Explanation of Position on a Third Committee Resolution on Strengthening the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Program

Timothy Johnson
U.S. Adviser for the Third Committee
New York, New York
November 16, 2023


The United States is pleased to support and cosponsor this resolution and we thank Italy for its thoughtful facilitation. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime plays an important role in addressing law enforcement priorities we all share, from tackling transnational organized crime to fighting corruption and combatting human trafficking.

In supporting this resolution, the United States wishes to clarify our views on certain provisions.

The United States understands references pertaining to firearms within this resolution to be consistent with and subject to the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition (the Firearms Protocol). In particular: (1) any reference in the resolution to “trafficking” in firearms, their parts and components and ammunition means “illicit trafficking” as defined in the Firearms Protocol at Article 3(e); (2) references to diversion, loss, and theft go to security and preventive measures as provided in Firearms Protocol Article 11; (3) references to data collection, analysis, systems, information, and similar regarding firearms, their parts and components and ammunition are subject to domestic law; and (4) references to firearms support and cooperation are consistent with and scoped to what is authoritatively provided in Firearms Protocol Article 13.

On PP40 and OP30, we are concerned the text “criminal misuse of the Internet and other information and communications technologies” is followed by “as well as such misuse for terrorist purposes.” This formulation risks conflating criminal misuse of the Internet and other ICTs with the use of the Internet and other ICTs for terrorist purposes, which are distinct issues. The United States continues to address cyber-enabled crime separately given different non-state actors, motivations, and activities. The United States also does not wish to get ahead of ongoing negotiations in the UN Ad Hoc Committee and will address terminology in that forum.

The United States interprets OP63 to be consistent with the full text of article 14 of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime wherein article 14(2) only applies when a state has made a request of another state in the context of providing compensation to victims of a crime and article 14(1) specifies action only in accordance with relevant domestic law.

In practice, cultural property is generally returned to a requesting state that has identified such property under its domestic laws, and, as such, invokes relevant obligations of multilateral treaties to which a state may be party, such as the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property.

I thank you.