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Statements in International Organisations


United Nations CCPCJ: Agenda item 4(a) and 4(b): Work of UNODC regarding ratification and implementation of UNTOC and UNCAC (Vienna)

Statement of the Republic of Slovenia on behalf of the European Union at the 17th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice


Thank you, Mr. Chairman

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union (EU). The Candidate Countries Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia  and Turkey, the Countries of the Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Moldova and Ukraine, associate themselves with this statement.

2. In this statement, Mr. Chairman, we would like to address both agenda item 4 (a) regarding the ratification and implementation of United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and agenda item 4 (b) the ratification and implementation of United Nations Convention against Corruption.

3. Mr. Chairman, transnational organized crime continues to pose a grave threat to the safety of our societies and security of our states. As it impairs sustainable development and poverty reduction, distorts social systems and undermines political stability and legitimate economic activity, its effects can be as damaging for individuals and families as for business and governments.

4. Transnational organised crime is creating challenges to criminal justice systems around the world. One particular challenge is due to the new orientations and new dimensions transnational organised crime is taking with respect to concurrent technological developments. On the other hand new forms of crime are emerging, such as cyber crime and crimes against the environment.

5. Combating organized crime is essential for personal, social and economic well-being. International cooperation plays a key role in building the necessary capacity 

to tackle crime and the EU consequently highly appreciates and supports the work which is being carried out by the UN bodies at the global level. The EU welcomes the fact that the promotion of universal ratification of the Convention on Transnational Organised Crime and its protocols has been one of the top priorities of UNODC, including disseminating tools and manuals to combat transnational organized crime and publishing studies on problems posed by transnational organized crime with a view to enhancing the knowledge base.

6. Providing its citizens with a high level of safety within the area of freedom, security and justice is one of the central objectives of the EU. To meet this goal, the EU is equipping itself with legal tools for combating the most serious forms of transnational crime. The European Arrest Warrant (EAW), the strongest tool in cooperation in criminal matters in the EU, will be supplemented by the European handbook on how to issue an EAW. The establishment of joint investigation teams, the extension of the principle of mutual recognition to the issuing the orders to freeze property and evidence, or to the confiscation of crime related proceeds, instrumentalities and property, and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters also illustrate the progress made in recent years.

7. Furthermore, combating organised crime has been incorporated, along with financial assistance, into the EU foreign policy mainstream of enhanced co-operation with third countries and regions. The EU attaches the greatest importance to ensuring effective judicial and law enforcement co-operation with other countries in the fight against crime. To this end, the EU has also launched a proposal amending the Council decision setting up Eurojust, an EU body on enhancing cooperation of competent authorities of Member States in criminal investigations and prosecution of cross-border cases, with a view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime and enhancing cooperation with other countries.

8. One of the priorities for action in the international fight against transnational crime is the need to remove existing obstacles to effective international cooperation. Obstacles to international cooperation are sometimes political, sometimes juridical, sometimes cultural, but they often also simply stem from the fundamental differences which exist between various criminal justice traditions, regimes, and practices. Many of them are surmountable provided that there is a clear political will to do so. Removing such obstacles is precisely what the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime is setting out to achieve.

9. The EU welcomes a new determination of States to work together to improve international cooperation in fighting various forms of transnational criminal activities. But the effective implementation of all the provisions of the Convention is still an aim to be achieved.

10. The fourth Conference of Parties (COP) to the UNTOC Convention, which will take place in Vienna in October, will provide us all with an opportunity to consider the work already accomplished, as well as the work to be done. In the view of the latter we would like to underline that any proposition aiming at improving the implementation of the UNTOC, including the proposition of establishing a review 

mechanism, are crucial elements for the COP to properly perform its functions and should therefore be considered at the 4th COP. While the European Union is considering the way forward with regard to the mechanism for the review of implementation of the UNTOC we would like to stress the importance of strengthening and enhancing international co-operation in the field of extradition and legal assistance.

