment to development, he continued.  Australia was actively involved in international efforts to combat corruption and had an overseas aid programme that strongly focused on assisting Asia-Pacific countries combat corruption.  His country had also worked hard to establish links between terrorism and other forms of transnational crime, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.  One of the key initiatives was the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC).

    Australia was also addressing the issue of people trafficking and smuggling, he continued.  In terms of international cooperation, Australia continued to work closely with countries in the region regarding international law enforcement cooperation.  It had, for instance, established the Transnational Crime Coordination Centre within the Australian Federal Police to coordinate the flow of operations information between Australia and its international partners.

    NEMINE OULD MOHAMED MAHMOUD OULD MAOULOUD, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Justice of Mauritania, said the security challenges today required adequate and urgent responses.  His Government had developed a multidimensional strategy in that regard, encompassing political, legislative and institutional measures.  In order to fight terrorism, his country focused on three pillars:  the fight against poverty, ignorance and illiteracy; the promotion of women; and the protection of children.  Several legislative texts had been adopted, including one on the trafficking and use of illicit drugs that also suppressed money-laundering, and a law to suppress the trafficking of humans.

    He said a reform of the justice system had been undertaken on the principle of the independence of the judiciary, and personnel had continuous training.  Emphasis had been put on restorative justice, particularly for children and women and a commission had been established to fight drugs.  On the international level, his country had ratified nearly all international instruments against terrorism, as well as the convention of the African Union against terrorism and the Arab convention to fight terrorism.  It had ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and all its additional Protocols.  An inter-ministerial structure to adapt national law to the international instruments had been set up.  Mauritania was currently drafting a law on terrorism.

    His country had been spared from terrorism, he said.  However, two recent and happy events could attract it.  The recent discovery of oil had created new interests for investors, but terrorists might make it a target as well.  The completion of the road linking Africa with Europe, passing through his country, would bring an influx of people, but could also facilitate criminal and terrorist movements.

    EDUARDO SALHUANA, Minister of Justice of Peru, said Peru’s legal framework had consolidated the democratic system in that country following the dictatorial regime of ex-President Alberto Fujimori which had lasted until 2000.  The people of Peru had striven to overcome that shameful period in its history.  Progress had been made.  Peru’s President had, as his main agenda, the fight against organized crime.  Strengthening judicial systems was essential for ending a culture of impunity and a national justice system reform plan had been implemented.  Peru had pushed for the modernization of its legislation, passing a new criminal justice code.  It had established six specialized civil courts, three criminal courts and six provincial courts.  Many of those who had been charged with corruption had fled the country, and had changed the legal instruments that could have been used for their extradition.

    Peru had ratified the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols in November 2000, he said, adding that his country had contributed to global efforts to sanction the more sophisticated criminal organizations and efforts.  Anti- terrorist legislation had been modernized, taking into account the crime of money-laundering.  A law to reform the criminal code was also being drafted.

    The Government under Mr. Fujimori had become a truly illegal operation, and the ex-President and thousands of others, including ex-ministers, parliamentarians and justices, were the object of legal action at the current time, he continued.  Many had been arrested, and many had fled.  Peru now had some 203 ongoing trials, 74 convictions, 104 jailed, 86 under house arrest and 65 cases in preliminary stages.  Mr. Fujimori had been accused of homicide, manslaughter and crimes against humanity due to the disappearances of people by paramilitary groups.  The Government reiterated its respectful but firm request for cooperation from the Government of Japan so that the ex-President could appear before independent tribunals and answer for the economic crimes carried out against millions of people.  He hoped Japan would turn over Mr. Fujimori, thereby showing the international community that it truly respected human rights and the fight against transnational organized crime.

    On the issue of asset recovery, he said some $173 million had been recovered and about $46 million was yet to be recovered.  Those amounts were just a small portion of what had been stolen.  Much remained to be done in recovering assets belonging to the Peruvian people and the international community must push for the establishment of procedures that would allow for asset recovery.  The European arrest warrant was a good example.  Justice must not just be a shining star, but a light guiding the world’s people to a better destination.

    SEIJI MORIMOTO (Japan), speaking in the exercise of the right of reply, said the Government of Japan believed that participants had gathered not to point a finger at each other on a question which should be dealt with bilaterally, but to discuss how to enhance multilateral cooperation on crime prevention and criminal justice.  With regard to the question by the Government of Peru for the extradition of Mr. Fujimori, Japan was now carefully considering the matter, while requesting that the Government of Peru provide the necessary explanation.  The Japanese Government did not tolerate unjustifiable impunity concerning serious crimes.  At the same time, however, appropriate evidence was required for the achievement of justice.

    JUAN ESCALONA REGUERA, Attorney-General of Cuba, said all countries present had been afflicted by transnational organized crime, economic and financial crime and corruption.  Cooperation between Member States had, therefore, become more and more important.  There was a link between such crimes and the conditions of life such as poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, discrimination and the globalization of a new liberal tendency that had dispossessed the great masses of the poor.  Hence, there was a necessity for true social modifications.  Cuba had broad-ranging programmes of economic, social and cultural development in its country and, through the regular improvement of its legislation, it had been able to contain criminal activities.

    He reiterated Cuba’s strongest condemnation of terrorism in all its forms, wherever and whenever committed and with whatever motivations, including terrorism with States directly or indirectly involved.  His country would never allow the committing, planning or financing of terrorist acts on its territory.  He rejected that the war on terrorism was used as a pretext for meddling in the affairs of other States.  Cuba had signed all 12 international instruments regarding terrorism.

    Since 1959, he said, the people of Cuba had been victim of numerous terrorist acts, organized, financed and executed from the territory of the United States, where dozens of acknowledged terrorists continued to act with full impunity.  With the complicity of its Government, the United States sheltered the well known Luis Posada Carriles, allowing him to continue to act.  Cuba had actively participated in multilateral mechanisms and had reached dozens of bilateral agreements.  Despite the blockade by the United States, Cuba would continue to strictly fulfil its duty under international agreements.

