12th Crime Congress

Costa addresses the Congress: “Let justice be done, to save the world”

Posted in Uncategorized by 12thcrimecongress on 18 April 2010

UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa was the first person to speak at this morning’s session of the high-level segment, in front of a somewhat depleted audience compared to previous days (it’s been a long, intense week, plus it’s sunny outside). After apologizing for the delay with which he arrived at the Congress and some standard truisms about crime being a threat to security, Costa zeroed-in on the specific responsibilities of Governments represented at the Congress, as well as the role of society in general.

He rightly pointed out that, “with much of humanity expecting better, quicker and more honest justice”, States must do more than “endlessly draft declarations”. Costa mentioned the issues that were on the agenda of the Congress during the previous week, and spoke about ways in which crime undermines development, making it that much more difficult to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. In his words, “there can be no development without justice, and vice-versa”.

He drew attention to the following:

• Human rights, which must be placed “at the heart of the criminal justice system”
• The need to review and update systematically all criminal justice standards and norms
• The mechanism for reviewing implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which he hopes the Congress will call for to be “put in place speedily, effectively and universally”
• His hope that a similar review mechanism will be adopted later this year to review implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
• New forms of crime (such as those committed in cyberspace, those against the environment and counterfeiting) and re-emerging crimes (such as piracy and trafficking in cultural property)

Finally, Costa recalled “the important role society at large must play in promoting justice”, and strongly criticized journalists “oblivious of colleagues killed because of their investigative reporting”, bankers who “rush to invest [the] bloody proceeds” of major criminals, “popular TV series [that] celebrate mafias” and models who snort cocaine sometimes trafficked across borders in the intestines of young women (“mules”).

He stressed that we must “launch massive efforts to engage common people and make society at large willing to promote the culture of justice” and said: “I salute the vibrant participation of civil society at this Congress”.

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