The 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice took place from 12-19 April 2015 in Doha, Qatar. During the opening of the event, Member States adopted the Declaration of Commitment to integrate crime prevention and criminal justice into the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda.
The 2015 Congress featured two sessions dedicated to the activities of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).
The first UNICRI session, entitled “Security Governance Risks,” took place on 12 April and focused on a range of areas of UNICRI’s action including: Chemical Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) materials, Biotechnology, Big Data and Autonomous Robotics. This session considered the unprecedented acceleration in the development of new technologies and the threats associated to such advancements. In this respect, UNICRI’s methodology to promote effective security governance envisages an integrated approach involving all stakeholders at national, regional and international levels. This includes sharing good practices and capabilities, developing guidelines as well as identifying, collecting, and deploying resources to respond to the needs identified by partner countries.
The second UNICRI session, entitled “Rehabilitation of Violent Extremist Offenders,” took place on 16 April and focused on prisons since they are increasingly becoming a concern in the global fight against terrorism. Prisons can provide an environment where convicted terrorists network, compare and exchange tactics, radicalize, recruit new members and set up outside command and control operations. Most detained extremists will eventually be released. In order to reduce the likelihood that they will reoffend, it is crucial to find mechanisms to stimulate disengagement from violence.
As part of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force of the United Nations and in support of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, UNICRI's counter-terrorism capacity building initiative assists Member States, at their requests, in designing, developing and implementing rehabilitation and reintegration programs for violent extremists in prison settings.
The initiative is guided by the Rome Memorandum on Good Practices for Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Violent Extremist Offenders. UNICRI’s session discussed at an operational level the Rome Memorandum as a guiding set of practices to assist Member States in the disengagement, rehabilitation, prevention of radicalization and recruitment in prisons.
The UNICRI approach in this area involves supporting Member States to build tailored strategies and programmes which integrate cultural, sociological and context-specific considerations and draw on expertise of all relevant stakeholders - including State agencies and civil society organizations - absorbing international good practices and proven methodologies.
The session also looked at the challenges posed by returning foreign terrorist fighters and on how to address them
The United Nations Crime Congress, which is held every five years, is the world's largest and most diverse gathering of governments, civil society, academia and experts in crime prevention and criminal justice.
For more information, please visit the official website of the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
Interview with Joanne Jousif (UNICRI Programme Officer) and Patrick Fox (UNICRI Advisor) on rehabilitation of violent extremist offenders and counter narrative of violent extremism.