27 May 2005

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Concludes 14th Session

VIENNA, 27 May (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice concluded its fourteenth session today in Vienna, Austria. The intergovernmental Commission, which is also the preparatory body of United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held a shortened five-day session in view of the fact that the Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice was held in Bangkok, Thailand, in April 2005.

Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in his opening statement, drew attention to the results of the Eleventh Congress.  He invited delegations to read the report of the Secretariat, to review the benchmarks established by earlier Congresses, and the degree of compliance with their deliberations. “It is an unusually rich compilation of achievements,” he stated. “Together, Member States considered how the existing Conventions against crime and against corruption are helping them to reach domestic goals in these areas.” The connection between criminal justice, the rule of law, and global security had been frequently mentioned and today, it could safely be said that all Member States agreed that the rule of law was a prerequisite to peace.  During the Eleventh Congress, a treaty event had been held, during which 16 ratifications were deposited by a number of countries. “More Member States are working aggressively to translate Conventions into domestic legislation and policy initiatives,” he noted.

Turning to the work of UNODC, Mr. Costa informed the Commission that the Office had just released a major study on Crime and Development in Africa, completed in pursuance of the recommendations made by the Commission last year, as approved by the Economic and Social Council, which confirmed that crime was the inescapable companion of other conditions, for example, the vulnerability occasioned by war and conflict; anarchy and failed administration, poverty and underdevelopment. “When these conditions prevail in a nation or region, crime follows closely,” he said. 

The Commission’s thematic discussion focused on the conclusions and recommendations of the Eleventh Congress. Representatives of Member States joined in expressing appreciation to the Government of Thailand for the excellent organization and outstanding hospitality extended as host of the Eleventh Congress.  Support for future congresses was strong and a number of Governments had expressed interest in hosting the Twelfth Congress in 2010. The Commission recommended a resolution to the General Assembly, through the Economic and Social Council, endorsing the Bangkok Declaration adopted by the Eleventh Congress. The Bangkok Declaration and the recommendations of the Congress would be taken into consideration by Governments in formulating legislation and policy directives and Member States would be encouraged to implement the principles contained in the Declaration, taking into account their respective economic, social, legal and cultural conditions.

After consideration of the agenda, the Commission at its fourteenth session also made recommendations on: international cooperation in the fight against transnational organized crime, including the protection of witnesses; action against corruption and assistance to states in capacity-building with a view to facilitating the entry into force and subsequent implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption; strengthening international cooperation and technical assistance in promoting the implementation of the universal conventions and protocols related to terrorism; strengthening the reporting on crime trends; and strengthening the technical cooperation capacity of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme in the area of the rule of law and criminal justice reform. 

The Commission also recommended the adoption by the General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council of a model bilateral agreement on the sharing of confiscated proceeds of crime or property, and, for the adoption by the Economic and Social Council, guidelines on justice in matters involving child victims and witnesses of crime.

Every five years, the Commission is tasked with examining a report on capital punishment and the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty. The Commission decided to request the Secretary-General to continue collecting relevant data and information on capital punishment and the safeguards and to continue to prepare quinquennial reports on the subject for the consideration of the Commission, and upon request, for the Commission on Human Rights.  In this regard, at its sixty-first session, the Commission on Human Rights adopted resolution 2005/59, in which it welcomed the seventh quinquennial report of the Secretary-General on capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, and made a number of other important recommendations calling upon all states that still maintain the death penalty to abolish it completely while establishing a moratorium on executions, to progressively restrict the number of capital offences, and to strictly observe the safeguards.

The report of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on its fourteenth session will be submitted to the Economic and Social Council in July 2005 and will be posted on the official web site of UNODC at:  www.unodc.org.


For more information contact:
Maureen McGregor, Meetings Services Assistant
Legal Advisory Section, UNODC
E-mail: maureen.mcgregor@unodc.org