    KALOMBO THOMSON MWANSA, Minister of Home Affairs of Zambia, noted that, because Zambia was bordered by eight countries, it was extremely vulnerable to transnational criminal groups.  His Government had set up a special taskforce to address the issue of trafficking and smuggling of persons.  That body had been mandated to develop a comprehensive policy and propose appropriate legislation to criminalize trafficking.  The Victim Support Unit would be strengthened to assist the victims of trafficking.  While Zambia had not experienced conflict since its independence in 1964, it had experienced the proliferation of firearms.  To address that problem, the Government had declared a general amnesty for weapons holders and a buy-back programme.  A large number of illegally acquired firearms had been recovered as a result of the programme.

    Zambia was willing to work with other nations to eliminate organized crime and terrorism, he said.  In that regard, Zambia had established joining, permanent regional commissions to prevent cross-border crime.  Organized crime and corruption often went hand in hand.  Zambia’s Government had, therefore, adopted a zero-tolerance policy against corruption.  To that end, Zambia would join other nations in ratifying the United Nations Convention against Corruption.  The anti-corruption commission established to fight that scourge enjoyed full autonomy with powers to investigate and prosecute allegations of corruption.  Another area of concern was terrorism.  Criminals involved in organized crime, terrorism, corruption and many other forms of crime depended heavily on laundered money.  In that regard, the Government had established an anti-money-laundering authority.

    On the issue of prisons, he said it was also necessary to seriously consider other correctional measures.  Research in restorative justice was needed in order to build a body of evidence on its efficacy, implications and possible negative by-products.  Like most developing countries, Zambia faced many challenges in providing quality service to its people in many areas, including health, education, and housing.  Zambia lacked appropriate training facilities and law enforcement infrastructure.  Criminals, however, were well resourced and sophisticated.  The total cancellation of foreign debt would free resources for criminal justice programmes.  Given the cross-border nature of criminal activity, Zambia would continue working with other nations to meet the challenges posed by crime.

    BARBARA KATALIN KIBEDI, Secretary of State of Justice of Romania, aligning herself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union, said her country attached particular priority to the prevention of crime.  It was reforming its legislation with combating transnational organized crime as a priority.  It had ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols, as well as all relevant conventions of the Council of Europe and other instruments, including the Convention on Cybercrime.  International cooperation was the only way of combating transnational organized crime and terrorism.  The principle of mutual recognition must be the keystone of international legal cooperation in the criminal area.  The provisions of the European Union arrest warrant would be applied in her country as of the date of accession to the Union.

    She said her country had ratified the 12 international instruments to fight terrorism.  A domestic law on legal international cooperation responded to Security Council resolution 1373 (2001), and Romania had adopted a special law on preventing and combating terrorism in 2004.  A directorate for the prosecution of organized crime and terrorism had been set up.  In order to combat the financing of terrorism, a draft law had been adopted to fight money-laundering.

    Her country participated in the European Legal Network and had signed agreements with Europol and Eurojust, she said.  Bilateral treaties for extradition and legal mutual aid had been adopted.  Her country had also adopted a national strategy against corruption, based on prevention, transparency and education, and had ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption.  Her country’s legal criminal reforms focused on restorative justice.

    WALDIR PIRES, Minister of State for Control and Transparency of Brazil said organized crime was a challenge for rich and poor countries alike, undermining economic growth and social progress.  International legal instruments to fight crime existed, including the transnational organized crime and corruption conventions.  Further progress was needed, however.  International cooperation was key to the fight against organized crime, and such cooperation must be broad and open.  The current world situation was difficult and dangerous, requiring modern technology and knowledge to be used for the good of all.

    Brazil’s Government was making huge efforts to fight corruption, he said.  It had invested in prevention and had established regulations to deal with such issues as conflict of interest and money-laundering.  It had also set up a special body to deal with the issue of transparency.  Brazil carried out monthly auditing and carefully followed the allocation of federal resources.  An Internet portal had been set up so that citizens could see how federal resources were spent.  The issue of asset recovery was also being addressed.

    Corruption was part and parcel of many other kinds of criminality, and was the starting point of criminal processes, he said.  Brazil’s Government was exerting great efforts to negotiate bilateral agreements for cooperation in the criminal field.  While corruption was at the origin of many criminal activities, money-laundering was the destination of criminal actions.  The international community must not be complacent in dealing with the issue of money-laundering.  Brazil would continue to pursue its efforts to successfully fight organized crime.  He then informed members of Brazil’s offer to host the Twelfth Crime Congress in 2010.

    MAURICE KAMTO, Vice-Minister of Justice of Cameroon, said the Congress’ theme -- “Synergies and responses:  strategic alliances for the prevention of crime and criminal justice” -- was aimed at bringing States together to take up a common challenge:  that of preventing crime in a changing world.  Since the last Congress in Vienna, new forms of criminal offences had appeared that were more deadly and terrifying.  Intolerance in all its forms, with its most spectacular recent manifestations, revealed a new face of terrorism which was more cruel, indiscriminate and inhuman.

    Cameroon was party to almost all international conventions in the field of terrorism and had adapted its national legislation accordingly.

    He said Cameroon had ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and two of its Protocols and noted that some less prominent aspects of the crime deserved special attention -- the increasing trafficking of protected species of wild fauna and flora and the organized looting of genetic resources.  Those new crimes devastated the already meagre resources of poor countries and constituted a real threat to the biodiversity of the planet.

    Cameroon had also ratified the Convention against Corruption and had elaborated a strategy and established structures to fight that crime.  He said fighting corruption was all the more essential, as it involved one of the aspects of fighting poverty.  He hoped that the international community would integrate in its fight against crime and terrorism the fight against poverty, which was the soil in which most crimes flourished.  Transnational organized crime knew nothing of the distinction between rich and poor countries.  Child soldiers, young girls forced into prostitution, drug dealers and hunters of protected species were recruited mostly among the poorest people.

