A new breed of crime fighters from all over the world will assemble in Havana, Cuba, from 27 August to 7 September 1990, in a major international effort to hinder the growth of criminality everywhere-from petty or violent street crime bred by drug addiction, poverty or despair to increasingly sophisticated "white collar" crimes and organized crime syndicates.
Hundreds of ambassadors and other diplomats and representatives of international and non-governmental organizations will join police chiefs, wardens, criminologists, attorneys, judges and ministers of interior and justice, among others, in this global exercise against crime the Eighth UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders.
"International Co-operation in Crime Prevention and Criminal justice for the 21st Century" is the theme of the Eighth Congress. Its five-point substantive agenda deals with international terrorism and organized crime, especially drug trafficking, juvenile justice conditions for prisoners worldwide, and community-based alternatives to traditional imprisonment.
At least 14 new international documents pertaining to crime prevention and control, including five model treaties, are expected to be approved, and the creation of a world crime foundation is to be considered.
The Congress will also focus on ways to combat crimes against the cultural patrimony and the environment, governmental corruption and organized crime, money laundering and financial fraud.
It will continue the process of humanization of criminal justice that began in 1955 when the first UN Crime Congress adopted a landmark bill of rights for inmates -a set of Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
In the Cuban capital, participants will also seek to replace the traditional approach to criminal justice with a more comprehensive one that takes into account social, political and economic factors.
Overcrowded prisons and the spread of acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome (AIDS) among inmates may lend a particular poignancy to debates on prison management. Preventive measures, particularly for juveniles, will be stressed. Thriving transnational criminality
"The key importance of the Congress derives from the fact that transnational criminality has become one of the most pressing problems confronting contemporary society", Secretary-General javier Perez de Cuellar reported to the forty-fourth General Assembly session.
Transnational criminality "is thriving at unprecedented levels and in ways previously unheard of", he added. It threatens the lives, security and property of individuals and communities, and has profound political implications.
Mr. Perez de Cuellar stated that violence within nations and across national boundaries strains public institutions because of the social and political upheaval it causes, 'most brutally epitomized in terrorism". World-wide trafficking in drugs and other forms of organized crime are especially serious manifestations of this phenomenon, he said.
"Criminality, once traditionally regarded as being of purely domestic concern, can no longer be tackled by Governments individually. Its political, economic, social, cultural and human costs can only be substantially reduced by nations acting in concert", the SecretaryGeneral concluded. Ground-breaking work UN Crime Congresses have met every five years since the first one in Geneva in 1955. They have played a crucial role in the formulation of international instruments in that field. The Seventh Congress (Milan, Italy, 1985) adopted a ground-breaking declaration seeking compassionate and respectful treatment for victims of crime and abuse of power. The Eighth Congress will assess how countries are applying measures recommmended by past conclaves, in particular the Milan gathering. In addition to the Milan Plan of Action, which focuses on crime prevention and criminal justice in the context of development, the Seventh Congress adopted guidelines for crime prevention in the context of development, and instruments on juvenile justice ("The Beijing Rules"), independence of the judiciary, and transfer and treatment of foreign prisoners. Five new treaties
The 14 major texts expected to be approved include five model treaties: on prevention of crime against cultural heritage, extradition, mutual assistance in judicial matters, transfer of supervision of offenders, and transfer of criminal proceedings.
Other texts would set guidelines on the role of lawyers and prosecutors, use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials, prevention of juvenile delinquency, protection of juveniles deprived of their liberty, and non-custodial measures. An inventory of measures for crime prevention, a manual on measures against corruption, another on computerization of criminal justice, and a guide for practitioners dealing with victims are also to be submitted to the Congress.
These documents, along with 10 draft resolutions on issues ranging from urban crime and sentencing policies to protection of human rights of victims of crime and abuse of power and computerization of criminal justice, were recommended by the UN Committee on Crime Prevention and Control as it wound up preparations for the Eighth Congress.
At its eleventh session (Vienna, 5-16 February), the body also adopted three resolutions by consensus-one proposing a world foundation for crime control and assistance to victims-and recommended a text on prison education and five other drafts for action by its parent body, the Economic and Social Council.
The proposed foundation would provide funds for international crime control programmes and raise global awareness of crime, crime trends and victim issues.
Most proposals adopted by the Committee resulted from the work of five regional preparatory meetings held in 1989, in Bangkok, Thailand Asia); Helsinki, Finland (Europe and North America); San jose, Costa Rica (Latin America); Cairo, Egypt (Western Asia); and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Africa). Some were formulated at five expert meetings-one on each of the five substantive Congress agenda items-held in Vienna in 1988. More than 600 participants from 129 countries and a large number of organizations attended the regional meetings. How to improve UN work
The Eighth Congress will discuss how to improve UN work in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice, including the possibility of establishing a new agency or at least upgrading the Crime Prevention and Criminal justice Branch of the Vienna-based UN...