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08. Oktober 2014

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF SOUTH AFRICA ON THE OCCASION OF THE SEVENTH SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL ORGANISED CRIME, 08 OCTOBER 2014, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

OTHER SERIOUS CRIMES, AS DEFINED IN THE CONVENTION, INCLUDING NEW FORMS AND DIMENSIONS OF TRANSNATIONAL ORGANISED CRIME

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Mr President,

New and emerging forms of crimes pose a challenge to the international community. The global nature of these activities requires concerted multilateral response by the international community.

Mr President,

The time is ripe for the CoP to give urgent attention to the growing threats posed by the illicit financial flows. This scourge is particularly manifest on the African continent due to the scale and negative impact of such flows on the Continent’s development and governance agenda. The grim picture of the extent and depth of illicit financial flows on the African continent is extensively covered in the UNECA Report compiled by the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, chaired by former President Thabo Mbeki. According to this report, it is estimated that illicit financial flows cost the African continent as much as US $50 billion per year. This may well be a conservative estimate. We hope that we will have an opportunity to invite the chairperson of this High-Level Panel to present this report to the Conference of the Parties in its future meetings.

Mr President,

In the previous session, South Africa together with Russia and other States underscored the urgent need for the United Nations to prioritize the issue of illicit trafficking in precious metals. In South Africa, this crime continues to undermine sustainable development and economic growth. We strongly believe that the comprehensive study to be conducted by UNICRI, which will be financed by South Africa as mandated by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at its 22nd Session, will highlight the severity of the problem and propose strategies to combat this scourge.

Mr President,

Wildlife crimes and crimes against the environment are comprised of diverse and sometimes overlapping offences. These range from illegal hunting, the illegal processing of animal and plant material, exporting and importing plant and animal products and the supply of these products to the black market, to trafficking in species and  receiving, possessing and consuming fauna and flora.

In South Africa we witness manifestations of these crimes in various forms; the phenomenon of rhino poaching has become a huge concern globally, particularly in the conservation fraternity. To this extent, the South African Government resolved to establish a joint venture between public and privately owned nature conservation to address this crime and put specific measures in place to combat illegal hunting within our borders and beyond. Some of the measures include advocacy and public awareness campaigns against rhino poaching, as well as an initiative on DNA programme profiling, creating a data bank on rhinos.

The DNA programme initiative assists in linking confiscated rhino horns and rhino carcasses to charging suspects not only for possession of rhino horns, but also for the actual poaching of the rhino. This programme is the initiative of the Endangered Species Section of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) of the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Mr President,

Information and communication technologies have become indispensable to the functioning of modern society. The increased interconnectivity of computer networks and the expansion of broadband are contributing significantly to the growth of global economy, digital integration, education, global internet governance and the participation of non-state actors in global affairs.

In the above context, and also owing to the phenomenon of globalisation, modern societies have become inextricably interlinked and interdependent. The benefits are huge in this regard and so are the challenges which manifest in crimes committed in cyberspace.

As government we are aware of the void created by the lack of an international instrument on cybercrime, it is in this context that South Africa advocates for an international, legally binding instrument on cybercrime at the level of the United Nations. It is no longer prudent to think bilateral agreements and technical cooperation alone will eradicate crimes committed online and the lacklustre approach in which Member States are approaching this challenge is a further impediment to finding a global solution.

Cybercrime in South Africa is monitored through the Regulation of Information and Communication Act (RICA). When this crime is committed, offenders can be prosecuted using the Prevention of Organized Crime Act, the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, and the Criminal Procedure Act.

A policy framework on cybersecurity has been finalized and has been approved by Cabinet, we are currently developing a policy on cybercrime. We believe this will strengthen the criminal justice system and enable the country to fight cybercrime.

I thank you

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