Institutional issues | 20.04.2021

UIA at the 14th UN Crime Congress United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, March 6-12, 2021

The United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice is the world’s largest and most diverse gathering of policy-makers, practitioners, academia, intergovernmental organizations and civil society in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice.

Initially scheduled in 2020, the 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice took place in Kyoto, Japan from Sunday, 7 to Friday, March 12, 2021, in a hybrid format, under the overall theme “Advancing crime prevention, criminal justice and the rule of law: towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda”. More than 5,000 participants from all over the world participated in the Congress, including representatives of 152 Member States, 114 non-governmental organizations, 37 intergovernmental organizations and 600 individual experts and several UN entities and institutes.

UIA, jointly with the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) and the International Bar Association, updated and resubmitted as a written statement to the Congress a call for action in support of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, the 30th anniversary of which was commemorated in 2020, the original date of the UN Congress.

In addition, UIA, represented by Jacqueline R. Scott, Director General of UIA-IROL, submitted an oral statement wthat was delivered under ITEM 4: Integrated approaches to challenges facing the criminal justice system (see draft report of Agenda Item 4 here).

Outside the formal context of the congress, UIA-IROL joined more than 15 NGOs and legal organisations in a statement calling upon UN entities and States participating UN Crime congress the to put at the center of crime prevention and criminal justice reforms the promotion and protection of human rights and the abolition of the death penalty.

In addition, UIA actively co-organised, participated and/or sponsored events in the formal framework of the Congress, as well as a in a parallel symposium that was held just after the UN Crime Congress.

1. Ancillary Meeting co-organised by JFBA, UIA and IBA:
“The Basic Principles on Role of Lawyers: its Contemporary Role and Challenges”

During the event, moderated by Yasushi Higazikawa, Chief Secretary of the Working Group for the 2020 UN Congress of the Japan Federation of Bar Association (JFBA), Jacqueline R. Scott, Director General of UIA-IROL, Hon. Michael Kirby, Co-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association (IBAHRI), and Shyam Divan, Co-Chair of the Human Rights Section (HRS) and Vice-President of LAWASIA, explored how the Principles could be implemented more effectively and what is necessary to strengthen and broaden their application.

Recording available here.

2. Ancillary Meeting organized by JFBA:
Towards Abolition of Capital Punishment: Global Efforts to End Capital Punishment and Challenges Confronting East Asia and Oceanian Region”

During this event, moderated by Teppei Ono, speakers, including those of the JFBA and the governments of the EU and Australia, introduced international and national efforts to abolish the death penalty. Haitze Siemers, Delegate of the European Commission, Julian McMahon, Senior Counsel in Melbourne and Former President of the Capital Punishment Justice Project;, Yuji Ogawara, Chief Secretary of the JFBA Central Board on Abolition of the Death Penalty and Reform of the Relevant Penal System, and Maxime Delhomme, UIA Special Delegate for the 14th Crime Congress and Former President of the UIA Criminal Law Commission, explored the challenges that each country has confronted or currently  confronts with respect to the abolition of the death penalty.

Video recording of Maxime Delhomme’s remarks available here

3. Special event organised by the Division for Operations of UNODC, and sponsored by several main stakeholders, including UIA 
"Equal Access to Justice for All"

The event brought together high-level speakers from Governments, UN entities, academia and civil society to highlight the key importance of equal access to justice for sustainable development and for creating peaceful and prosperous societies in any country, particularly for groups facing structural impediments in access to justice. Guaranteeing access to justice during the pandemic and in a post-COVID world was the central focus of the discussion.

Find out more here. Recording available here

INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM: “Prospect of the Future of Criminal Justice -- Can Criminal Justice Systems Coexist with Death Penalty / Attacks on Lawyers?”

On March 13, 2021, a parallel , onine, international symposium took place, organised by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, together with the International Association of Penal Law (Japanese Branch) and UIA, with the support of the Delegation of the European Union to Japan.

Two panels were organised at the Symposium:

a. “The 30th Anniversary of the adoption of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers―Prerequisite System to Realize Proper Criminal Justice”

b. “Aiming at the Abolition of Death Penalty in Every Country and Region in the World: Unlawfulness of Death Penalty under International Law”

On the occasion of the Death Penalty panel at this symposium, UIA, JFBA and the Delegation of the European Union to Japan delivered a Joint Message to Aim for the Abolishment of the Death Penalty in All Countries and Regions of the World, calling on States that still retain the death penalty and those even fewer that carry out executions, to actively move toward abolition.

See all related information here.