Elaboration of a Comprehensive Convention Against Organized Transnational Crime: U.N.-sponsored Meeting of an Intergovernmental Group of Experts (Warsaw, February 2-6, 1998)

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Wednesday, April 1, 1998
Michael Plachta
From February 2-6, 1998, the Government of Poland hosted in Warsaw an U.N.-sponsored meeting of an Intersessional Open-ended Intergovernmental Group of Experts on the Elaboration of a Preliminary Draft of a Possible Comprehensive Convention against Organized Transnational Crime. The language used in the description of the conference well reflects a difficult and delicate task before its participants, on the one hand, and a cautious optimism of its organizers, on the other. Although the efforts to elaborate an international instrument designed specifically to fight transnational organized crime have already had their history, the Warsaw meeting marked an important breakthrough in two respects. First and foremost, the issue of such a multilateral convention was no more asked in the “whether or not” question; clearly, this was a matter of “how” instead. It was for the first time that the representatives of fifty-five countries and five intergovernmental organizations unanimously agreed on the crucial point, that is, that they want to have a comprehensive international convention in this area. Moreover, although it was recognized that differences in approaches to the various issues to be covered by such an instrument continued to exist, the delegations focused on identifying areas of emerging consensus and on the best ways to consolidate such consensus... [more]