11. The EU welcomes the number of ratifications of the convention and its protocols and urges the States that have not yet done so to ratify them. We also invite States to actively pursue efforts for implementation and to take advantage of the wide array of tools and assistance that UNODC continues to offer to those engaged in the fight against transnational organized crime. We believe that all countries should ensure that, consistent with their legal system, transnational crimes are treated and dealt with as serious crimes by all parts of the criminal justice system.

12. Mr. Chairman, the UN Convention against Corruption is critical for Member States in their struggle against corruption. It offers a comprehensive set of standards that enable effective combat with corruption on a country, regional and global level. The EU has witnessed the entering into force of the Convention with great enthusiasm and has actively participated in the inaugural session of the first Conference of the States Parties (COSP) held in Jordan. In the meantime, the number of signatories to the convention has topped 140 states and the number of states that have actually ratified the convention has risen over 100. The EU considers that a great achievement and encourages signatories, which have not already done so, to apply all appropriate measures which would enable them to ratify the convention. Furthermore, the EU invites all the other states to sign and ratify the Convention and become partners in the fight against corruption.

13. Topics that have been highlighted in the first COSP have been followed up in the second COSP at the end of January this year in Indonesia. The EU has supported the conference in identifying effective methods for the establishment of strong and effective review mechanism, for providing technical assistance and for enhancing asset recovery.

14. Mr. Chairman, concerning the UNCAC, we support the establishment of a strong and effective review mechanism to assist the COSP in the promotion and review of the implementation of the Convention. We look forward to the adoption of the review mechanism at the third COSP as determined in the resolution 2/1. This mechanism is absolutely necessary to ensure the efficiency and the credibility of the Convention.

15. The EU welcomes the continuation of the Working Group which will prepare terms of reference for a review mechanism for consideration, action and adoption by the COSP at its third session. This working group provides the opportunity to already make some progress in the time running up to the next COSP in 2009 and the EU will continue to actively participate in the working group. The review mechanism should enable the COSP to obtain reliable and homogeneous information concerning the implementation of the convention. The review mechanism should be governed by transparent and objective assessment criteria and limit the burden on states as much as possible.

16. Mr, Chairman, we are particularly interested in combinations of self-assessment and international discussion between experts on implementation. We warmly welcome the pilot programme designed to test various methods of reviewing implementation. Considerable progress has been made in the programme which is ongoing and will be extended. We look forward to considering proposals presented to the Working Group and ultimately to the COSP.

17. The EU supports the continuation of the work of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Technical Assistance and will, together with other donors, continue to provide technical assistance in a coordinated fashion, aligning with the priorities of states requesting support. Furthermore, the EU encourages the states receiving technical assistance to identify their needs, develop multi year national framework of their needs and designate a focal point to avoid duplication and facilitate contacts with the donor community.

18. With regard to asset recovery the EU will be particularly interested in working together with other state parties to explore and support proposals for making asset recovery effective and expeditious, in particular initiatives that would facilitate the exchange of information and encourage cooperation between requesting and requested States. The EU supports the continuation of work of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Asset Recovery and welcomes the common initiative of the UNODC and the World Bank, known as the Stolen Asset Recovery initiative (StAR).

19. In its internal policies, the EU also attaches great importance to combating corruption and financial crime. The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), established within this context, which is tasked with internal and external administrative investigations for the purpose of combating corruption, fraud and illegal activities affecting the Union’s financial interests. We are committed to working closely together in this area, for example by fully implementing decisions on common definitions while fully taking into account the work being done by other regional and international organisations, such as the Council of Europe and the OECD.

20. The EU would like to stress, that corruption and organised crime constitute a serious obstacle to sustainable development. Corruption is the effect of poor governance and lack of transparent, accountable management control systems. Organised crime and terrorism thrive on corrupt practices and networks, which undermine democracy and the rule of law in our societies. Let me assure you, Mr. Chairman, of the continued commitment of the EU to international cooperation in combating transnational organised crime and corruption.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


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Date: 07.05.2008