UNODC at the 17th Annual Conference of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok (Thailand), 29 October 2012
- The 17th Annual Conference of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) is underway in Bangkok, Thailand.

More than 400 prosecutors from around 70 countries are gathered to exchange views and experiences, particularly focusing on fighting transnational organized crime. This year's IAP conference is co-hosted with the Attorney-General's Office of Thailand.

This year's theme is 'Transnational organized crime, its expansion into diverse areas of criminality and the role of the prosecutor.' The IAP aims to improve cooperation between prosecutors to more readily combat TOC.

"The expansion of TOC has become a serious threat to world peace, order and sustainable development. The problems TOC cannot be eliminated overnight and the international cooperation cannot be established solely by legal instruments. Whether the international cooperation to combat the transnational crimes will be achieved or not depends on all the personnel involved in the justice system of each country, particularly prosecutors, as one of the key agencies in the justice system." said Mr. Chulasingh Vasantasingh, Attorney General of Thailand, at the opening ceremony.

Mr. James Hamilton, President of the IAP said, "Many of the most serious crimes we have to deal with-including terrorism, arms smuggling, people trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children, corruption, money-laundering and piracy-have an international dimension. Knowledge of the law on extradition and mutual assistance has become an indispensable part of the tool-kit of the modern prosecutor. In order to fight against organized crime, prosecutors should focus their role not only on conviction of criminals but also on confiscation of proceeds of crime, bearing in mind the importance of following and seizing the money from the commencement of investigation," at the opening ceremony.

Mr. Gary Lewis, the Regional Representative of UNODC East Asia and the Pacific, delivered a plenary speech entitled "Responding to the human security threat from Transnational Organized Crime in East Asia and the Pacific." His observations pointed to recent trends in the growth of transnational organized crime, particularly in East Asia and the Pacific and what the international community can do to respond.

"Today, most TOC flows begin on one continent and end on another. Often the activities are cycled through a third continent. For this reason, only interventions which measure up to the scale of the problem - in other words, at a global level - are likely to work," said Mr. Lewis. "We must therefore integrate national responses into international strategies by promoting partnerships across borders and international networks which champion transnational organized justice."

On the 2nd day of this conference, Senior Prosecutorial and Judicial Adviser of the UNODC Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Keebong Paek will make a presentation entitled "Global threats and regional/interregional response" at workshop session, the sub-theme of which is 'Enhancement of international cooperative tools such as MLAs to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of members of international organized crime syndicates.' Through this presentation, Mr. Paek will place emphasis on the value of formal as well as informal cooperation among prosecutors worldwide with the ultimate goal of punishment of criminals along with confiscation of illicit proceeds of crime.

Recent efforts of the UNODC Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific to support the establishment of MLA network and Asset-Recovery Inter-agency Network (ARIN) in the region will also be introduced to attract support and participation among the participants of the conference.

Established in 1995, IAP is a non-governmental organization of more than 200,000 prosecutors from over 140 countries/jurisdictions. The main impetus leading to its formation was the rapid growth in serious transnational crime, especially drug trafficking, money laundering and fraud. The need was perceived for greater international co-operation between prosecutors and for greater speed and efficiency in mutual assistance, asset tracking and other international co-operative measures.

The next IAP annual conference is scheduled for 2013 in Moscow, Russia.