30 March 2005

Greece to Contribute to United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Fund

VIENNA, 30 March 2005 (UN Information Service) -- The Government of Greece has notified Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), of its decision to make a voluntary contribution of US$135,000, to the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Fund for the current year.  In addition, the Greek Ministry of Health has contributed, as in previous years, US$20,000 to the Drug Programme General Purpose Fund.

The contribution of US$135,000 has been made in order to support the activities of UNODC in promoting the ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Furthermore, it is a token of Greece’s commitment to the expeditious entry into force of the Convention, which has already been demonstrated by its involvement and support throughout the negotiation process for the elaboration of this international instrument. The overall initiative of the Greek Government also demonstrates its resolution and commitment to assist UNODC in its endeavours to tackle the interrelated challenges and threats posed by corruption, transnational organized crime and drug trafficking.

The United Nations Convention against Corruption was adopted by General Assembly resolution 58/4 of 31 October 2003 and opened for signature by Member States at a High-level Conference in Mérida, Mexico, from 9 to 11 December 2003. As of today, the Convention has been signed by 118 Member States and received the following 18 ratifications in alphabetical order: Algeria, Belarus, Benin, Egypt, El Salvador, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Namibia, Nigeria, Peru, Romania, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uganda.

The Convention will enter into force after 30 countries ratify it. States will be given the opportunity to deposit instruments of ratification of or accession to the Convention at a special treaty event which will take place during the High-level segment of the 11th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 18 to 25 April 2005.

The Convention is the first global instrument in the fight against corruption. It contains a wide array of prevention measures and a chapter dedicated to the criminalization of specific manifestations of corruption. The Convention calls for international cooperation in criminal matters, including technical assistance and information exchange. In a major breakthrough, the Convention contains specific provisions on asset recovery. It elevates the return of assets as a “fundamental principle” and obliges States Parties to ensure the widest possible mutual cooperation and assistance for that purpose.

* *** *