13 June 2003

Training Course on the United Nations Standards and Norms in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Law Enforcement

VIENNA, 13 June (UN Information Service) -- The Second Training Seminar Course on the Application of United Nations Standards and Norms in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Law Enforcement concluded today.  It was held from 10 to 13 June, and was attended by seven female and six male police academy and training instructors from Central Europe and the Baltic region.  The course was convened as part of the implementation of ECOSOC resolution 2002/15, and was organized by the Centre for International Crime Prevention of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in cooperation with the Regional Delegation for Central Europe of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme has a fifty-year history in standard-setting in criminal justice.  The instruments are not legally binding, but provide guidance for the development or enhancement of criminal justice systems and benchmarks against which States can gauge reform efforts.  The first such instrument -- the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners -- was adopted in 1955. The latest -- designed to promote restorative justice measures in criminal justice systems -- was adopted in 2002. In many parts of the world, the application of these instruments has led to more efficient administration and reform of criminal justice systems. The standards and norms cover a wide spectrum of issues, including the role of women as offenders, victims and decision-makers in criminal justice; crime prevention and public awareness: enhancing public security, ethics, values and family ties; crime prevention and reduction of poverty; alternatives to incarceration and prison overcrowding; juvenile delinquency and alternative youth sanctions; restorative justice; use of technology in crime prevention and the supervision of offenders; modalities for effective law enforcement cooperation; and the promotion of close collaboration between the security forces and the judicial police.

The Second Training Course was designed to illustrate the versatility of the application of the standards and norms, and how they can be used to promote the strengthening of crime prevention and the operation of criminal justice systems while respecting and protecting human rights. The course focused on human rights protection in law enforcement, covering both crime and drug issues. Visits to the local police training centre and police stations, the central prison of Vienna, and the UN drug-testing laboratory, provided direct practical insights into criminal justice operations. At the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (Stadtschlaining, Burgenland) participants studied various aspects of human rights and law enforcement, national and international complaint procedures, policing and law enforcement: police management, internal review, and the dissemination of human rights values.

Among the presenters was H.E., Ambassador Thomas Stelzer, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations Organizations (Vienna, Austria), who illustrated the UN's ongoing work against terrorism and the role of law enforcement and human rights. Other presentations covered new developments in law enforcement and human rights, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols,  policing, urban crime prevention and problem solving, policing and peacekeeping, police ethics and corruption, drug control policies and law enforcement, and standards and norms in drug testing.

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