9 April 2009

Media advisory

Crime Commission Meets to Confront "Global Crime Wave"

VIENNA, 9 April (UN Information Service) - The United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice will meet in Vienna from 16 to 24 April to review what the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Antonio Maria Costa, has described as "a global crime wave".

"Organized crime poses a threat to the security of cities, states, and even entire regions", warned Mr. Costa. "The work of this Commission is more relevant and more pertinent than ever".

One of the thematic discussions of this 18th session is economic fraud and identity-related crime. "The economic crisis is providing an extraordinary opportunity for mafia penetration of the international financial system. Urgent action is needed", said the head of UNODC. He also underlined the need to crack down on abuse of the Internet for economic fraud and cyber-terrorism.

The second thematic issue is penal reform and the reduction of prison overcrowding. "Prisons are a litmus test of a country's justice system. Too many countries are failing that test. Their over-crowded prisons violate international standards and are breeding grounds for drugs, crime and the spread of HIV", warned Mr. Costa.

Member States will be encouraged to make more effective use of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which entered into force in 2003, as well as its three Protocols against trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants and illicit manufacturing and trafficking in firearms. The Commission will also review crime trends and responses.

This Commission will constitute the launch pad for the Twelfth United Nations Crime Congress to be held in Salvador, Brazil in April 2010. The main theme of that Congress will be to compile and review standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice that have been developed over the past 50 years.

Among the dignitaries taking part in the meeting is Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahibol of Thailand.

The press are invited to a press conference with the Executive Director of UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa, on Thursday, 16 April at 13:00 hours in room C03 (Press Briefing Room) at the Vienna International Centre. 

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For further information, please contact:

Walter Kemp
Spokesman and Speechwriter, UNODC
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-5629
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629
Email: walter.kemp@unodc.org