ASEAN Conference on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (ACCPCJ)

The ASEAN Conference on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (ACCPCJ) provided a regional platform to promote and enhance crime prevention and criminal justice institutions through an evidence-based policy dialogue with multiple stakeholders. The ACCPCJ was established under the auspice of the ASEAN Senior Official Meeting (ASLOM) to serve as a platform that brought together policy makers, practitioners, academia and other relevant stakeholders, both from within and outside the region, to discuss and address serious issues of common interest.

The Conference was opened by General Paiboon Koomchaya, Minister of Justice for Thailand.  High level opening remarks were provided by Lily Purba, Chair ASEAN Commission on Women & Children (ACWC),

Phoukhong Sisoulath, Chair of ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), Isra Sunthornvut, Secretary General, ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), Jeremy Douglas, Regional Representative, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Dr. Kittipong Kittayarak, Executive Director, Thailand Institute of Justice.

During the Conference high level plenary panels and discussions focused on:

  • Tackling the Emerging Threats of Wildlife and Timber Trafficking in ASEAN
  • Crime Prevention Strategies aimed at Children and Youth in Urban Areas
  • Effective Offender Rehabilitation and Prison Reform for Vulnerable Groups.

A number of Academic Forums were held as follows:

  • The United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network Institutes: Partnerships for the Sustainable ASEAN Community – Organized by: TIJ, Korean Institute of Criminology (KIC) and the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI)
  • Countering Emerging Threats and Challenges of Transnational Crimes in the Context of ASEAN Community  Organize by:  United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and TIJ
  • Scoping Study on Women’s Access to Justice: Perspectives from the ASEAN Region
    Organize by:  University of Cambridge and TIJ
  • Prisons and Social Enterprise in Thailand
    Organize by:  TIJ

General Conclusion of the Conference (from Chair’s Report)

Despite the differences in legal and administrative systems, and despite the situation specific to each ASEAN member state, the region as a whole faces a number of shared challenges. With due consideration to the need to avoid overlap with existing ASEAN mechanisms and structures, the participants noted that the ASEAN Conference provides a useful forum for discussing cross-cutting issues in crime prevention and criminal justice in the region. An exchange of experiences and promising practices can help on both the national and the regional level in responding to these challenges.

The participants welcomed the adoption of the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development and noted that work should be considered on the development of indicators to assess progress in the achievement of Goal 16, and the related SDG Goals.

General Recommendations (from Chair’s Report)

Recommendations on: Tackling the emerging threats of wildlife and timber trafficking in ASEAN

Assessment of differences in the national response

  • consideration should be given to a review of possible differences in the ASEAN region in the rules and practices in place in national laws and international agreements, with a view to promoting common standards, principles and the harmonization of penalties and other provisions across ASEAN countries, and to the identification and remedying of possible gaps. ASLOM may wish to make recommendations regarding the appropriate entity to conduct such a review of domestic policies.

Strengthening of the response of law enforcement and border control

  • greater use should be made of intelligence-led policing on the national level, the development of operational databases, the strengthening of border control, and the conducting of joint law enforcement operations
  • priority should be given to identifying, interdicting and prosecuting the main actors behind trafficking in wildlife and forestry products, ensuring that the organizers of such criminal activity are brought to justice

Sharing of good practices and experiences

  • practical measures should be designed to encourage the sharing among ASEAN Member States of national good practices and experiences on mechanisms to prevent, investigate and prosecute trafficking in wildlife and timber, and promote the relevant reforms to national legal frameworks.

Collection and sharing of information

  • Member states should collect and share official data, statistics and knowledge at both national and ASEAN levels, covering aspects such as inventories, resource depletion, and incidents of illegal trafficking in protected CITES-listed and national-listed species
  • Member states should collect and share comprehensive seizure data in order to assist the prediction of trends in the market demand for wildlife and timber products, as well as promote up-to-date operating guidelines for local practitioners and businesses
  • Member states should use such information to raise public awareness and to promote inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral cooperation in reducing the demand for illegal wildlife and forestry products

Strengthening cooperation with all relevant stakeholders

  • Member states should consider measures to strengthen cooperation with the private sector, academia, non-governmental organizations and other relevant stakeholders. The private sector should be encouraged to develop sustainable forestry management systems, structures for encouraging due diligence and the strengthening of corporate social responsibility, thus bringing greater transparency and integrity to the supply chain
  • attention should be paid to the need for the prevention and control of corruption at the different stages of the supply chain

Encouragement of research

  • Member states should seek to encourage research on trafficking in wildlife and forestry products. Such research could include analysis of regional policy frameworks and practices; the study of criminal networks; and the evaluation of best practices / lessons learned in law enforcement and prosecution.

