U.S. on New and Serious Crime at the 10th UNTOC Conference of the Parties

USUNVIE Ambassador Jackie Wolcott delivers remarks at the 10th UNTOC Conference of the Parties, Vienna, Austria, October 14, 2020. (Screengrab)

U.S. at the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime Conference of the Parties Agenda Item (3): New & Serious Crime

As delivered by Ambassador Jackie Wolcott
October 14, 2020

Thank you Chair, members of the Secretariat, esteemed delegates.

As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the United States would like to take special note of an important feature of the Convention – its flexibility to adapt to new and emerging forms of crime.

The drafters of the UNTOC demonstrated wise foresight for including the “serious crime” provision of Article 2, so that it could facilitate cooperation between States Parties on both existing and emerging crimes.

The adaptable nature of this Convention means that new treaties are unnecessary to address new and emerging forms of crime, as long as States Parties have the political will to apply the UNTOC in practice.

The United States would like to offer just a few words regarding one emerging topic that faces all of our countries – the impact of the COVID-19 virus on criminal justice-related issues.

First, the virus has significantly hindered the ability of law enforcement and criminal justice institutions around the world to provide security and access to justice. This has been true with all components of the criminal justice system, from police to courts to correctional institutions.

First responders have been hit particularly hard in the service of their mission. To help alleviate this threat, the United States has contributed over $20 million in personal protective equipment including surgical masks, gloves, and sanitizer to law enforcement and criminal justice partners in over 35 countries.

The United States has also changed the way we support training and the delivery of other forms of technical assistance with our partners. To enable better social distancing and reduce risk, we have shifted many of our training to online platforms.

Our virtual participation in this Conference of Parties is testament to how important these innovative technologies have been to maintaining progress. The United States would like to recognize the outstanding work of our Secretariat in overcoming the enormous technical challenges to convening this event.

The United States will continue to support our international law enforcement and criminal justice partners in carrying out their work over the course of this terrible pandemic, and offer condolences to those who have lost colleagues and loved ones in the course of performing their duties.

Thank you.