The ASEAN working group for senior law enforcement officials has agreed on terms of reference to be used in an ASEAN-wide extradition treaty and engaged in a general discussion of the initial draft.
It is estimated that it will take another two years for the working group to finish consultations on the treaty, which will then need to be ratified by each country in order for it to take effect.
The purpose of the treaty is to increase cooperative crime prevention efforts within ASEAN and it would assist each nation’s law enforcement agencies in combating trans-national organised crimes such as drug trafficking.
Discussion of the treaty took place in two virtual meetings chaired by Tanheang Davann, head of the Cambodian Ministry of Justice’s General Department of Judiciary Development, on April 6-7.
In a press release, the justice ministry outlined the agenda for the meeting which was mostly concerned with hammering out preliminary formalities such as identifying terms of common reference and their definitions as well as official titles, descriptions of ASEAN member states and a preface.
Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said on April 8 that the meeting was the first of many that would be held in order to prepare the ASEAN extradition treaty.
“It will take two years for the working group to conclude preparations for the treaty, but this meeting was a first step towards that goal,” he said.
Malin said the purpose of creating the extradition treaty was to establish a model form for member states to rely on, but it will not have blanket enforcement across the whole ASEAN region.
Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said on April 8 that the matter was more complicated than it might appear because the legal and judicial systems of ASEAN member countries differed in many ways.
He noted, however, that the ASEAN draft treaty could still provide a common basis for negotiating such agreements.
“We’re really speaking about facilitating extradition treaties among ASEAN members on a bilateral basis – for example an extradition treaty between Cambodia and Laos or between Cambodia and Vietnam.
“There is no common treaty planned for the whole region because that would be extremely complicated,” he said.