17 February 2005

Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

“Synergies and Responses: Strategic Alliances in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice”, Bangkok, Thailand, 18-25 April 2005

VIENNA, 17 February (UN Information Service) – The Host Country Agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Thailand for the Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice has been signed by Antonio Maria Costa, Director-General United Nations Office at Vienna and Executive Director,  United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and Adisak Panupong,  Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations (Vienna).

The Eleventh Congress will take place in Bangkok from 18 to 25 April 2005. The Crime Congresses are unique world events in that they provide a forum for discussion of priority concerns by policy makers, administrators, academicians and other professionals in the crime prevention and criminal justice field. Those intergovernmental forums have served as a stimulus for work in the field of criminal justice and the interest generated by them over the years has increased considerably. The First United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, held in 1955, was attended by 61 countries and territories, and over 500 participants, while the Tenth Congress, held in 2000, was attended by 137 Governments and approximately 2,000 participants. A similar, if not higher attendance is expected at the Eleventh Congress.

The substantive agenda items of the Eleventh Crime Congress are: effective measures to combat transnational organized crime; international cooperation against terrorism and links between terrorism and other criminal activities in the context of the work of UNODC; corruption: threats and trends in the twenty-first century; economic and financial crimes: challenges to sustainable development; and making standards work: fifty years of standard-setting in crime prevention and criminal justice.

Six technical workshops will be held on the following subjects: enhancing international law enforcement cooperation, including extradition measures; enhancing criminal justice reform, including restorative justice; strategies and best practices for crime prevention, in particular in relation to urban crime and youth at risk; measures to combat terrorism, with reference to the relevant international conventions and protocols; measures to combat economic crime, including money-laundering; and measures to combat computer-related crime.

The United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the preparatory body for the Congress, has been tasked by the General Assembly to prepare the text of a draft declaration for submission to the Eleventh Congress, taking into account the recommendations of the regional preparatory meetings, held last year.

The General Assembly also decided that a High-level Segment should be held during the last three days of the Congress, from 23 to 25 April 2005, and reiterated its invitation to Member States to be represented at the Eleventh Congress at the highest possible level, for example by heads of State or Government or government ministers and attorneys general, and to actively participate in the high-level segment.

Consistent with the recommendations repeatedly made by the General Assembly, UNODC and the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations have agreed to offer States the opportunity to undertake treaty actions during the High-level Segment of the Eleventh Congress in Bangkok (deposit instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession) with regard to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols, as well as the four multilateral instruments against terrorism.

On the occasion of this Mini Treaty Event, States will also be able to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which has so far received 118 signatures and 15 ratifications. To date, there are 147 signatories and 99 parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, 117 signatories and 79 parties to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; 112 signatories and 67 parties to the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air; and 52 signatories and 33 parties to the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition.

“The Eleventh Congress is an opportunity to encourage member nations to take concrete steps to prevent transnational organized crime, terrorism and corruption by signing and ratifying international instruments, thus showing their commitment towards their implementation and the enhancement of international cooperation”, Mr. Costa said.  He also expressed the wish to see in Bangkok the highest level of political participation to ensure a productive Congress.

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