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Opinion for The Twelfth United Nations Congress On Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

March 19, 2010
Japan Federation of Bar Associations

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The deliberations and resolutions of the United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice are having a significant impact on the criminal justice system in each of the participant countries, including Japan. Our views in relation to how the Congress can contribute to the creation of improved criminal justice systems follow.


1, Importance of United Nations Standards and Norms

  • Observance of United Nations standards and norms should be promoted in each country. At the Congress and the Commission, efforts need to be made toward establishing new standards and norms.
  • We look forward to development of positive measures in this Congress toward adopting the principles of the draft United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders.

2, Human Rights and International Organized Crime/Counter-Terrorism

  • The inclusion of various elements of civil society, international NGOs etc. needs to be considered in the process of establishing international criminal justice systems.
  • Counter-terrorism measures must observe international human rights standards.
  • Lawyers should publicly oppose any proposed counter-terrorism measures that are in conflict with international human rights standards.
  • The UN should include in the final declaration of this Congress a strong warning against allowing any counter-terrorist measures to infringe international human rights standards.
  • Special investigative technologies should be adopted with caution, only after careful consideration of the privacy rights guaranteed by Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

3, Penal System Reform

  • All countries should promote observance of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) and give importance to the activities of inspection organizations in order to enable participation by civil society in prison reform and independent inspections of places of detention.
  • Problems of overcrowding in correctional institutions require that all countries pursue policies for non-custodial solutions, paying consideration to pre-indictment bail and social rehabilitation of prisoners.

4, Approaches to Human Trafficking

  • Preventing human trafficking itself should be the primary strategy of each country, and measures necessary to achieve this should be implemented.
  • Effective implementation of anti-human trafficking measures requires that each country establish an organization with centralized responsibility for planning, establishing, implementing and verifying the required measures.
  • Victims of human trafficking must be able to effectively exercise their legal rights. Accordingly each country should establish legal systems that give legal aid including payment of lawyers' fees and court costs etc. by the state.


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