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Statements in International Organisations


United Nations CCPCJ: Agenda item 6 - Use and application of United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice (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 countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Moldova and Ukraine, associate themselves with this statement.

2. Mr. Chairman, the EU firmly believes that United Nations standards and norms play a crucial role in the global effort to effectively address crime prevention and criminal justice issues. Standards and norms serve as a point of reference for legislators and practitioners, thus assisting in providing information on best practices and the development of a coordinated response to crime related problems. We therefore appreciate that a remarkable compendium of model legal texts and guidelines has been adopted over the last decades.

3. The EU welcomes the periodic review of selected standards and norms initiated and undertaken by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, since it is crucial to exchange information on the use and application of those standards and to make further progress in their implementation. In a globalizing and quickly changing world, it is also necessary to identify innovative approaches and new areas where international standards can be applied. The EU continues to be supportive of this endeavour which we consider an indispensable part of the work of UNODC.

4. Taking into account the European Security Policy, the implementation of the EU strategy on the external dimension of Justice and Home Affairs: Global Freedom, Security and Justice and the EU policy in favour of an effective multilateral system, the EU is also promoting compliance with recognised international standards in third countries by providing technical assistance, inter 

alia, through UNODC. The EU acknowledges the importance of UN fora in this regard, as well as the development of international standards and norms in other fora, such as the Council of Europe, G8, FATF, the OSCE and the OECD.

5. The EU supports the successful work of UNODC in provision of technical assistance in the development and implementation of best practices in judicial reforms, which help countries to improve capacity and integrity of their judiciary. The EU welcomes the finalisation of Criminal Justice Assessment Toolkit and is looking forward to future tools that would support stakeholders of the states in providing their citizens with an accessible and effective criminal justice system with integrity. Self sustainable and reusable training tools, including e-learning or computer based training programmes are necessary to build technical assistance programmes.

6. Mr. Chairman, the Guidelines on Justice in Matters Involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime also constitute another important set of standards for protection of human rights. The right to be treated with dignity and compassion, the right to be protected from discrimination, and the right to be protected from hardship during the justice process, to name only a few, constitute the basis of a fair trial. The EU strongly encourages States to implement these essential standards in their national legislation, giving the highest attention to the children, who are the most vulnerable parties in the court procedures. In this regard, special attention should be given to preparing children for their role as witness and the possibility of the use of audio-visual means for children to provide their testimony in order to avoid stress and possible trauma.

7. The EU recognizes that capacity building in order to strengthen the rule of law and reform of criminal justice institutions is particularly needed with respect to vulnerable groups, such as women and children, with respect to economies in transition and countries in post conflict situations. With this in mind, the EU welcomes the work of the UNODC in the provision of technical assistance in this area.

8. Mr. Chairman, let me stress that the establishment of common standards and their application in practice is of crucial importance for international cooperation, and it is especially so in the area of crime prevention and criminal justice. Acceptance of common standards and norms is the foundation for more effective international cooperation in criminal matters. The effective cooperation between the EU Member States, based upon the principle of mutual recognition, may serve as a good example.

9. In the EU mutual standards and mutual trust, founded on the common respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms have enabled the EU to place the principle of mutual recognition as the fundamental principle of our instruments on judicial cooperation. Basically, this means that judicial decisions made in one Member State shall be recognised and enforced in the other Member States with a minimum of formalities. On this fundament, a number of legal instruments which enable enhanced mutual cooperation and coordination of activities in criminal investigations, pre-trial procedures, procedures before the court and enforcement of sentences have been adopted.

10. In the field of police cooperation the Schengen convention enables mutual operational assistance and direct information exchange between law-enforcement agencies, cross-border surveillance, cross-border pursuit of suspects, improved communication links between law-enforcement agencies and information exchange via central law-enforcement authorities. Europol, as the most important body for police cooperation in the EU supports the law enforcement activities of the Member States where an organized criminal structure is involved and two or more Member States are affected.

11. In the field of judicial cooperation extradition procedures for serious offences have been replaced with the more efficient European Arrest Warrant. The European Arrest Warrant enables judicial bodies in different Member States to exchange and enforce requests for surrender directly between each other, without any political involvement. The principle of dual criminality has been abolished for 32 categories of criminal offences and the surrender of a Member States' own citizens is made possible.

12. These are examples of cooperation that would not have been possible without a high degree of concordance with respect to the underlying standards and norms for the criminal process. Similarly, adherence to common standards and norms will also enhance effective international criminal cooperation in traditional, request-based forms. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, let me reiterate that the EU fully supports the work of UNODC for adoption of common standards and valuable tools to help ensure the sustainable level of human rights protection in every country and enable closer cooperation in criminal matters.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


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Date: 07.05.2008