    LE THE TIEM, Vice-Minister of Public Security of Viet Nam, said crime prevention had received due attention in his country with the promulgation of a number of documents related to criminal justice.  The Vietnamese Government had formulated a comprehensive national plan that included such issues as drug trafficking, trafficking in women and children and money-laundering.  While the trend toward international integration had many benefits, it also brought with it many challenges, including the challenge of transnational crime.  The emergence and increase of international terrorism, high-tech crime and trafficking in persons required solutions at both the national and international levels.

    In past congresses, participants had acknowledged the need to enhance cooperation in the fight against transnational crime, he said.  A number of factors obstructed that cooperation, including the existence of different legal systems and concepts of criminal extradition.  He endorsed the Congress’s agenda and hoped delegates would continue to clarify the issues before them.

    ANREY NOVIKOV, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, said transnational organized crime was one of the most dangerous threats to the security of mankind, and its scale was growing.  His country was making efforts to increase the effectiveness of its fight against transnational organized crime.  The reform conducted in his country was to optimize effectiveness of its relevant bodies, including law enforcement.  In the legal system, new structures were being established, and measures were being taken to overcome gaps in legislation in the criminal justice field in order to bring it in line with international standards and norms.

    He supported a fuller development of the potential of the United Nations as an instrument for forming agreement to counter new terrorist challenges and threats.  His country had ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and two of its Protocols in 2004 and had signed the Convention against Corruption in 2003.

    The links between transnational organized crime and terrorism were of particular importance, he said.  The only possible direction the international community could take in countering it was to unite its efforts and act in solidarity.  Success in the fight against terrorism was impossible without a clear and universally accepted legal basis and the Russian Federation attached great importance to the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council.  Efforts in the area should be taken up with priority by regional organizations.  Russia was party to 11 of the 12 conventions regarding terrorism.  It was particularly important to prevent the access of terrorists to weapons of mass destruction.

    GUILHERMINA CONTREIRAS DA COSTA PRATA, Vice-Minister of Justice of Angola, expressed her country’s commitment to developing strategies to prevent crime.  Angola had experienced many difficulties during its post conflict situation.  A 30-year war had destroyed nearly all of the country’s infrastructure, leaving a large part of the population in a situation of absolute poverty.  Crime had increased significantly.  Well-organized gangs using weapons assaulted homes and businesses, often ending in the murder of their victims.  New types of delinquency had also emerged, including cattle rustling.  In the country’s diamond mining zone in the north, there had been an increase in illicit diamond production and prostitution, mainly by foreigners entering the country.  There had also been an increase in the number of armed militias linked to drug trafficking.  Concerning transnational organized crime, the Government had made huge efforts to include the provisions of the conventions it had signed into its domestic legislation.

    She said Angola was increasing cooperation with the nations of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).  Without assistance, however, international cooperation would be ineffective.  While strategic alliances were necessary in the fight against crime, improved international cooperation was also necessary.  She stressed the importance of preventing crime by implementing economic development programmes.  It was also important to address the issue of e-commerce and trade and to keep close track of arms trafficking.

    Y.B. CHIA KWANG CHYE, Deputy Minister of Internal Security of Malaysia, said crime reduction involved a range of activities, including improving the physical security of vulnerable targets, improving the environment and working towards a better quality of life.  Crime prevention or reduction had usually been seen as the responsibility of the police, but a whole range of other agencies were now involved.  Effective crime reduction did not have to be large-scale and expensive; small-scale, local measures could have a significant impact.  Disruption of the flow of essential data caused security systems to go haywire and put a halt to electronic transactions.  A structured mechanism was, therefore, necessary to combat modern crimes.

    He said the convergence between transnational organized crime and terrorism was inevitable, as terrorists needed financial resources, which could only be found in transnational organized crime syndicates.  Terrorist organization provided full security support for drug cartels.  Malaysia had taken a series of measures to counter terrorism and had apprehended individuals that it believed to be linked to terrorist groups.  The fight against terrorism could not succeed through the enforcement of the law and the force of arms alone.  Genuine efforts had to be made to demonstrate good faith in addressing the root causes of terrorism, promote dialogue and get rid of the prejudices triggered by 9/11.  Waging a war against religions would play into terrorist hands.

    Malaysia had taken various measures against money-laundering and had established the National Coordination Committee to Counter Money-Laundering, he said.  No region of the world was exempt from the menace of drugs.  Drug abuse and illicit drug smuggling were still one of the major problems plaguing Member States, including Malaysia.  To counter the scourge, there must, at least, be a close and constant effort in information exchange and intelligence sharing.  Such sharing must necessarily lead to coordination and actions.  The scope of joint efforts was limitless.  What was required was a coordinated effort and total commitment.

    P.V. BHIDE, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs of India, said the United Nations Congresses had, for over a half a century, contributed to the evolution of agreed norms and approaches for crime prevention and criminal justice.  The Congress had provided a broad platform for governments, inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations to collectively suggest appropriate policies and strategies to deal with transnational organized crime and terrorism.  The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime had an important role to play in assisting members to undertake capacity-building through technical assistance projects.

    Since the Vienna Congress in 2000, extraordinary events had occurred with a far-reaching impact on the way in which nations addressed such issues as terrorism, transnational crime and their link.  The global community now had the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols, and the United Nations Convention against Corruption.  The origins of those two conventions could be traced to the Ninth and Tenth Congresses.  He suggested that the implementation of the outcome of the Eleventh Congress be included as a separate agenda item in the annual sessions of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.  It was important that the role of the United Nations Congress not be diluted in any manner by expedient alternative approaches.

