Informal Meeting

22 Mar 2023, 15:00 - 16:30 (GMT+1)

Present: Anna Alvazzi del Frate (Chair), Ingeborg Geyer (Treasurer), Femi Oyebode (Rural And Urban Aid Nigeria), Syed Zulfiqar Hussain (Drug Advisory Training Hub, DATH), Tariq Khosa (CGR), Michael O'Connell, Linda MacDonald, Jeanne Sarson, Jay Albanese, Ramil Iskandarli, Cassien, DR. Goodluck OBI, Anali Samuel George, Darren Brookbanks (GI-TOC), NJ, Tobias Krachler (Secretary)

UNODC: Billy Batware, Sarah Pirker, Anders Frantzen, Mirella Dummar Frahi, Anika Holterhof



The next Constructive Dialogues, will take place on the 4th and 5th of May (Constructive Dialogue following the Working Group on Firearms) and on the 30th and 31st of May (Constructive Dialogue on Technical Assistance). The Constructive Dialogue on Firearms will be held for a full day (05/05), with morning and afternoon sessions, while a full day of stakeholders preparatory meeting will take place on the fourth of may. The UNODC Civil Society Unit has been consulting with the Alliance about agenda items and how to properly brief Non-governmental stakeholders on the work of the Working Group on Firearms, that will take place the same week. There is also the possibility to hold a thematic side event.

The purpose of the preparatory day will be to reflect on previous Constructive Dialogues, and on a complete outcome that stakeholders can present at the Dialogue on the following day. Opportunities will be provided, beyond the showcasing of all documentation on the UNODC website, in order to have more space to network. Last year’s experience highlighted the need to have a more constructive dialogue that doesn’t only consist of presentation of activities and a “one-way” process with Civil Society talking: the idea is to have a panel discussion that delves into specific topics, directly linked to the activities and issues brought up by the Working Group, with a truly constructive view. Since Civil Society can’t access the UNTOC working groups but only read reports, this two-day structure will allow all stakeholders to have a clear idea of what needs to be discussed, through UNODC. The result should be a more active engagement, following the model of the CCPCJ thematic discussion which was largely appreciated by both States and Civil Society.  


An e-mail has been sent out with instructions to send the names of participants of the various delegation, by the 1st of May. Only one person, with one alternate speaker, can join the discussion due to room capacity issues, although Mirella Dummar Frahi reports that there could be some opportunity to accomodate more people. Delegations could also consist of more people, but should consider the room capacity issue and that UNODC will prioritize financing the panelists only (one person + alternate) and funding is limited.

The Constructive Dialogue will develop as follows: two experts will provide an input presentation on a specific topic, then there will be a series of input contributions from three different stakeholders selected as speakers or respondants to the topic. Afterwards, the room will be open to collect inputs from remaining participants, focused on the same topic, hoping to collect concrete outputs that can be submitted as recommendations, especially for what concerns the Technical Assistance to State Working Group.


The Access to Justice section now belongs to the Division of Treaty Affairs. They work on implementing international principles and guidelines.

Access to Justice will be the main theme of the 32nd session of the Crime Commission, that will be held from the 22nd to the 26th of May: it is a broad topic, which includes a variety on themes such as the efficiency of the criminal justice system, multisectoral cooperation, technology and the various opportunities and problems it brings to the criminal justice sector. Integrity is the prerequisite to any discussion on Criminal Justice, bringing forward other many important topics such as the fight against corruption.

Discussing access to justice will naturally bring up the topics of inclusivity, equal application of the law to all, core access to justice without discrimination in all its subcategories (age, gender, disabilities, minorities, lack of financial means). The broadness of issues that can become part of the discussion highlights the need for multilateral cooperation, including social and health services, victim-centered assistance, protection of specific categories such as victims of terrorism, refugees and trafficked persons.

The “final” theme will be enhancing the preventive role of the Criminal Justice system, having a safe and secure society as the guiding objective of reforms and interventions, discussing community oriented policing, rehabilitation and reintegration of criminals.

Member States will be expected to speak about these themes, and in the range of a few weeks a guide (Discussion guide and notes from the Secretariat) will be finalized and published, with more data to build the interventions on and some guiding questions. Just as in the other years, there will be some High level events and many side events that go into detail, involving both high level and working level experts.

During the next informal meeting of the Allience (19th of April) the Secretary of the commission will give a briefing on the functioning of the Commission. Anna Alvazzi del Frate notes that the Alliance would  like to organise another meeting, maybe a week before, subject to availability of the justice section in order to have a conversation with Anika and her team once the guide has been released and a more centered discussion can be made.  

