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Situation Analysis - "The Why"
Sub-programme description - "The What"
Sub-programme implementation - "The How"

Towards AsiaJust

Sub-Programme Title: Towards AsiaJust
Duration: 4 years
Estimated Starting Date: October 2009
Geographic focus: Initially ASEAN Member States, Timor-Leste and members of the Pacific Islands Forum
Regional programme outcomes: 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4
Key government partners : The judiciary, prosecutorial and law enforcement agencies in participating countries - in particular the Designated Central Authorities for MLA and extradition
Other partner Organizations: ASEAN Secretariat, PIF Secretariat, International Association of Prosecutors, INTERPOL, ASEANPOL.


1. Situation Analysis - "The Why"

By its very nature, transnational organized crime (TOC) actively weakens the sovereignty of the State itself. Not only do transnational organized crime groups use their resources to set up parallel sources of power, they also undermine the legitimacy of the legal regime. In the current phase of globalization, transnational crime organizations are also rapidly adopting and taking advantage of new technologies to pursue their criminal ventures on an international scale.

The current approach to combating TOC consists of each country attempting individually, or in small groups, to combat distinct types of crime - human trafficking, drug trafficking, corruption, etc. The interrelated nature of the crimes and, more importantly, who is committing those crimes, is underemphasized. The divided approach currently in place to counter transnational organized crime is of limited effectiveness. What is required is the establishment of a transnational organized justice scheme to coherently combat transnational organized crime.

UNODC recommends that Member States should respond to transnational organized crime by developing and implementing effective "Transnational Organized Justice". The aim is to deprive criminals of the proceeds of their crimes and hopefully deter them.

The key current issues that need to be addressed to combat TOC, as well as to protect vulnerable groups, include:

  1. Lack of universal ratification of all UN Conventions under the UNODC mandate.
  2. Lack of supporting national legislation to implement the provisions of UN Conventions, such as with respect to MLA, and the complexity of the "legal tools" contained in the UN Conventions.
  3. Judiciaries without sufficient independence and integrity, lack of effective cooperation within Member States (between the judiciary, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies), and inadequate protection of vulnerable groups; and
  4. Lack of effective cooperation between the law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and judiciaries of Member States, particularly with respect to the investigation and prosecution of TOC, sharing data/information on TOC and expeditious Mutual Legal Assistance.


2. Sub-programme description - "The What"

The geographic focus of this sub-programme will initially be the member countries of ASEAN and the Pacific Islands Forum, plus Timor Leste. Additional focus will be given to those countries where the threat of transnational organized crime is particularly acute, and where institutional capacity is relatively weak. Within the Pacific, a programme of work will be discussed with Member States which is likely to include a focus on Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Provision of UNODC support nevertheless remains contingent on confirming member country interest in, and commitment to, the outcomes and outputs profiled in this sub-programme strategy.

The objective tree of "Towards AsiaJust" has been developed as a direct response to the situation analysis, and it aims to provide a clear focus on specific outcomes and outputs that will contribute to the desired impact, namely 'Reduction in serious crimes'.

The achievement of the desired impact, and the delivery of these outcomes and outputs, is primarily the responsibility of national governments, working effectively together.

Ratification of UN Conventions

Output 1.1 - Member states aware of and responsive to the need for ratification.

Legal Frameworks

Output 2.1 - Legislation drafted and enacted

Output 2.2 - Legal procedures based on international conventions, protocols and instruments are understood and applied

Justice Systems

Output 3.1 - Professional standards and oversight mechanisms established

Output 3.2 - Coordination and cooperation mechanisms established between law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and the judiciary

Transnational organized justice

Output 4.1 - Regional network of Prosecutors established and operational

Output 4.2 - Joint Investigation Teams established and operational

Output 4.3 - Judicial Liaison Networks established and operational

Output 4.4 - Designated Central Authorities on MLA, extradition and asset recovery established and operational in line with universal treaties on drugs, crime and terrorism

Output 4.5 - Baseline data established, shared and updated on transnational organized crime


3. Sub-programme implementation - "The How"

UNODC is primarily a service organisation for member states, and therefore cannot act alone. UNODC sub-programme activities for criminal justice will therefore be based on partnership arrangements that clearly articulate mutual responsibilities and accountability for results.

The primary partners for this programme will be the judiciaries, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies of participating countries, and in particular the 'Designated Central Authorities' for MLA and Extradition. Regional members of the International Association of Prosecutors will be a key partner, as well as members of the ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM) and ASEAN member signatories to the MLA Treaty and to the ACCORD plan of action on drugs.

INTERPOL and ASEANPOL are also key partners, and must be actively engaged in the development of a transnational organized justice system.

Given UNODC's need of donor support, effective partnerships with countries such as Japan, Korea, Australia, EC member states and the US are also critical. The implementation of this sub-programme of work is dependent on their interest and financial support.