Lao People's Democratic Republic and UNODC enhance collaboration on criminal justice responses to terrorism
Vientiane, 22 October 2010 - The Government of Lao People's Democratic Republic and UNODC are forging ahead with several initiatives for strengthening the country's implementation capacity in criminal justice and counter-terrorism responses. Last month the Government's Sub-Working Group on Crime which consists of senior technical level officials, UNODC and other development partners convened a meeting during which participants examined UNODC's programme proposal on " Partnership on Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism". Prior to that, from 6th to 9 th of September, the Government and UNODC conducted a national workshop with the title: Model Laws on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and on Extradition.
Opening the meeting Mr. Viloun Silaprany, Director General of the Foreign Relations Department of Ministry of Public Security, welcomed the UNODC counter-terrorism initiative and conveyed his Government's interest. Leik Boonwaat, the UNODC Country Representative, emphasized the integrated approach in UNODC assistance, combining efforts to address drug control, serious crimes and terrorism. The Lao Government recently launched the Legal Sector Master Plan and further plans to strengthen the existing National Committee on Counter Terrorism as well as steps for two more counter-terrorism treaties. Last the Government is collaborating with the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund to obtain assistance for counter-terrorism efforts.
Introducing the programme proposal, George Puthuppally, UNODC Senior Programme Coordinator, noted that while Lao has been spared of serious terrorist incidence, it is vital to ensure preparedness and prevention. He detailed a three-pillar approach: ensuring effective legal framework; building implementation capacity of the criminal justice system entities; and facilitating criminal justice cooperation with other countries. UNODC would work with development partners to design a programme of activities tailored to the country's specific needs. Lao People's Democratic Republic would serve as a model for developing counter-terrorism capacity in a country facing relatively low terrorism threat.
At the workshop, officials from the People's Supreme Court, the National Assembly, the Ministries of Justice, Public Security and Foreign Affairs and other relevant national authorities worked together with UNODC experts. They examined laws on mutual legal assistance and extradition gaining knowledge on drafting national legislation and presidential ordinances on these issues as well as ideas on ratifying the international counter-terrorism treaties and incorporating their provisions into national legislation.
Presiding over the closing of the workshop, Lao's Vice-Minister of Justice Mr. Kysinh Sinphanngam said that "the Government will move ahead expeditiously to finalize draft national legislation based on the outcome of the workshop".
The workshop was facilitated by UNODC's terrorism and crime prevention experts from its Regional Centre in Bangkok and the Lao Country Office in Vientiane as well as a prosecutor from Thailand. Opening the workshop, Mr. Boonwaat, noted that "the workshop represents UNODC assistance delivery modality that consist of close collaboration between the Lao Government and the United Nations.