Chiang Mai (Thailand), 16 December 2021 - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Office of the Attorney General of Thailand (OAG) launched a series of workshops to train one third of Thailand’s public prosecutors on digital evidence.
As criminals are increasingly employing digital technologies to commit crime, criminal justice practitioners have to deal more and more with digital evidence. Not only frontline law enforcement officers should possess specific skills to identify, collect, preserve and analyse digital evidence, but prosecutors also need to have sufficient knowledge to request warrants, evaluate evidence and use digital evidence in criminal proceedings.
UNODC’s Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific and the OAG Research Institute for Developing Investigation and Prosecution created a training programme on digital evidence for Thai prosecutors, which will be implemented through nine workshops in nine regions. The training objectives are to increase prosecutors’ understanding of digital evidence for prosecution and trial; to improve their knowledge of the processes to identify, collect, analyse and preserve digital evidence as well as related challenges; to enhance skills in using digital evidence in trial proceedings and; to identify key elements to be included in the upcoming digital evidence guidelines for Thai prosecutors. This initiative is part of a Korea-funded project that aims at strengthening regional cooperation and the capacity of ASEAN countries to counter corruption and transnational organized crime.
Sixty prosecutors participated in the first workshop, held in Chiang Mai from 7 to 9 December 2021. Mr. Singhachai Taninson, the Attorney General of Thailand, opened the training and highlighted the increased relevance of digital evidence in prosecution and trial proceedings as well as the important role of prosecutors in this regard. Mr. Jinsuk Park, UNODC Senior Prosecutorial and Judicial Adviser on Transnational Organized Crime, stressed that a considerable amount of criminal evidence is stored in digital form and that prosecutors’ knowledge of rapidly-evolving digital technologies should be updated regularly.
During three days, participants explored the Thai legal framework on digital evidence, how to request and use different types of digital evidence, challenges related to the identification, collection, preservation and analysis of digital evidence, international cooperation and collaboration with service providers, human rights and issues related to the admissibility and weight of digital evidence in trial proceedings. Experts from the FBI, INTERPOL, META, Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) and UNODC’s Global Initiative on Handling Electronic Evidence shared good practices and tools on digital evidence. Using case studies, group work and interactive exchanges, participants discussed how to apply them to various situations they encountered or may face in the future.
The training was also an opportunity to discuss the development of regional digital evidence guidelines by UNODC’s Cybercrime Team and of national digital evidence guidelines for Thai prosecutors by the OAG Research Institute for Developing Investigation and Prosecution.
At the end of the workshop, Mr. Julien Garsany, UNODC Deputy Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, emphasized UNODC’s commitment to continue supporting the OAG in strengthening the skills of prosecutors to more effectively combat transnational organized crime. Mr. Chestavit Tantipanwadee, the Director General of the Prosecutors’ Office of Region 5, welcomed the partnership with UNODC and asked prosecutors to apply their new knowledge and skills to ongoing and upcoming cases.
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