Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

The recent increase in the scope, intensity and sophistication of crime around the world threatens the safety of citizens everywhere and hampers countries in their social, economic and cultural development. The dark side of globalization allows multinational criminal syndicates to broaden their range of operations from drug and arms trafficking to money laundering and trafficking in human beings.

The United Nations has acknowledged the importance of crime prevention and criminal justice since 1950, when it helped countries to set standards for fair and efficient criminal justice systems. Member States recognize that they must cooperate in order to counter international crime successfully.

Established in 1997, the Centre for International Crime Prevention (CICP) is the United Nations office responsible for crime prevention, criminal justice and criminal law reform. The CICP works with Member States to strengthen the rule of law, to promote stable and viable criminal justice systems and to combat the growing threats of transnational organized crime, corruption and trafficking in human beings.

The United Nations Crime and Justice Information Network provides a substantial database of www links to criminal justice related sites.

Money Laundering
Organized criminals generate huge sums of money through drug trafficking, arms smuggling and financial crime. They are increasingly able to disguise illegal profits by taking advantage of the globalization of the world economy to transfer funds quickly across borders, particularly to those countries where controls are weak or non-existent.

The Global Programme Against Money Laundering (GPML) provides training to business, law enforcement and judicial professionals, assists in building stronger legal and institutional frameworks and fosters awareness of international anti-money laundering standards.

Terrorism often encompasses elements of politics, warfare and propaganda. In recent years, some analysts have perceived a dangerous trend towards inflicting high casualties in terrorist activities. To combat this emerging threat, the Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) was established in 1999 to promote international and technical cooperation in the prevention of terrorism. The TPB works with Member States to identify early violent warning signals.

Corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon. The Global Programme Against Corruption targets countries with vulnerable developing or transitional economies by promoting anti-corruption measures in the public sphere, private sector and in high-level financial and political circles. The Judicial Integrity Programme identifies means of addressing the key problem of a corrupt judiciary.

Organized Crime
Criminal groups have established international networks to carry out their activities more effectively through sophisticated technology and by exploiting today’s open borders. The Global Programme against Transnational Organized Crime maps the latest trends among organized criminal groups and highlights their potential worldwide danger so that preventive action can take place.

Trafficking in Human Beings
The smuggling of migrants and the trafficking of human beings for prostitution and slave labour have become two of the fastest growing worldwide problems in recent years. The Global Programme Against Trafficking in Human Beings will enable countries of origin, transit and destination to develop joint strategies and practical action against the trade in human beings.