Castroism in UN criminal commission. The Cuban regime was elected this week, by secret ballot, as a member of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) at the United Nations Economic and Social Council, a fact that was criticized by an entity that monitors the functioning of the UN.
UN Watch, a human rights NGO based in Geneva, Switzerland, called attention to the absurdity of including countries with "criminal regimes" in the UN Economic and Social Council.
"criminal regimes" to the commission that acts as the main body guiding UN activities in the fields of crime prevention and criminal justice.
International lawyer Hillel C. Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, ironically tweeted about the choice: "Here are 5 criminal regimes:
Cuba, Libya, Qatar, Belarus, Pakistan and here are 5 new members of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: Pakistan, Belarus, Qatar, Libya and Cuba. I'm not making this up."
Here are 5 criminal regimes:— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) April 22, 2021
Here are 5 new members of the U.N. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice:
I'm not making this up.
(Source: https://t.co/K8vbguTpI3) pic.twitter.com/sU0wZAKYbF
"The United Nations should never have elected the Diaz-Canel-Castro regime to the Commission on Crime Prevention and we call on the UN to remove the regime from that entity," Neuer said in an interview with Radio Television Marti.
The Canadian lawyer described the Díaz-Canel-Castro regime as communist, one-party and criminal.
"The Diaz-Canel and Castro family regime is criminal, considers political freedom and pluralism as illegal, prohibits the independent press, represses dissidence and the most basic civil liberties," he said, adding that the regime in Havana, under the control of the Castro family, dominates the Cuban economy and Cuba's security apparatus.
UNWatch denounced that Havana "uses the pandemic to justify harassment against dissident artists such as the San Isidro Movement, whose members were protesting the arrest of artist Denis Solis. Members of the San Isidro Movement were attacked by the Minister of Culture himself when they were in front of that venue. It is a criminal regime".
The Cuban regime has been repeatedly criticized for the failures of its penal system. A report by the NGO Cuban Prisoners Defenders, published in 2020, details the arbitrary nature of the Cuban justice system, including the highest number of prisoners per capita in the world; a conviction rate of more than 90 percent; the use of the release of "non-political" prisoners as a tool for budgetary and social control; and the concept of "preventive imprisonment" as an excuse for the persecution of dissidents.
As a result of this report, the U.S. newspaper The New York Times revealed that "in more than 32,000 cases that go to trial in Cuba each year, about 92 percent of the defendants are convicted. Some 4,000 people are charged each year with 'antisocial' or 'dangerousness' offenses, terms the Cuban government uses to imprison those who pose a risk to the status quo, even if they have committed no crime."
Records, the NYT notes, show that Cuba's prison system holds more than 90,000 prisoners. The Cuban government has only publicly released that figure on one occasion, in 2012, when it stated that there were 57,000 prisoners.
Eloy Viera Cañive, who works as an independent legal analyst in Cuba, also quoted in that article, said the Communist Party and the Interior Ministry always have the final say when it comes to the judiciary in Cuba.
"We live in a police state in which the Interior Ministry has enormous influence, even over judges," Viera said.
Voices from independent civil society have also criticized Cuba's postponement of the approval of the Law on Claiming Constitutional Rights before the Courts, which would allow citizens access to the courts to claim their rights when they have been violated by state bodies, their directors, officials or employees.
The new members of the Vienna-based CCPCJ were elected for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2022 until December 31, 2024, when the commission will also be composed of Ghana, Libya, Togo; Bahrain, India, Pakistan, Qatar, Thailand; Belarus, Bulgaria, Austria, Canada, France, United States, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Paraguay and Chile.
The UN explains that the CCPCJ acts as the principal United Nations standard-setting body on crime prevention and criminal justice issues, also covering international action to combat national and transnational crime, as well as improving the efficiency and fairness of systems for the administration of criminal justice.
In 2006, the General Assembly adopted a resolution extending the mandates of the commission to enable it to function as a governing body of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).