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Project Code and Sector
Project Background and Justification
Immediate Objective, Outputs and Main Activities
Counterpart, Institutional Setting and Implementing Arrangements
Financial Information

AD/RAS/97/C74 - Strengthening of Judicial and Prosecutorial Drug Control Capacity in East Asia

1. Project Code and Sector

No. and Title: AD/RAS/97/C74 - Strengthening of Judicial and Prosecutorial Drug Control Capacity in East Asia
Status/Starting Date: 1 January 1999
Project Function: Subregional: Law Enforcement
Duration: 3 years
Executing Agency: UNODC
Aggregate Budget & Funding Source: US$1,553,000 Sweden US$ 0.2 million; USA US$ 0.4 million


2. Project Background and Justification

Changing economic and social conditions in the subregion have led to a growing demand for illicit drugs and psychotropic substances. Trans-border trafficking is controlled by organizations whose members are located in any number of countries. Drug control legislation that meets domestic and subregional needs as well as international standards is a key requirement of international and national drug control programmes.

It is equally important to upgrade the standards of law implementation. Many persons in the subregion who have responsibilities for carrying out the judicial process have limited experience of, or training for, the application of the recently amended drug control laws. The prosecution of international traffickers gives rise to complex legal issues that require specific training to understand and address. The international aspect of drug trafficking and the corresponding need for cooperation is for many countries a new experience.

In the subregion, drug investigations are becoming more complex and enforcement officers are using new techniques to identify and prosecute trafficking organizations. The drug control laws in the MOU countries have recently been amended or enacted. These changes are placing pressure upon the prosecution and judiciary to fully understand the problem of drug trafficking and the application of national legislation that has been designed to control the problem. It is important that judges and prosecutors have a common understanding of the evidentiary standards to be applied in drug prosecutions. Many judges and prosecutors have not received training in this area of the law and consequently there are often discrepancies with respect to the manner in which drug trafficking and related offences are prosecuted and adjudicated. Judges and prosecutors need to receive training in the law in order to professionally administer the drug legislation and meet the objectives of the national drug control plans.

A key ingredient of effective law enforcement in drug control is the ability of countries to cooperate and support each other's initiatives. The exchange of information between the countries of the subregion is currently limited; however, its level and importance can be expected to grow as drug enforcement agencies recognize the value of cooperation. Not all countries in the subregion have developed the necessary legal mechanisms to permit cooperation in drug control matters to take place. To overcome slow or negative responses there is a need for channels of communication and clearly defined legal procedures to enable cooperation to take place. Officers of the court need to be familiar with the procedures and standards to be applied. In most of the subregional countries training in this specialized area of law is insufficient.

Limited judicial and legal training in support of drug control has been provided to some of the six MOU countries. However, this has mainly been carried out on a bilateral basis that overlooks the importance of subregional cooperation. Training for judicial and other court officers in the specialized field of drug control is not available through other internationally sponsored projects.

The Subregional Action Plan for Drug Control, approved in May 1995 by the Governments of Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam and by UNODC, encompasses eleven projects. Six of the eleven projects, including this one, comprise a programmatic initiative to develop the mechanisms and procedures required for the six countries to cooperate effectively in international drug investigations and prosecutions.

This project aims at strengthening the judicial and prosecutorial capacity of Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam to administer national drug control legislation and support subregional cooperation by providing a programme of in-country legal training for drug control by national institutions to meet the specific needs of each of the countries and establishing a mechanism for developing and implementing Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements and other initiatives to facilitate subregional cooperation.


3. Immediate Objective, Outputs and Main Activities

A. Immediate Objective:
To improve the capacity of judges and prosecutors regarding the application of national drug control legislation. To facilitate cooperation in matters of international requests for assistance regarding drug or related investigations and prosecutions. To provide and ongoing mechanism for future collaboration in drug control.

B. Main Project Activities:
a) Two training workshops for judges and prosecutors, held in each country, to provide instruction on the rules of evidence, provisions of national drug control and related legislation and procedures for deciding upon mutual legal assistance requests. Depending upon the needs of each country other relevant topics such as asset seizure, controlled deliveries, money laundering, undercover operations, extradition may be part of the curriculum.
b) Two seminars held in each country to discuss legal issues resulting from the application of national drug legislation and responding to requests for international cooperation. To include drafting of legal procedural guidelines for addressing requests for mutual legal assistance.
c) Drug control and related legislation of the six countries translated into English and distributed to each of the MOU countries.
d) Support for jurists, prosecutors and legal academics to attend relevant international seminars where issues of subregional Mutual Legal Assistance and other forms of international cooperation will be discussed.
e) Assistance to provide publications and specialist literature to establish or develop a reference library for the training institution in each country.

a) Assessment of national capacity and identification of needs in each MOU country.
b) Selection of national institutions to develop and offer a drug control law training programme.
c) Development of a drug control legal training programme to meet each country's individual needs.
d) Provision of long and short term training and study attachments within the region or elsewhere to develop human resources relevant to individual country needs.
e) Development of a specialized course of study for judges and prosecutors covering mutual legal assistance issues related to drug prosecutions

a) Establishment of a Mutual Legal Assistance Advisory Committee comprising senior legal and law enforcement representatives from the MOU countries to identify the issues to be addressed to assist MOU countries with providing mutual legal assistance to one another.
b) Annual meetings of the Mutual Legal Assistance Advisory Committee to review the current standing of mutual legal assistance among the MOU countries and to make recommendations for improvements.
The provision of expert legal advice to those countries that undertake activities to increase their Mutual Legal Assistance capacity.
c) Two subregional workshops to raise awareness and discuss procedural issues relating to the provision of mutual legal assistance in drug control matters between the MOU countries.

C. Project Outputs:
Judges, prosecutors and senior law enforcement officers in each MOU country better informed on national drug control legislation and the legal and procedural prerequisites for more effective international cooperation on drug law control.

Judicial and prosecutorial training systems strengthened to develop an understanding of the legal issues associated with drug control and subregional cooperation.

Legislation enacted and treaties or agreements concluded by each MOU country to facilitate inter-country cooperation to further drug related investigations and prosecutions.


4. Counterpart, Institutional Setting and Implementing Arrangements

The project will be executed by UNODC (Regional Centre, Bangkok). UNODC Legal Advisory Group will be closely involved in the development of national and subregional activities and monitoring progress. UNDP Bangkok will handle contractual requirements and financial disbursements.

Project coordinator qualified to provide development assistance in the field of law and related matters responsible for coordinating the project activities will be engaged. The Regional Centre's Law Enforcement Programme Manager will provide direction and guidance to the Project Coordinator. National law institutions, either State Judicial Councils and Procurates or Universities will be identified to implement in-country project activities. Inputs from the MOU signatory Governments and the Legal Advisory Group (LAG) will be sought with respect to the selection of the coordinating and national institutions to ensure that they have the necessary capacity and commitment to meet project requirements. The Regional Centre's Law Enforcement Programme Manager will provide direction and guidance for the project coordination.


5. Financial Information

Project Budget in US$ (app)
Personnel 775,000
Sub-contract 60,000
Training 490,000
Equipment 9,000
Miscellaneous 40,000
Project Support Cost 179,000
Total $1,553,000