Comments and questions for Anika Holterhof:

  • Micheal O’ Connell makes a remark on linked to the basic principles of justice for victims: talking about access to the mechanism of justice doesn’t really embody the idea of access to justice. In order to keep pushing to strenghten victim’s rights, the mechanisms themselves have to be fair and equitable. Anika appreciates the remark and notes that her team strives to use the latter term which really expresses what victim oriented services should obtain, through different mechanisms like restorative justice processes.
  • Femi Oyebode brings up the issues of criminals being held in dehumanising conditions in Nigeria. There is a principle of presumed innocence until proven guilty, but these persons are awaiting trial for long periods of time. What are the international protocols or laws that could be invoked in this instance? Anika notes that there are various UN principles and guidelines referring to procedural rights, fair trial, prevention of torture, for example the Nelson Mandela rules and the Bangkok rules for women and girls. However, countries take different approaches to transfer these rulings into national legal systems and into reality. The suggestion is to look at what the last provisions that member states have agreed on, in this case Nigeria.


During the last Commission on Narcotic Drugs, more than five hundred Civil Society representatives participated, more than 150 side events were organised, several of which were supported by the VNGOC on drugs, who was also able to organise a reception in the occasion of their 40th anniversary, with the cooperation of Civil Society unit of UNODC and the City of Vienna. VNGOC also held their annual general assembly, with the election of the new Chair Matej Košir, replacing Jamie Bridge. During the assembly, modalities for review of next year mid-term review were discussed along with modalities for VNGOC in selecting Civil Society representatives to speak next year. VNGOC will be included in the resolution process.


The registration for the fifth session, which will be held from the 11th to the 20th of April, opened about a week ago and will be up until the first week of April. The drafting is advancing, with more restricted discussions among states on particular parts of the text, and different subgroups holding briefings with Civil Society representatives.

During the next week there will be a discussion on provisions on the mechanisms of implementation of the Convention. The implementation mechanism should and will include Civil Society and urge member States to work closely with Non-governmental stakeholders;  once these reccomendations come into a text they will be very important for the actual draft of the Convention. The idea is to build best practices for a truly constructive approach; in this regard, there will be a debate on the possible openness of the Convention, considering that, for examples, States already rely heavily on the Private Sector for what concerns the liability of cyber crimes. The CSU has requested to speak on the 19th of April and will report to the Informal Meeting before the afternoon plenary starts. Anders invites participants to look at the presentation made by Samuel Walker during the last AHC, available online.  


The event on gender gaps in cybersecurity was very interesting. One of the speakers, who is in Law enforcement in the U.S, talked about disturbing cybersecurity trends in the U.S. When looking at statistics of private companies dealing with cybersecurity, we can see that everything has gone up and criminals are getting more creative and dangerous, being now able to clone anybody’s voice. The event was parallel to the Commission on the Status of Women, and was very well attended with good feedback; the recording in available on the Alliance Youtube.


Jay Albanese and Phil Reider are invited to speak about the latest event from the Academy of Criminal Justice Science. The event was very well attended, with positive expectations directed at the next CCPCJ. Phil Reide was honoured with the Gerhard O.W. Mueller award, in continuation of the legacy of this great advancer of criminology. He was the first person to bring the criminology in the context of the United Nations, elaborating academic concepts into global policies. A very inspiring interview featuring Mueller is included in the Oral history of criminology project, containing videos with distinguished criminologists from around the world. The project is now available on the Alliance website.


In the following weeks, members of the Alliance will receive many e-mails from the nominations committee and are encouraged to keep in touch regarding the nominations process. Another reminder of the call for nominations will be sent.



The report that has been constructed on behalf of Civil Society, and shared by Tariq with the Alliance secretary, describes the efforts made by Civil Society in interacting with Pakistani governmental stakeholders to facilitate the UNTOC review. It is now available on the Alliance website.



Ingeborg Geyer: Rashida Manjoo, the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, will be part of the drafting team for the Femicide Declaration. There will be an informative side event with UNODC, and and exhibition during the CCPCJ showing documentation gathered so far.

Cassien brings up the question of conflict of frameworks when dealing with crimes that involve organised criminal groups, but also situation of conflicts and violation of human rights. The question appears to be confused and might be too broad to be answered in this context. Anika comments on the difficulty of moving perpetrators between different jurisdictions, and Anna invites participants to further elaborate this type of “broad” questions to discuss them at the next meeting with the Access to Justice section.

Femi Oyebode would like some feedback on the situation of Rural and Urban Aid Nigeria following the situation, already reported, of total breakdown of the Nigerian banking system. The Alliance will find a solution.

Jeanne Sarson shared the UNODC report called: Darknet Cybercrime: Threats to Southeast Asia.



Announcements on new website content.

The next informal meeting is planned for the 19th of April. Registration is already open.