July 31, 2015

Delegates from Central Asian Republics Conduct a Study Tour to Thailand

September 2015

From July 19 to 26, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) organized a Bangkok, Thailand, study tour for 15 legal professionals from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The tour allowed the delegates—representatives of various government agencies—to learn about Thailand’s experience in combating drug trafficking.

Participants speak with ABA ROLI field staff at a meeting with the Royal Thai Police.

Accompanied by three ABA ROLI staff members, study tour participants met with representatives from the Anti-Money Laundering Bureau, the Lawyers Council of Thailand, the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Narcotics Control Board, the Attorney General’s Office, the Criminal Court and the Royal Thai Police. They also visited the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The study tour is part of ABA ROLI’s regional program on court monitoring of drug-related crimes. Supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the program incorporates various efforts, including the development of legal framework, the assessment of practical skills and the development of protocols for court monitoring of narcotics cases in the Central Asian region. During the meetings, representatives from the Thai agencies discussed their agencies’ organizational structure, functions, achievements and plans. Emphasizing that Thailand is part of the Golden Triangle region—an area heavily affected by drug trafficking that includes Burma, Laos and Thailand—the representatives highlighted Thailand’s focus on combating drug trafficking and their agencies’ cooperation with counterparts in neighboring countries.

Study tour participants said that they drew lessons on how their countries can fight drug trafficking. “It is necessary to take preventive measures to impede spreading of synthetic drugs to the territory of the Central Asian republics,” said a participant from Kazakhstan. “The experience of Thailand shows that 10 years ago this problem did not exist. ... In this regard, law enforcement personnel and forensic experts should be trained in drug identification techniques and methods of investigation of narcotics crimes.”

The visiting delegates said that incorporating some of the procedures that Thailand uses, such as mitigating sentences for those who cooperate during investigation, into efforts to combat drug trafficking in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan, would prove helpful. The adviser to Tajikistan’s general prosecutor said, “The simplified investigation procedures for drug-related cases used in Thailand could be effectively applied in the Republic of Tajikistan.”

To learn more about our work in Central Asia, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org.