By Jaya Ramachandran
VIENNA, Apr 16 2015 (IPS)
A modern ‘legal arsenal’ comprising the rule of law is the best weapon to combat crime and terror and to end the vicious circle of poverty, according to experts gathered in Doha, Qatar, for the Apr. 12-19 United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, organised by the Vienna-based United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The International Organization for Victim Assistance has calculated that investing 0.1 per cent of the global gross domestic product in planning, training, developing, implementing and evaluating actions to prevent crime and bolster criminal justice systems would free up one trillion dollars by 2030 and would save hundreds of thousands of lives while fostering sustainable development.
UNODC said in a press release simultaneously issued in Vienna and Doha on Apr. 15 that several speakers from terrorism-afflicted States had shared their perspective on how to address the causes of that scourge.
To halt the spread of groups like Al-Qaida and Da’esh, and their crimes against humanity, the press release said, Iraq’s representative pleaded for a strategy that must include Security Council action and a guarantee of the implementation of that body’s resolutions.
It would also require stepping up international cooperation, particularly on freezing flows of funds and foreign fighters, and promoting the battle against organised crime groups operating behind “shell” companies.
Libya’s representative appealed for international assistance to recover its plundered assets, bolster border control and support his government’s endeavours to simultaneously promote stability while fighting against the presence of Da’esh. As Libya was a gateway to Europe, he said, what was happening in his country would have an impact on States around the world.
In fact, no country could claim to combat terrorism on its own, the press release quoted Morocco’s representative saying. He emphasised that international cooperation was essential. His country had introduced several reforms with the aim of creating a “legal arsenal” to tackle various forms of crime, including terrorism, smuggling of migrants and money-laundering, as well as to address the unique challenge of foreign fighters.
The best addition to that arsenal was regional and international cooperation, he said, noting that UNODC had the potential to help track down States that harboured terrorists and criminals or contributed to their activities.
Continuing, he highlighted that success in crime prevention and criminal justice did not depend on the number of security forces, but on the adoption of effective means to respond to multifaceted threats in a way that respected human rights. As such, Morocco had adopted a multi-pronged approach in its public policy to combat terrorist groups by “drying up” their funding through strong mandatory measures and protecting the country’s religious environment from excesses.
A number of speakers also called for action to make similar processes easier. Representing another view, the UNODC said, a speaker for Amnesty International called on the Congress to address human rights violations that resulted from “overzealous” policing, as well as the punishment of women, marginalised individuals, the poor and those transgressing social norms.
Edited by Kitty Stapp