    He underlined the importance of the preparatory work for the Congress, which had, over time, had become institutionalized.  The preparatory process had underlined the need to go beyond the existing patchwork of bilateral arrangements.  While India had entered into agreements to combat terrorism and organized crime, much work remained to be done to make those arrangements function as effective tools in the fight against transnational organized crime.  He believed, therefore, that there was a need to evolve comprehensive legislation and an operational framework for international cooperation with respect to extradition and mutual legal assistance.  By harmonizing judicial processes, such a framework would facilitate universalization of those arrangements.  The Congress should recommend that international control mechanisms be developed to deal with the widely prevalent money-laundering activities.  Money constituted the lifeblood of terrorism, and its generation through money-laundering to finance terrorist activities needed to be eliminated.  He also urged that the possibility of bringing explosive substances under the scope of an international legal regime be further explored.

    The Bangkok Declaration should set the framework for a more proactive role in preventing and combating crime and terrorism in the coming years, he said.  An important element would be capacity-building to meet the required standards in addressing the emerging threats in crime and terrorism.  He welcomed the finalization of the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and reiterated the need for the international community to adopt India’s draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

    TROND PRYTZ, Deputy Minister of Justice and the Police of Norway, associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union, said his country had ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three additional Protocols.  The entry into force of that convention and two of its Protocols was a milestone in the global fight against transnational organized crime.  His Government had established a Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Women and Children and had allocated considerable resources to projects targeting trafficking in human beings in a number of countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.  The establishment of comprehensive victim assistance and protection mechanisms was a key factor in getting victims to testify against the perpetrators.

    High priority was given in his country to the fight against corruption, he said.  A new Action Plan against Economic Crime proposed a number of measures at the national and international level.  He stressed the fact that the fight against corruption constituted an important part of Norway’s development policy.  His Government had also established an Anti-Corruption and Money-Laundering Project.  It had signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption in December 2003.

    As terrorism had become a major threat to international peace and security, Norway had ratified the 12 universal United Nations conventions and protocols against terrorism and had taken a number of legislative measures in that regard.  There was broad international consensus that every available measure within the framework of generally accepted standards for human and civil rights must be used to prevent serious and organized rime and international terrorism.  In order to do that, one had to focus on its underlying causes, such as political, social and religious problems and conflicts.  “In these testing times, the United Nations system is more important than ever.  It should be given all the support it deserves to accomplish its significant work in order to secure justice, human rights and human dignity”, he said.

    MICHEL BOUCHARD, Associate Deputy Minister of Justice of Canada, said all were affected by violence and destruction wrought by terrorist or criminal organizations.  There would be no success in stemming those threats unless practical means were found to ensure common strategies and actions.  The rule of law, good governance and a culture of transparency were key to grappling successfully with crime.  Every effort must be made, not only to react to crime, but also to grapple with the conditions that made crime possible.  Globalization and technologies brought many benefits to societies but also generated new opportunities for criminals.  Canada strongly believed that institutional capacity must be developed to meet those new challenges at the multilateral level.  It was, therefore, an obligation to ensure that the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice had the capacity to meet the challenge.  He urged countries to increase their support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

    He said a distinction had to be maintained between the fight against crime and the fight against terrorism.  Some of the measures used against terrorism, some of which were justified only by the serious threat to national security, would not be appropriate for use against crime.  In order for the fight against terrorism to succeed, it must always be waged in full respect for basic civil liberties and the obligations under international law, including human rights, refugee and international humanitarian law.

    For the Bangkok Declaration, to be adopted on Monday, he strongly supported commitments made to further:  the implementation of treaties in the areas of crime and terrorism; work on fraud and identity theft; the development of guidelines on justice for child victims and witnesses of crime; the provision of technical assistance for cybercrime; and the implementation of the United Nations standards and norms.  He also supported the call for a meaningful and substantive Declaration that committed Member States to set conditions that would allow for living in “freedom from fear”.  “The people of our countries have a right to live in Safety and security and freedom from want.  They also have a right to be free from crime, terrorism and corruption.  They should expect nothing less from us”, he said.

    ROLAND MIKLAU, Assistant Deputy Minister, Federal Ministry of Justice of Austria, recognized the grave threat that transnational organized crime posed to societal security and integrity, a threat which impaired sustainable development and poverty reduction, distorted social systems and undermined legitimate economic activity.  Within its comprehensive mandate, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime was not only well equipped to address the multifaceted occurrence of transnational organized crime but also its various links to terrorism.  The Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols had fostered international cooperation in tacking organized crime.  Austria had ratified the Convention last year.  As one of the friends of the Convention against Corruption it was heartening to note the high number of signatories and the rising number of ratifications to the Convention.  He also commended the Office for its asset recovery initiative, launched on 9 December 2004, the first International Day against Corruption.

    When the last Crime Congress was held in Vienna, it would have been difficult to imagine that the 11 September terrorist attack would have been possible, he said.  The fight against terrorism had become one of the central issues of crime prevention and criminal justice.  Using the guidance of the various United Nations resolutions, nations and regions had upgraded and developed their counter-terrorism tools.  Sustaining that momentum was important.  A tighter network of legal instruments furthered an important objective in counter-terrorism -- ensuring that the rule of law stays the guiding principle in investigating and prosecuting terrorist offences.  Human rights must not be compromised in the pursuit of all criminals, including terrorists.  Having provided counselling services to more than 80 countries, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime terrorism prevention branch had developed unique expertise on how to make the United Nations legal instruments work.

    The links between illicit drugs, organized crime and terrorism have been confirmed by evidence, he said.  With its mandate to fight each one of those threats, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime was in the unique position to provide a comprehensive response.  It was vitally important that the Office continue to receive voluntary contributions for its Global Programme against Terrorism.  Another priority area was the development of United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice.  The fight against cybercrime was another important challenge in crime prevention at the start of the new millennium.  In 2001, the Council of Europe had negotiated the first regional comprehensive legal instrument on high-tech and computer-related crime.

