Press Releases

    10 May 2004

    Background Press Release

    United Nations Crime Commission Meeting to Focus on The Rule of Law and Development

    40-Member Body to Hold Thirteenth Session in Vienna from 11 to 20 May 2004

    VIENNA, 10 May (UN Information Service) -- The rule of law and development: what governments can do in crime prevention and criminal justice will be the focus of the thirteenth session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice beginning tomorrow, 11 May 2004, in Vienna.

    Crime renders development unsustainable in many ways. To begin with, organized crime impedes economic growth. Data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows that a high level of crime correlates with a low level of human development. On the other hand, under-development and institutional weaknesses provide an environment where organized crime and corruption thrive. For example, ten times more murders take place in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa than in North America and the European Union countries, and most of these crimes are not prosecuted.

    “We need to break the vicious circle between poor governance and slow development. Without the rule of law, countries cannot prosper and under-development persists”, said Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, UNODC.  

    Discussions at the session will include: (a) international cooperation to strengthen the rule of law, including combating corruption and (b) the reform of criminal justice institutions with an emphasis on technical assistance, including post-conflict reconstruction.

    Terrorism will also be discussed at the senior level on 14 May. Particular attention will be paid to UNODC’s efforts to provide technical assistance, in combating terrorism through the implementation of the related conventions and protocols.

    The Commission will also address urban crime, kidnapping and United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice. Moreover, the session will offer an opportunity to reiterate the importance of the existing normative instruments against crime: The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) and its three Protocols (against human trafficking, smuggling of migrants and firearms) and the Convention against Corruption.

    Status of signature/ratification:

    TOC Convention: Signatories 147, Ratifications 67;

    Trafficking in Persons Protocol: Signatories 117, Ratifications 52;

    Smuggling of Migrants Protocol: Signatories 112, Ratifications 46;

    Firearms Protocol: Signatories 52, Ratifications 16.

    Corruption Convention: Signatories 107, Ratifications 2.

    Members of the Commission 

    The 40 members of the Commission are Algeria, Austria, Botswana, Burundi, Brazil, Canada, Central African Republic, China, Comoros, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mauritania, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Zambia.

    Bureau of the Commission

    Chairperson: Pavel Vacek (Czech Republic). Vice-Chairpersons: Oscar Cabello Sarubbi (Paraguay), Thomas Stelzer (Austria), T.P. Sreenivasan (India). Rapporteur: Ajebe Ligaba Wolde (Ethiopia)

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