TEN CENTRAL, SOUTH-EAST EUROPEAN STATES JOIN FORCES ON COUNTER-TERRORISM,
CORRUPTION, FIGHT AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME
(Reissued as received.)
VIENNA, 16 March (UN Information Service) -- Ten Central and South-EastEuropeanStates and 12 international and regional organizations concluded a three-day Expert Workshop on International Cooperation on Counter-Terrorism, Corruption and the Fight against Transnational Organized Crime in Zagreb last week. The workshop was jointly organized by Croatia and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and took place from 7 to 9 March 2005.
“The Republic of Croatia recognizes the need to combat crime and corruption effectively and energetically. Given the fact that we are geographically located on routes which international criminal organizations use for illegal trade in drugs, arms, people and illegal migration, our ability to wage an effective campaign against these threats is critically important”, said Vesna Škare Ožbolt, Minister of Justice, Croatia, in her opening remarks. The Minister also stressed the importance of the development of the rule of law and democracy in the region as a basis for international cooperation in criminal matters.
During the workshop, participants reviewed legislative requirements emanating from the 12 universal legal instruments against terrorism, the United Nation Convention on Corruption and the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, and simulated four case studies on terrorism and transnational organized crime. Additionally, the participants discussed ways to enhance international and regional cooperation.
The “Zagreb Declaration on International Cooperation on Counter-Terrorism, Corruption and the Fight against Transnational Organized Crime” was adopted as a result of experts’ experience-sharing on international cooperation in countering terrorism, crime and corruption. Delegations from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia confirmed their strong commitment to the efforts of the international community, as States work to counter the increasing menace of terrorism and spread of transnational organized crime.
The Declaration adopted 20 conclusions on legal and practical tools designed to facilitate international cooperation; these tools will increase the ability of States to combat terrorism, transnational organized crime, and corruption. Participating States also concluded that terrorist offences should never be considered political offences; that bank secrecy should not be grounds to refuse mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, and that national authorities should promote adequate measures to facilitate the reporting of corruption.
The Declaration commended international and regional organizations for their active involvement in the workshop, and called upon them to promote practical joint activities to strengthen the capacities of participating States to curb terrorism, organized crime and corruption.
The following organizations attended the workshop: Council of Europe, Council of the European Union, European Commission, Eurojust, International Criminal Police Organization, International Organization for Migration, Office of the High Representative, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, South-East Cooperation Initiative, Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe, United Nations Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNODC.
Upon request of Member States, UNODC regularly delivers technical assistance to facilitate the ratification and implementation of international conventions and protocols against terrorism, money-laundering, corruption, organized crime, trafficking in persons, the smuggling of migrants, and against the illicit manufacturing and trafficking in firearms.
For more information: Jean-Paul Laborde, Chief, Terrorism Prevention Branch, UNODC, tel.: + 43 1 26060 5604.
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