National Assembly decides to ratify UNCTOC

The House ratified the Convention with three reservations based on Articles 16.5 (a), 35.3, and 15.3 (TIP Protocol)

The National Assembly decided to officially ratify the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC) and its subsidiary protocol.

The National Assembly tabled the third reading on the UNTOC and its subsidiary protocol to prevent, suppress, and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children (TIP Protocol) on June 9.

The House deliberated on all 41 Articles of the UNTOC and 20 Articles of the TIP Protocol before the deliberation on the recommendations made by the Human Rights and Foreign Relations Committee.

The House ratified the Convention with three reservations based on Articles 16.5 (a), 35.3, and 15.3 (TIP Protocol).

The Committee recommended accepting the reservation proposed by the government on Article 16.5 (a) wherein the convention would be taken as the legal basis for cooperation on extradition with other state parties. Article 35.3 states wherein upon accession to this convention, the state parties shall be bound by the statute of the International Court of Justice if arbitration between the state parties fails and if requested by one of the state parties to the Court. And Article 15.3 of the TIP Protocol states the same mandate as Article 35.3 of the Convention. 

Article 16.5(a) states, “At the time of deposit of their instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval of or accession to this Convention, inform the Secretary-General of the United Nations whether they will take this Convention as the legal basis for cooperation on extradition with other States Parties to this Convention.”  

However, the Reservation states, “The Royal Government of Bhutan shall not be bound by section 4 of Article 16 of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.”

Article 35.3  states, “Each State Party may, at the time of signature, ratification, acceptance or approval of or accession to this Convention, declare that it does not consider itself bound by paragraph 2  of this article. The other States Parties shall not be bound by paragraph 2 of this article with respect to any State Party that has made such a reservation.”  

The Reservation states, “The Royal Government of Bhutan shall not be bound by section 2 of Article 35 of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.”

Article 15.3 of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish TIP states, “Each State Party may, at the time of signature, ratification, acceptance or approval of or accession to this Protocol, declare that it does not consider itself bound by paragraph 2 of this article. The other States Parties shall not be bound by paragraph 2 of this article with respect to any State Party that has made such a reservation.”  

The Reservation states, “The Royal Government of Bhutan shall not be bound by section 2 of Article 15 of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.”

Home Minister Ugyen Dorji said that the ratification of the Convention will help Bhutan to settle international disputes in the future.

“Like there was a trafficking incidence of Bhutanese women to Middles East a few years back. We are also helping international communities to reduce crimes,” Lyonpo added.

The adopted conventions will now be forwarded to the National Council for deliberation.

Meanwhile, the UNCTOC was adopted by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on November 15, 2000, and it is the main international instrument in the fight against transnational organized crimes.

The UNCTOC came into force on September 29, 2003, and there are 147 signatories and 190 parties to the convention. Countries must become parties to the Convention itself before they can become parties to any of the protocols.

Sangay Rabten from Thimphu