Combating transnational organised crime
Vienna, 15.10.2012 | press release
The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Danilo Türk, is in Vienna, where he is attending the Sixth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
Before the opening of the conference, President Türk met with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive Director Yury Fedotov, with whom he discussed issues concerning international cooperation in combating organised crime and the crucial role of the UNODC and of the Convention in this effort.
Mr Fedotov stressed that the UNODC is becoming a global player in the fight against transnational organised crime, and that this demands certain modifications and upgrading of its operations. He went on to say that what is needed is, primarily, a clear mandate and guidance from the States Parties to the Convention, and a regulation of the issues concerning the financing of the UNODC and cooperation with non-governmental organisations.
President Türk agreed with this assessment and stressed in particular the importance of information provided to the States Parties, which must be comprehensive and reliable. He added that combat against transnational organised crime may also benefit from closer cooperation among law enforcement authorities.
The UNODC Executive Director then informed the Slovenian President of the special regional programme to combat transnational organised crime in the countries of Southeast Europe. They agreed that participation in this programme is of significance to these countries’ meeting the criteria for accession to the European Union.
President Türk then attended the inaugural session of the Conference, where he delivered a key-note speech. He stressed that transnational organised crime is an aggregate expression, which describes a variety of crimes, from trafficking in human beings to cyber crime, from smuggling of migrants to piracy, from trafficking in firearms to drugs trade and identity fraud. All these crimes deeply affect the social fabric of our societies, entail human rights violations and represent a threat to peace and security, to the rule of law and development.
Some forms of transnational organised crime, in particular illicit arms trafficking, represent a direct threat to international peace and security. Trafficking in human beings, by many accounts the most heinous form of transnational organised crime, has reached alarming proportions and is affecting millions of human beings. President Türk was adamant that the entire UN system should be mobilised to combat this problem.
He said that organised crime is gaining in sophistication, range and viciousness, and pointed to gaps in national legislations, in law enforcement, and in the judicial and law enforcement cooperation among countries. The international community should thus adopt broader, more cross-cutting strategies to combat transnational organised crime.
The President expressed his hope that the negotiations on the TOC implementation review mechanism would lead to an agreement and to its adoption at this very session of the Conference, as this would galvanise the efforts of the international community in combating transnational organised crime in a comprehensive, systematic manner. In addition to the much needed inter-governmental cooperation, he stressed the important role of civil society in the fight against organised crime and in remedying its repercussions.
President Türk concluded his address by presenting the initiative of the Netherlands, joined by Belgium and Slovenia, to create a new multilateral international instrument on legal assistance and extradition relating to domestic prosecution of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
“Currently, cooperation in collecting evidence and extradition of perpetrators related to these crimes depends solely on existing bilateral agreements between States. These are limited in their number and scope. Therefore, all too often, proceedings against suspects of genocide or war crimes fail due to the lack of an adequate legal basis for cooperation of the investigation authorities of the States involved. In order to be truly effective, it is essential that States are able to give each other legal assistance and – if the need arises – to extradite suspects,” stressed President Türk.
Dr Danilo Türk was then received by the Federal President of the Republic of Austria, Dr Heinz Fischer, in the Hofburg Palace. During their working meeting, the two presidents discussed political and economic development issues in the European Union and questions concerning bilateral cooperation between Slovenia and Austria.
In the afternoon, President Türk attended the side-event organised by Slovenia, The Netherlands and Belgium entitled “Fixing legal gap: Initiative for a multilateral instrument on legal assistance and extradition relating to domestic prosecution and extradition of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes”, where he addressed the participants.