Our History

Founded in 1991, the Vancouver-based International Centre is a joint initiative of the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law with contributions from the Government of Canada and the province of British Columbia. Through its activities, the Centre contributes to the priorities of Canada and the United Nations in the field of criminal law and criminal justice. 

The International Centre's mission is to improve the quality of justice through reform of criminal law, policy, and practice. The Centre promotes democratic principles, the rule of law and respect for human rights in criminal law and the administration of criminal justice, domestically, regionally and globally. The primary role of the Centre is to provide advice, information, research and proposals for policy development and legislation. Since information and knowledge are primary, the Centre is actively involved in education and training. Where appropriate, the Centre also provides technical assistance to governments and other agencies.

The Centre is a component of the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme. The Programme, as it now exists was created in 1991 by General Resolution 46/152. The new political will which found an expression in that Resolution is being translated into action by:

  • creating the essential mechanisms for practical collaboration against common problems;
  • providing a framework for inter-State cooperation and coordination to respond to the serious new forms and transnational aspects and dimensions of crime;
  • establishing information exchanges concerning the implementation and effectiveness of the UN norms and standards in crime prevention and criminal justice;
  • providing means of assistance, particularly to developing countries, for more effective crime prevention and more humane justice;

The United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network of Institutes consists of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division and a number of interregional and regional institutes around the world, as well as specialized centres. It has been developed to assist the international community in strengthening international cooperation in the crucial areas of crime prevention and criminal justice. The Division serves as the substantive Secretariat of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, ECOSOC and the General Assembly and the Congresses on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders. It is responsible for the overall coordination of the Network of Institutes activities. The International Centre in Vancouver is one of two interregional institutes in the Network, UNICRI in Rome is the other. Information on the Network of Institutes can be found in Related Sites.

The International Centre is a not for profit organization. It relies upon financial support from foundations, academic institutions, governments and individual donations.

Anyone sharing the goals of the International Centre and interested in either becoming a sponsor or donating funds and/or equipment to the Centre is invited to please contact us at icclr@law.ubc.ca. As a registered not-for-profit organization in Canada the International Centre will provide a tax deductible receipt for all donations .