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Meet the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

Picture of Lady Justice

The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) is a functional commission created by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1992 to guide the United Nations on matters of criminal justice. In 2006, the General Assembly (GA) empowered the CCPCJ to act as a governing body of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), along with the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). The CCPCJ consists of 40 Member States representing all regions of the world, elected by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to three year terms. 

The CCPCJ is responsible for periodically (historically, every five years) organizing the United Nations Conference on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, an event where Member States, Non-Governmental Organizations and experts discuss strategies for preventing transnational crime. The year before each of these Congresses is held, regional meetings take place to discuss what issues Member States in each region find pressing.  The previous Congress, held in 2015 in Doha, Qatar focused on the following issues:

  • Assisting victims of human trafficking
  • Wildlife and forest crime, with particular focus on trafficking in endangered species
  • Establishing the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict settings, especially as it relates to post-2015 development goals
  • Preventing and countering terrorist financing
  • Establishing guidelines on access to legal aid, particularly for poor persons accused of crimes
  • Investigating match-fixing cases, especially regarding cooperation between governments and sports organizations
  • Eliminating violence against children in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice
  • Developing anti-corruption education and enforcement
  • Implementing the Institutional Integrity Initiative
  • Countering narcotics trafficking on the high seas

The next conference will be held in Kyoto, Japan on 20-27 April 2020. Regional meetings will be held in 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand in January; Santiago, Chile in February; Beirut, Lebanon in March; and in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Vienna, Austria in April. These meetings have focused on the role of the CCPCJ in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. 

The CCPCJ also has its own annual meetings where it discusses important topics related to criminal justice. As a subsidiary body of ECOSOC, the Commission submits reports of its work to the Council after its meetings, which historically have consisted of the following sections:

  • Draft resolutions recommended for adoption by the Economic and Social Council
  • Draft resolutions recommended for adoption by the General Assembly via the Economic and Social Council
  • Draft decisions for approval by the Economic and Social Council 
  • Actions taken by the body and relevant deliberations

These meetings provide an environment for experts in criminal justice matters from around the world to discuss current crime-related issues, mostly those that are transnational in scope or concern areas that face difficulty in establishing rule of law, such as conflict areas. While resolutions passed in these meetings are included in a report rather than being passed directly, they are often acted on by the General Assembly and ECOSOC with slight modifications.

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