Provincial officials enhanced their understanding of drug control law and its application
Vientiane, 19 September 2011- 44 drug control officers, police officers, prosecutors, judges and health officers working on drug law enforcement in south Laos have acquired solid understanding of national law on drugs and crime and how to apply it to real cases. They recently participated in the "Training Workshop on the Application of the Law on Drugs" from 23 to 26 August 2011 in Pakse, Champasak province.
Lao PDR is a party to all the UN drug conventions. The country enacted the Law on Drugs, a comprehensive drug control statute which intends to implement most of the drug conventions' requirements, in 2008. However, the new law has not been fully understood by law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges and other officers in charge of drug control, and many of them still feel uncertain of how to apply the law correctly to actual cases. As Lao PDR has seen rocketing increase in drug seizures in recent years, in terms of both the number and quantity, strengthening of officials' understanding of law to enable its correct application has risen to among the most prioritized issues.
The workshop, organized by the UNODC project LAOI95 "Development of the National Drug Law Enforcement Strategy" with strong support by the Lao National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision (LCDC) and the Ministry of Justice, aimed at responding such needs. Officers from five Southern provinces - Savannakhet, Champasak, Salavan, Xekong and Attapeu - were invited to the workshop.
The workshop was facilitated by Lao national experts, who are experienced officers from LCDC, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Public Security, Office of the Supreme People's Prosecutor, People's Supreme Court and Ministry of Health. The national experts have been working since last year with UNODC to compile training materials on illegal drugs and their effects; how to investigate, prosecute and decide criminal cases involving drugs; and how to use scientific analysis in drug cases. The training materials, written in Lao language, focused on describing a standardized work process according to the existing national law and regulations.
In each session, time for discussion was allocated after national experts' lectures. The workshop participants actively participated in discussion to share their first-hand experiences and form common understanding of significant issues in applying law they encountered in their daily practice. Participants were also motivated to strengthen coordination among concerned agencies as well as among different provinces in dealing with drug cases.
The workshop received positive feedback from participants. The average rating of the workshop by participants was 4 (good) in a 5-point scale. Many participants appreciated the training upgrading their knowledge.
The LAOI95 project plans to organize another workshop with the same content for officers in Northern provinces by the end of 2011.