    MUHYEEDEEN TOUQ (Jordan) said his country attached great importance to the fight against terrorism and to the resolutions and recommendations of the Congress which would encourage effective measures to fight transnational organized crime and terrorism.  National law covered many terrorist crimes, including the financing of terrorism.  It had reaffirmed its condemnation of any terrorist act that threatened the international community on numerous occasions and had participated in various regional activities regarding terrorism.  It had ratified

    10 of the 12 international instruments and had submitted the required reports to the Counter-Terrorism Committee.

    He said that recently, a draft law on money-laundering had been prepared that also covered money-laundering resulting from terrorist activities.  A department had been established to monitor subject transactions.  It had also joined the Financial Action Task Force.  Jordan was also in the process of joining conventions on extradition and mutual legal assistance and had been amongst the first States that had made significant achievements in the fight against organized crime.  It had even won a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime prize and it had achieved progress in the fight against corruption as well.  His country had signed the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and had ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

    AMAR BELANI (Algeria) said the holding of the Congress opened up new possibilities for alliances and regional coordination in the area of crime prevention.  It also provided an opportunity to tackle the challenges of terrorism, corruption and money-laundering.  Algeria had taken a number of reforms in recent years in order to guarantee transparency in public affairs.  The President had developed a comprehensive programme of which justice was a cornerstone.  Algeria had acceded to a number of conventions, including those on transnational organized crime and corruption.  It had further adapted its domestic legislation in order to fully implement international conventions.  The reform of the criminal code had established a number of specialized courts, particularly in the area of money-laundering, terrorism and narcotic drugs.

    Algeria had taken a number of measures regarding corruption, including the ratification of a code of conduct for customs officials and high-level State officials, he said.  Since 1966, Algeria had been establishing legal provisions regarding extradition with a view to improving judicial cooperation and mutual legal assistance.  Bilateral and multilateral agreements had also been drafted in that regard.  Algeria had had a vicious experience with terrorism and had, therefore, established a regime to combat organized crime.  There were no links between religion and terrorism, particularly between Islam and terrorism.  The rights of all peoples to self-determination must be respected.

    LAMYAA AASI (Syria) said her country had always tried to contribute to the establishment of international peace and security and cooperated with the international community to fight against crime.  Crime was increasingly taking on new forms and it was clear that the international community had to develop means to face up to it.

    She said Syria had been one of the first States that had suffered from terrorism.  The 1949 Criminal Code included provisions on terrorism, as well as a definition of terrorism.  Her country had ratified nine of the 12 international instruments on terrorism.  Recently, it had ratified the Convention against Money-Laundering and would strengthen its own laws against money-laundering as well.  Her country was undertaking a systematic campaign to fight corruption, including through independent monitoring bodies that could prosecute any criminal activities.

    Syria had asked for the international adoption of a definition of terrorism with a clear distinction between terrorism and those resisting occupation, she said.  Her country had suffered from international sanctions that had a negative impact on its economy and its capacity to fight crime.

    LUIS ALBERTO SEPÚLVEDA (Chile) said his country had actively participated in the Congresses, which were a fundamental forum for the establishment of goals and policies in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice.  The international community needed to oversee the dynamic evolution of criminal activities in a correspondingly dynamic manner.  Chile was deeply committed to strengthening cooperation in fighting organized crime, terrorism and corruption at all levels.  In 2004, Chile had ratified the Palermo Convention and the Protocols on trafficking in persons.  It had also committed to concluding the ratification process for the Convention against Corruption.  Given their alarming nature, financial and economic crimes must be taken seriously.  In that regard, he called for a comprehensive and systemic approach to the phenomenon of corruption and money-laundering.

    Chile attached high priority to the global fight against terrorism, he said.  Terrorism must be tackled through a global and sustained strategy with the cooperation of all States and international and regional organizations, in keeping with the Charter, international law and full respect for human rights.  All sectors of society must be involved in implementing public crime prevention programmes.  The purpose of criminal reforms in Chile had been to replace an old inquisitive system with a modern, adversarial system based on the holding of trials and transparency.  Chile had also been focusing on the need to improve and invest in prison infrastructure.  Criminal justice in Chile was efficient, transparent and fully respected people’s human rights.

    TYMON M. KATLHOLO, Director, Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime of Botswana, said transnational organized crime continued to threaten the safety and well-being of Botswana, and to hamper their socio-economic development.  Transnational crime and criminal syndicates had expanded their range of activities from robbery and car theft to arms trafficking and white collar crime.  In the heart of Southern Africa, Botswana’s unique geographical location and long and porous borders made it easy for criminals to come and go undetected.  No country could fight the war on its own.  In its effort to curb organized crime, Botswana had acceded to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in 2002.  Due to its lack of capacity and technical expertise, Botswana had yet to harmonize its domestic laws with the provisions of the Convention.

    Botswana had put in place several pieces of legislation to assist law enforcement authorities, including the Proceeds of Serious Crimes Act, the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, the Corruption and Economic Crime Act, the Banking Act and the Extradition Act.  He said the main aim of such legislation was to ensure easier cooperation between Botswana’s law enforcement agencies and those of other nations.  Botswana had taken action to suppress the financing of terrorist acts, as strict reporting procedures had been imposed on banks and other financial institutions to report suspicious transactions to competent authorities.  In 2004, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime had investigated a record number of money-laundering cases involving some $1 million.  Money-laundering was a relatively new phenomenon in Botswana, and investigators, prosecutors and judicial officers were still grappling with issues relating to the crime.

    KEMBO MOHADI, Minister of Home Affairs of Zimbabwe, said that his country, recognizing the seriousness of transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, money-laundering and arms trafficking, had enacted laws aimed at combating those criminal activities, including: the Bank Use and Money-Laundering Act; the Prevention of Corruption Act; the Criminal Matters Act, which included provisions for mutual legal assistance; the Serious Offences Act, which included provisions for the confiscation of profits; and the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.  Zimbabwe had signed bilateral and multilateral agreements with other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries in the fields of joint cross-border operations, extradition and repatriation of evidence.

