Regional Workshop on International Cooperation in Criminal Matters

Photo: UNAMA/Eric Kanalstein: UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov (left) meets with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul

Vienna 18 May 2012 - A regional workshop on International Cooperation in Criminal Matters was organized between 16 and 18 May in Vienna, Austria under the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries. The workshop brought together senior experts from Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan with the aim to exchange information and discuss harmonization of legislative frameworks under the various United Nations Drugs and Crime Conventions to enable and facilitate international/regional cooperation in criminal matters.

UNODC experts delivered thematic presentations on extradition, mutual legal assistance, other forms of international cooperation - including law enforcement cooperation, transfer of proceedings and transfer of prisoners, anti money laundering, counter financing of terrorism and asset recovery. Engaging discussions followed all presentations and the member states brought successful and unsuccessful cases on the above technical areas with the aim of sharing best practices and mutual learning.

The workshop enabled the delegations to bring areas of concern to the attention of UNODC and neighbouring countries. In several instances, it was agreed to work together in order to continue the cooperation on concrete cases.  In the field of anti-money laundering it was decided to establish a Regional Network of Anti-Money Laundering Experts tasked to facilitate operational cooperation amongst Financial Intelligence Units and share relevant information on respective legislation.

The workshop concluded with a set of recommendations, including calling on UNODC to provide legal/technical assistance to the countries in the region to make the best use of the UN Drugs and Crime Conventions, as appropriate, for international cooperation in criminal matters especially related to extradition and mutual legal assistance.

A number of side events were organized along-side the workshop, including a meeting amongst the Financial Intelligence Units (FIU) of the 8 countries denominated Regional "FIU to FIU meeting" and trilateral and bilateral meetings between judicial and anti-money laundering officials. A significant outcome of the FIU to FIU meeting held on the 17 May was the signing of the first Memorandum of Understanding on AML/CFT between Iran and Tajikistan's anti money laundering authorities.

The overall vision of the UNODC Regional Programme is that by the year 2014, the countries of the region and their institutions are substantially strengthened and working together cooperatively to counter the destabilizing impact of drugs and crime. The Regional Programme is currently assisting the governments of the region to engage in regional interventions, not only through policy advice and coordination support, but also through dedicated resources to support cross-border operations and promote regional cooperation.