December 08, 2015

Regional Meeting Addresses Strategies for Preventing Drug Trafficking in Central Asia

From December 7–8, 2015, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) brought together members of the Central Asia regional court monitoring working group to discuss the results of yearlong court monitoring of drug-related crimes. Held in Dushanbe, the meeting was attended by 21 working group members from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, who also sit on their respective country’s national court monitoring working group.

During the workshop, participants put forth both country-specific and regional recommendations to enhance the fight against drug-related crimes in the region. 

The regional court monitoring working group, which was established in late 2014 with ABA ROLI support, is composed of high-level decision-makers and practitioners in the sphere of combating, investigating and prosecuting drug-related crimes in Central Asia. The members include judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and law enforcement personnel.

The group reviewed the results of the court monitoring, which began in July 2014 and reveals how drug-related crimes are investigated and prosecuted in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. During the December meeting, working group members discussed their findings, including the prevalence of cases that prosecute drug users as opposed to drug traffickers and the gaps in current legislation that have been exploited by the rise of synthetic drug trafficking in the region. They also developed country-specific and regional recommendations for more effective investigation and prosecution of drug-related crimes.

Representatives from each of the three national working groups gave an overview of narcotics-related national legislation of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, respectively. Participants also put forth both country-specific and regional recommendations to enhance the fight against drug-related crimes in the region. In their recommendations, they addressed various aspects of the legal system, including the roles of investigators, prosecutors and defense attorneys in the litigation of drug-related crimes. The regional recommendations focused on creating professional development opportunities, such as trainings, guidelines and the exchange of experiences among the region’s actors. Participants emphasized the need for deeper regional cooperation in combating transnational organized crimes and for strengthening narcotics-related legislation.

The regional working group meeting was organized as part of ABA ROLI’s Court Monitoring of Drug Related Criminal Cases in Central Asia program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

To learn more about our work in Central Asia, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at