    He said the internationalization of terrorism showed that cooperation on a global level was a necessity.  Zimbabwe was willing to intensify cooperation with all countries in the fight against terrorism.  Information on the activities of mercenaries had been exchanged with various countries, including South Africa and Equatorial Guinea.  Zimbabwe was currently drafting the Suppression of Terrorism Bill and it had also signed the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.  Zimbabwe was an active member of Interpol.

    In the criminal justice sphere, he said a number of measures had been introduced to improve conditions in prison and introduce alternatives to custody.  It had introduced a community service programme that had contributed significantly to the reduction of the prison population.  The issue of victims of crime and juvenile justice was being addressed in the context of restorative justice.  There was now realization that, unless the interests of the victim were taken into account, justice could never be done in the true sense of the word.

    HO PENG KEE, Senior Minister of State of Singapore, said the terrorist threat was a clear and present one, and his country had adopted a multipronged approach to tackle the scourge, including by sharing intelligence.  Singapore actively participated in many international and regional security forums and was a party to a number of international conventions.  It had also tackled terrorism on the ideological and social fronts.  Singapore’s Muslim community had developed and implemented self-regulatory measures to prevent radical and extremist groups from subverting Singapore Muslims.  A number of preventive measures had been put in place, including tightened security screening of incoming cargo and travellers.  Singapore was also moving towards greater use of biometrics for immigration clearance, and a new passport to be introduced in October would have enhanced security features, incorporating biometric identification technology.  A new-generation integrated traveller screening system that was capable of high-speed, accurate travel document scanning had also been deployed at checkpoints.

    If all countries shared intelligence on terrorist activities, addressed religious extremism, safeguarded their borders and took protective measures on land, sea and air, the space for terrorist movement globally would be restricted, he said.  Two important areas of focus in fighting terrorism and crime were the nurturing of creative, skilled manpower and the good use of technology, including closed-circuit televisions, a DNA database and the detection of latent fingerprints.

    Regarding youth crime, he said Singapore had established an Inter-Ministry Committee on Youth Crime, which played an instrumental role in monitoring the implementation of more than 25 specific measures and programmes, especially in the areas of prevention, public education and rehabilitation.  That multi-agency approach had led to a decline in youth crime over the years.  Different generations of youth faced different types of problems, and solutions which worked at one time might not work at another.  The challenge was to remain relevant to meet the changing needs of youth.

    CRISTIAN KAMBINGA, Vice-Minister of International Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said technological progress had allowed crime “to grow wings”, rendering borders porous.  The priority was not to establish whether there were links between transnational organized crime and terrorism but to decrease their effects.  For that, everyone must do what he could to help the international community and that required the ratification of international conventions.

    His country had passed a law against money-laundering and the financing of terrorism, which comprised the principles of extradition, mutual legal assistance and seizure of assets, he said.  As for corruption, his country had created a Commission for Ethics and the Fighting of Corruption, and corruption had been criminalized.  His Government had also ratified the SADC agreement regarding corruption.  To effectively involve magistrates in the fight against corruption, the Government had significantly increased their salaries.  Another law had been passed that criminalized arms trafficking.  At a subregional level, the Democratic Republic of the Congo had undertaken commitments to fight any act that threatened security and stability in the region.  He went on to say that his country had ratified numerous conventions, including on narcotics and anti-personnel mines.

    He said that, in the fight against terrorism, the Democratic Republic of Congo had established a national coordinating committee and had ratified three conventions in that regard.  It had also signed the African Union Convention on the Prevention and the Fight against Terrorism.  His country had just submitted to the Counter-Terrorism Committee an exhaustive report on measures against terrorism.  Within the framework to protect young at-risk people, the Democratic Republic, which was in a post-conflict situation, had committed itself to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process under the auspices of the United Nations.  He welcomed the Security Council resolution against the trafficking of arms in the Great Lakes region.

    ELIZABETH VERVILLE, Special Representative, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Crime of the United States State Department, noted that, since the last Congress, the international community had moved towards a global consensus on necessary tools to protect societies from the harm of transnational crime and corruption.  Ground-breaking conventions and protocols had been developed, providing comprehensive approaches to combat those threats.  Three of the conventions and protocols were already in force, and remaining instruments were nearing entry into force.  While the Congress could be proud of its achievements, it was not enough to have concluded those instruments -- their implementation must also be ensured.  Overcoming the evolving threats of transnational crime and corruption was essential to promoting international security, democratic stability and economic development in the twenty-first century.  The first priority must be to transform those instruments from documents to practical reality.  The Congress should intensify efforts to complete the process.

    The United States strongly supported meaningful programmes that promoted effective implementation of the conventions, she said.  Since 2002, it had provided some $55 million to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, a portion of which had been specifically earmarked to promote ratification and implementation of the conventions.  Organized criminal interests possessed a universal tendency to corrupt political institutions and undermine democratic accountability in the States in which they operated.  The United States had worked with fellow nations and international organizations to meet those challenges, developing innovative legal mechanisms, training and technical assistance programmes to enhance the capacities of criminal justice systems and law enforcement agencies.  Since 2002, the United States had provided nearly $3 billion in such assistance.

    One particularly odious form of organized crime was trafficking in persons, she said.  The United States had accelerated its response to the challenge at home and was actively fighting it abroad.  Over the past four years, it had provided some $295 million in anti-trafficking foreign programming.  The United States also provided financial support to the UNODC anti-trafficking efforts.  To address the rise in high-tech crime or cybercrime, the United States had offered a broad range of training and technical assistance.  Within the last four years, the Department of Justice had trained over 50 countries on cybersecurity, including training on the development of adequate cybercrime laws.  The energy, innovation and effectiveness of the United Nations Global Programme against Money-Laundering, and its willingness to work with Member States, deserved special mention, and she urged other countries to join in supporting the programme.

