Regions Prepare for 1995 Congress

UN Chronicle, June 1994 | Go to article overview

Regions Prepare for 1995 Congress


Organized crime, "eco-crime", and crime prevention strategies were among topics discussed at five regional preparatory meetings for the Ninth UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in 1995.

Crime is undermining the "foundation of trust upon which government is based, by eroding its authority and legitimacy", stated Eduardo Vetere, Chief of the UN Crime and Criminal Justice Branch of the UN Office at Vienna, at the African regional meeting on 17 February.

"We put alarms in our cars, place bars on our windows, trying to make our homes secure as prisons." It was time, he said, to promote a "culture of legality and tolerance instead of a culture of lawlessness and violence"

To help shape international strategies to combat and prevent crime, the UN has convened Congresses on crime prevention every five years since 19 5 5. The Eighth Congress was held in 1990 in Havana; the Ninth will take place in early 1995, with Tunisia as a possible venue.

Two global conferences--on transnational crime (Naples) and on laundering and control of the proceeds of crime (Courmayeur)--are set for later this year in Italy.

Asia and the Pacific

Participants in the Asia and Pacific regional meeting (Bangkok, 17-21 january) urged States to strengthen their cooperation with regard to extraditing criminals. States also should ensure the independence of their judiciary and upgrade the skills of criminal justice personnel. Organized crime, including increased smuggling of firearms, directly threatened national and regional security and stability, many participants stated.

Africa

The UN should emphasize traditional justice mechanisms such as mediation and organize a UN crime prevention day or week to highlight global crime problems--those were among the decisions taken at the African meeting (Kampala, Uganda, 14-18 February).

The 1995 Crime Congress also should identify effective measures to prevent corruption of public officials and strengthen international cooperation to combat organized and transnational crime, it was decided.

African nations were asked to develop a multilateral convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters, including obtaining evidence from witnesses to crimes in another country, refraining from registering imported used vehicles without prior clearance from the country of origin, and creating joint structures for combating organized crime.

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