Laos, international organisations discuss ways to combat crime
VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Prosecutors, judiciary and law enforcement officials from central and provincial sectors and international organisations met recently in Xieng Khuang province to discuss ways to strengthen capacities to combat transnational organised crime, with a focus on narcotics, human trafficking and money laundering.
The second follow-up conference on the topic took place in Phonsavan, Xieng Khuang province.
The meeting was attended by Laos’ Deputy Prosecutor General, Mr Bounyang Chandalasane. The conference brought together public authorities from the provinces of Xieng Khuang, Vientiane, Borikhamxay, and Xaysomboun, and the capital.
The more than 120 officials in attendance comprised those working in legal sectors in Vientiane and the provinces, as well as international experts from ILSTA, Canada and the University of Luxembourg.
A key part of the conference was dedicated to anti-money laundering policies, and also focused on practical exercises which included case studies and demonstrations of best international practices on financial investigations.
This particular focus was prioritised in the lead-up to the APG evaluation set for 2020, which may have impacts on Laos’ socio-economic development as well as on its attractiveness for international investment. The importance of adopting a Law on Mutual Legal Assistance was also discussed in light of the upcoming mutual evaluation.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, Mr Bounyang stressed the importance of international support and expertise in the fight against transnational organised crime, which poses significant challenges to all countries in the region. The conference also served as a dissemination platform for the Lao Penal Code (2017) and the amended Criminal Procedure Law.
Discussions focused on the new elements to the penal code, which spells out 335 offences. This important legislation was disseminated to all participants, as well as to other provincial authorities.
The President of ILSTA, Mr Richard Philippart, said “Organised crime is a real and increasing threat to nation states. It is a commercial enterprise, impacting seriously on the public and can put at risk economies and the national interests of a country, as well as their reputation on the international stage.”
The meeting is an important platform for international and local agencies to exchange, build capacity, serve as a policy tool, and for national agency coordination.
The conference was supported by Luxembourg Development Cooperation and the Government of Canada.