    She said the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime codified many of the most effective law enforcement and crime prevention strategies currently in existence into international law -- a great achievement of which all could be proud.  Universal implementation of the 12 legal instruments to combat terrorism was integral to the international community’s efforts to develop an effective global counter-terrorism capacity.  The United States supported the efforts of the Secretary-General and the Security Council to urge all States to become party to those international conventions.  Almost every government in the room had contributed to the Convention against Corruption.  Governments with political will and motivated civil society could nurture the “popular will” needed to sustain the fight against corruption.

    MIKAEL TOLLERZ, Director-General for International Affairs, Ministry of Justice of Sweden, said transnational organized crime took full advantage of the globalization of the world economy and the rapid technological advances.  One of the most important ways to fight the threat was to actively support the work of the United Nations.  The Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols were a milestone for international cooperation, especially in the area of international judicial cooperation.  Corruption raised serious moral and political concerns, undermined good governance and economic development and distorted international competitive conditions.  The successful elaboration of the Convention on Corruption showed, however, the international community’s deep commitment to seriously combat the phenomenon.

    Another great threat that called for global countermeasures was the fight against terrorism, he said.  The combat against terrorism had resulted in new instruments from the Council of Europe, the European Union and the Security Council.  The main challenge today was to implement those instruments.  To better use scarce resources, Sweden had launched the idea that the United Nations should establish a common assistance programme to build better State capacity in the legal field.  Based on a solid rule-of-law approach, such a programme could address various forms of serious crimes of a transnational character.  Assistance to enhance international cooperation, including among law enforcement and judicial authorities, would be an essential component in the programme.  Sweden attached great importance to the various United Nations international criminal tribunals, and welcomed the entry into force of the International Criminal Court.  Countries that had not ratified the Rome Statute must do so without delay.

    Cooperation with the United Nations provided a valuable forum for the exchange of experience on methods to prevent and fight crime at the national level, he said.  All parts of society must be involved in the crime prevention efforts, including reducing the opportunities to commit crime.  The treatment of offenders was another aspect of crime prevention.  It was highly important that imprisonment be combined with education, medical treatment and programmes to minimize the risk of recidivism.  The United Nations had made important efforts to promote more humane treatment of prisoners, and the United Nations should continue to give the matter high priority.  The global abolition of the death penalty was also of great importance in the work for a humane crime policy.  Combating crime must be done with all possible means, but at all times with legitimate methods, in compliance with the rule of law and human rights.

    BERNARDO STADELMANN, Vice-Director of the Federal Office of Justice of Switzerland, said criminals often took advantage of war and of disparities between regions.  They recruited those individuals whose homes offered no hope for them.  His country had always worked in favour of international cooperation in the fight against crime.

    He said that, in suppressing and preventing trafficking in human beings, victims and witnesses must be protected, and awareness must be raised in the States of origin.  The creation of the International Criminal Court was one of the most important events to promote the course of justice and legality.  Freedom, the rule of law, free markets, protection of property, and democracy were the pillars of a State.  The protection of private property was one of the State’s main tasks, and that protection included bank-secrecy, but secrecy could not be applied at any price.  Swiss legislation obligated banks to inform authorities of suspicious transfers and Switzerland also had a legislative arsenal at its disposal to fight money-laundering.  In the fight against money-laundering Switzerland widely granted mutual legal assistance.

    He stressed that the maxim of “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” should not be followed as it did not restore justice.  All States should reject that evil, and always bear in mind never to lose sight of the human rights, fundamental freedoms and democracy.  Human dignity, justice, respect for diversity of people and cultures, and religious tolerance must prevail.  In the long term, the fight against international crime would bear lasting fruit only if social cohesion was saved; a dialogue between cultures was promoted; and disparities between rich and poor were addressed.

    ELADIO APONTE APONTE, Justice of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice of Venezuela, said terrorism was a scourge from which no country was exempt.  The Congress must provide States with effective political and legal instruments that allowed them to believe that terrorism was not invisible.  Terrorist acts were events that sought notoriety, promoted fear, were based on ideological or political goals and were financed by organized crime.  Venezuela’s national assembly was currently drafting legislation on organized crime.

    State terrorism could be both national and international, he said.  Basically, it was a violation of the fundamental laws of States.  The purpose of State terrorism was to coerce civilian populations, influence government policies and affect the conduct of governments through assassinations or kidnapping.  Venezuelans had been victims of that kind of terrorism.  Media terrorism, the effects of which were not always visible, was also designed to produce panic and fear.  Media terrorism was characterized by a series of messages to produce terror and panic among the people, leading to confusion and reduced discernment.  While it was not the loudest, it was one of the most dangerous forms of terrorism.  As such, media terrorism should be considered as a classification of generic terrorism in the Declaration.  The international community must consider measures to combat the root causes of terrorism, including military occupation, the en masse expulsion of native peoples from their ancestral lands and the disdain for national aspiration of a group of peoples.  The most dangerous form of terrorism was that which relied on a policy of force and intervention into the internal affairs of another country.

    PETER WILKITZKI, Director-General, Federal Ministry of Justice of Germany, aligning himself with the statement on behalf of the European Union, said the issues of transnational organized crime, corruption, money-laundering and trafficking in persons were core challenges for Germany that could only be successfully addressed through close international cooperation.  Because of Germany’s location in the centre of Europe and the open borders of Europe, it was affected particularly by transnational organized crime and had, therefore, taken numerous measures at both the national and international levels.  The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime presented a significant contribution in that regard.

    He said the focus of the United Nations Convention against Corruption was prevention.  Even when the significance of criminal law in combating that form of crime could not be denied, preventive measures had particular importance regarding corruption.  Germany had signed the Convention in 2003 and had added the guidelines for the preventive fight against corruption to its federal guidelines on the matter.  It was also preparing the implementation of the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption.  He did not deem it advisable to initiate a comprehensive United Nations money-laundering convention, as there were sufficient international instruments available already.

