The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) is the main policy making body of the United Nations (UN) on these issues. It was founded in 1992 by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Resolution 1992/1 as one of two commissions of ECOSOCs UN Office on Crime and Drugs.
ECOSOC Resolution 1992/22 (Chapter VI, Clause 1) identified four main pillars for CCPCJs work:
1. “National and transnational trime”
2. “Criminal law in the protection of the environment”
3. “Crime prevention in urban areas, juvenile and violent criminality”
4. “Efficiency, fairness, and improvement in the management and administration of criminal justice and related systems”
Today, the commission is holds annual sessions as well as various formats to exchange ideas and best practices, notably among the expert community. It consists of 40 members, distributed by regional groups, who are elected by the ECOSOC for a 3-year-term. The Commission adopts draft resolutions, which are then adopted by the ECOSOC.
CCPCJ also hosts the UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, a high-level forum on these topics, which last took place in 2021 in Japan and reoccurs every 5 years. It is particularly relevant in the fulfillment of Sustainable Development Goal 16 (“Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”).
1. Improving the Access to Justice for Vulnerable Groups
Sustainable Development Goal 16 clearly states that Target 16.3 aims „…to ensure equal access to justice for all.“ Granting access to legal aid is a cornerstone of modern states, yet there are several obstacles. Vulnerable groups often face difficulties in gaining legal aid due to language barriers or the complexity of legal language. These include groups such as children, older persons, immigrants, and refugees, or those who are illiterate. However, several other issues, such as discrimination, financial restrictions or even restrictive laws, can prevent people from seeking legal aid. Lastly, women still lack access to justice compared to men in many countries. During the conference, delegates of the CCPCJ can emphasise guidelines for legal systems on addressing these issues. What options are there to improve access? With whom can the CCPCJ cooperate? How can states be supported to improve their legal systems? These are just a few questions to be answered to adopt a resolution that can enable states and society to work together to improve access to justice for vulnerable groups.
2. Strengthening International Cooperation to Prevent and Prosecute Cyber Crime
Cybercrimes are a global menace that transcend borders and are constantly evolving. In today’s hyper-connected digital world, criminals have a strong incentive to exploit cyberspace for targeted attacks on online systems, networks, and critical infrastructure. This presents a grave and escalating threat that affects organizations, businesses, governments, and individuals worldwide, underscoring the urgent need for an international response.
While the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) do not explicitly address cybercrime, it constitutes a formidable obstacle to achieving several crucial targets, including 16.1, 16.4, and 16.5. These targets aim to reduce violence, combat organized crime, corruption, and illicit arms trafficking, all of which are exacerbated by cybercrimes.
Within the context of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ), it is imperative to recognize the dual nature of the cyber security challenge. Delegates should consider proactive measures to safeguard cyberspace, preventing attacks before they occur. Simultaneously, there is a pressing need to establish mechanisms for holding international actors accountable when they are implicated in cybercrimes.
In an era where our dependence on digital infrastructure grows daily, addressing cybercrime is essential for ensuring peace, security, and the rule of law in our interconnected world.