First meeting of the General Prosecutors/Attorney Generals of the countries in West and Central Asia

Photo: UNAMA/Eric Kanalstein: UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov (right), with Zarar Ahmad Moqbel Osmani, the Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan at the launch of the Afghanistan Country Programme in Kabul

4 December 2012 - The first meeting of the General Prosecutors/Attorney Generals of the countries in West and Central Asia was inaugurated on 3 December in Vienna, in the presence of high ranking officials from the countries in the region. On opening the high-level meeting - organized by the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries (2011-2014) in cooperation with the UNODC Global Programme on Strengthening the Legal Regime against Terrorism and in partnership with the members states of the West and Central Asia region - Mr. Sandage, Director for Treaty Affairs, stressed the importance of regional networks and mechanisms for promoting regional and international cooperation in legal matters to tackle the most critical issues: drugs, organized crime and terrorism - which pose a global challenge requiring a global response.

Mr. Sandage urged all participants to intensify their cooperation efforts in legal matters through regional initiatives developed under UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries. He also recommended that this first meeting of the General Prosecutors/Attorney Generals be used as a forum for better exchange of information and expertise related to international and regional cooperation in legal matters, with a specific focus on extradition, mutual legal assistance, money laundering and financing of terrorism, as well as institutional development and capacity building.

The main objectives of the above meeting were to build the capacity of national criminal justice systems with a view to improving the legal cooperation in the region, providing participants with the opportunity to discuss common problems and lessons encountered in the field of cooperation in criminal matters, with a view to identifying the best ways to improve it. The meeting proposed to expedite the ratification process - where applicable - of UN drugs and crime conventions, integrating the provisions of these conventions into their national legislations. The experts also recommended to proceed with the harmonization of the regional countries' national legislations in line with international norms. They suggested arranging a desk review of the current national/regional capacity for the prosecution of high profile crime cases related to complex organized crime and drug offences.

 

The outcome of this meeting will be reflected in the 2013 priority plan of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Its Neighbouring Countries. The Regional Programme provides the framework for countries in the region to raise awareness of their efforts and to share their experience on judicial cooperation as well as border management, criminal intelligence and national drug control. In particular, the sub-programme 2 of the Regional Programme establishes or strengthens operational legislative and regulatory frameworks for international cooperation in legal matters related to mutual legal assistance, extradition, confiscation of assets and the transfer of foreign prisoners. This is being achieved through support to harmonization of national legislation in line with UN drugs, crime and terrorism legal instruments, advisory services/assistance to judicial institutions of the countries in the region, regional agreements to facilitate exchange of information across countries, and a network of contacts among judicial institutions of the countries in the region.