    The sexual abuse of children took forms, such as child sex tourism and trafficking in children, that required transnational cooperation among States, he said.  Germany had included statutory rules into its Penal Code that enabled domestic criminal prosecution of Germans who sexually abused children in a foreign country.  To combat international trafficking in children, Germany had participated in the work on formulating the facultative Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The standard set by the Protocol had already, to a large extent, been met by his country.  On the international fight against terrorism, he said, among other things, that it was of decisive importance to offer support to those States that had technical difficulties in the implementation of their international duties in that regard.

    OSCAR CABELLO SARUBBI (Paraguay) said economic progress had brought well-being to society but had also left behind a number of people that were marginalized, thereby offering conditions for the proliferation of crime.  Studies had not demonstrated the existence of a clear relationship between poverty and crime, but it was obvious that the social and economic marginalization of great numbers of people had led to temptation, especially for the young, to align themselves with crime in the hopes of acquiring wealth.  It was particularly among the young people, the majority of his country’s population, that the victims and victimizers could be seen, especially in urban areas.  The role of urban violence, therefore, deserved a more detailed study.

    He said it was absolutely vital to strengthen international cooperation, through a harmonious legal framework that allowed for effective exchange of experience and best practices, as well as training for all people involved in law enforcement and the prevention of crime.  It also required transfer of technical and financial resources to the most needy countries.  In his country, enormous efforts had been undertaken to adapt domestic legislation to the adopted conventions relating to crime and terrorism.  His country was prepared to participate in negotiations on new conventions on money-laundering, asset recovery and cybercrime.  Regarding an emerging tolerance for trafficking in so called “soft drugs”, he said proceeds of that trafficking were often used for the financing of other crimes.  Regional cooperation in that regard was necessary.

    MARIO GUTIERREZ JIMENEZ, Brigadier General of the National Police of Colombia, said it was no longer possible to fight crime in isolation.  Strategic efforts were needed.  Combating transnational organized crime must continue with renewed vigour.  The Conference of States Parties to the Palermo Convention must be strengthened, and technical assistance was needed.  Colombia had acceded to the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols.  Colombia actively sought to combat trafficking in people, consolidating national efforts in that regard.  In recent years, the office of the prosecutor had handled some 301 cases of trafficking which had resulted in 16 convictions.  Colombia also cooperated internationally in the fight against trafficking in persons.

    Colombia had also drafted a public policy on the issue of kidnapping, he said.  The objective of its policy was to reduce extortion and kidnapping by strengthening the States’ ability to combat such crimes, including by dismantling criminal organizations and improving information gathering.  Terrorism was a threat to the peace and stability of States.  For many years, illegal armed groups had carried out kidnappings, forced displacements and homicide.  The close relationship between terrorism and other forms of transnational organized crime was a fact.  The only way to fight terrorists was to cut off their funding.  In that regard, he called for compliance with international standards in the area of money-laundering and terrorist financing.  Corruption continued to be one of the main problems affecting economic development and no country could say it was free from it.  The corruption convention was a milestone in putting the subject on the international agenda.  Efforts must be redoubled for its rapid entry into force.

    J.D.A. WIJEWARDENA (Sri Lanka) said the Congress was meeting at a momentous time in the history of crime prevention and criminal justice.  The exacerbation of crime throughout the world over the past decade had demanded concerted and collective action.  New forms of economic and financial crime had the potential to threaten national and international financial systems.  The Bangkok Declaration should be an action-oriented document.

    The challenge today was to recognize terrorism as the main enemy of modern society, he said.  Crime and terrorism had no national borders.  Member States must ensure that they did not provide safe havens or refugee status to terrorist groups.  Sri Lanka had experienced the manifestations of terrorism and transnational crimes for two decades.  The United Nations was the most effective and appropriate forum to deal with the challenges of terrorism.

    Sri Lanka had been in the forefront of regional efforts in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) against terrorism, he added.  Sri Lanka had been particularly involved in the drafting of the various United Nations conventions against terrorism.  He welcomed the recent adoption of the nuclear terrorism convention by consensus.  He had no doubt that those conventions would give further momentum to complete the urgent task of finalizing the comprehensive convention for the suppression of terrorism during the Assembly’s sixtieth session.  The completion of the comprehensive convention would, no doubt, send a clear message to those engaged in terrorism.

    DIONYSSIS KALAMVRAZOS (Greece), associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union, said terrorism was often linked with other forms of organized crime.  His country had ratified all 12 United Nations conventions and protocols on terrorism and had adopted strict anti-terrorist laws, giving emphasis to the protection and compensation of victims and their families.  In order to combat organized crime effectively, there was a need for a universal ratification and implementation of all major anti-crime conventions and more effective international cooperation and coordination.

    He said his country was deeply concerned with trafficking in human beings, a contemporary form of slavery and one of the worst human rights violations.  Both government and civil society were currently cooperating closely in the implementation of a comprehensive national action plan that addressed all levels of trafficking.  Emphasis was given to legislative reforms, to better cooperation and extensive protection to the victims and cooperation with countries of origin, transit and destination.

    He said the Bangkok Declaration should reflect the determination to build strategic alliances against organized crime, as well as commitment to enhance international law enforcement cooperation, including extradition; to enhance criminal justice reforms, including implementation of the standards and norms regarding the treatment of prisoners; and a commitment to the development of restorative justice and support of victims.

    Right of Reply

    ERIC S. RUBIN (United States), speaking in the exercise of the right of reply, said he deeply regretted the use of an international forum to air unjustified accusations against other Member nations.  While he would spare delegates a point-by-point rebuttal, he would offer the  United States categorical refutation of the accusation.  He hoped the Congress would remain focused on its mission of improving criminal justice and would avoid being sidetracked by the airing of political disputes.

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