20 April 2005

11th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to Discuss Criminal Justice Reform

BANGKOK, 20 April (UN Information Service) -- A workshop on Enhancing Criminal Justice Reform, including Restorative Justice, is being organized as part of the Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Bangkok, Thailand, on 22 April 2005.  The International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy, based in Vancouver, Canada, has assisted the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in organizing the workshop, which is being supported by the Canadian Department of Justice.

According to Kathleen Macdonald, Executive Director of the Centre, “This workshop is an opportunity to identify the challenges and issues that all criminal justice systems face in balancing the repressive nature of the system and the application of international standards and norms in criminal justice and crime prevention.  By bringing together international experts and top government officials to exchange and discuss information on new reform initiatives, we hope to identify and deliver workable solutions and processes to help victims and witnesses of crime.”  Further, she says:  “The outcome of the workshop should lead to regional strategies, initiatives and policies to guide the development of restorative justice, which take into account the victims of crime and the need to reintegrate the offenders into the community.”

In recent years, the demands for justice made by witnesses and victims, including particular groups such as women, children or indigenous peoples, have led to substantial reform initiatives.  The workshop will offer a comprehensive review of international, regional and domestic efforts to enhance criminal justice systems.  It will also offer examples of international best practices, in areas such as access to justice for vulnerable groups, alternatives to imprisonment, and ways to reduce imprisonment of children and young people.

The International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy is an independent, non-profit Canadian institute that is officially affiliated to the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme.  The Centre’s mission is to promote the rule of law, human rights, human safety, democratic principles and good governance.  The Centre actively contributes to the local, national and international efforts to support law reform initiatives and to improve the administration of criminal justice.

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