Strengthening of international cooperation.

  • Since trafficking in wildlife and forestry products is to a large extent transnational, it requires an effective transnational response, for example in the form of more effective extradition, mutual legal assistance, and the sharing of information.

Strengthening of the ASEAN response

  • consideration should be given to how ASLOM and relevant ASEAN sectoral bodies can contribute to a coherent and effective response to wildlife and timber trafficking, thus enhancing the current work of the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime.

Recommendations on: Crime prevention strategies aimed at children and youth in urban areas

Strengthening of the use of diversion

  • Member states should ensure that diversion is used to the maximum possible extent for children and youth in conflict with the law, and that diversion is designed to be rehabilitative, providing the person with a productive place in society

Sharing of good practices and experiences

  • promising practices and good experiences in preventing youth involvement in crime and in responding to children and youth in conflict with the law should be shared among ASEAN Member States with a view to their possible adaptation to the relevant local and national circumstances

Collection and sharing of information

  • Member states should collect and share official data, statistics and knowledge at both national and ASEAN levels, covering aspects such as on school drop-out, youth employment and health, which is relevant for evidence-based crime prevention.
  • the UNODC/UNICEF indicators could be adapted to national and regional use, which would allow the ASEAN member states to learn from one’s another experience.
  • Member states should use such information to raise public awareness and to promote inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral cooperation in responding to children and youth in conflict with the law

Strengthening cooperation with all relevant stakeholders

  • Member states should consider measures to strengthen cooperation within the criminal justice system, with other relevant government sectors that address employment, education, health, housing and urban planning, poverty, social marginalization and exclusion.
  • consideration should also be given to measures to strengthen cooperation with the private sector, academia, non-governmental organizations and other relevant stakeholders in preventing youth crime and in responding to children and youths in conflict with the law. An interdisciplinary approach to crime prevention will help address the wide range of risk and protective factors at the levels of the individual, the family, school and the community, as well as wider influences on the national level, including income disparities, weak governance and rule of law. The creation of networks between experts and relevant stakeholders can promote the sharing of good practices and cooperation
  • In the building of partnerships, consideration should be taken for example of Goals 4, 11 and 16 of the SDGs, the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency together with the United Nations Guidelines on the Prevention of Crime, the Guidelines on Urban Crime Prevention, the 2014 UN Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Children in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and the UN New Urban Agenda.

Encouragement of research

  • Member states should seek to encourage research on the drivers and grievances that lead to crime, drug use and radicalisation.

Strengthening of the ASEAN response

  • the work of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children, on safeguards for vulnerable groups (such as the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on Elimination of Violence against Children) should be promoted
  • consideration should be given to the development of possible other ASEAN guidelines related to youth crime prevention and to dealing with youth offenders. Among the issues that may be addressed are the minimum age of criminal responsibility, the use of child-appropriate and safe procedures, and the encouragement of appropriate diversion measures.

Recommendations on:  Effective offender rehabilitation and prison reform for vulnerable groups

Strengthening of national correctional systems and policies

  • ASEAN member states should continue to keep their national correctional systems and policies under review, with appropriate consideration to internationally recognized standards, such as the UN Standard Minimum Rules for Non-Custodial Measures (the Tokyo Rules), the UN Rules on the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules), the revised UN Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules), as well as the UN Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Settings
  • rehabilitation programme such as academic education, vocational training and drug treatment should be designed on the basis of individual assessments and should emphasize the continuing membership of the prisoner in society.
  • particular consideration should be given to a review of challenges faced by vulnerable groups in access to justice, due to such factors as institutional barriers, gender inequality in society, gender bias in the legal systems, and socio-economic barriers to full integration in society. Such groups include, but are not limited to, prisoners with disabilities, prisoners with HIV/AIDS, prisoners with mental illness, elderly prisoners, foreign prisoners and women prisoners

Strengthening cooperation with all relevant stakeholders

  • Member states should consider measures to strengthen cooperation with the private sector, academia, non-governmental organizations and other relevant stakeholders on the national and on the community level in the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into society

Sharing of good practices and experiences

  • practical measures should be designed to encourage the sharing among ASEAN Member States of national good practices and experiences on alternatives to incarceration, prison management, and probation systems

Encouragement of research.

  • Member states should seek to encourage research on offender rehabilitation and prison reform. Such research could include the pathways to prison among vulnerable groups cross ASEAN, sentencing practices, effective prisoner classification schemes, and the evaluation of best practices / lessons learned.

Strengthening of the ASEAN response

  • consideration should be given to how ASLOM and/or other Sectoral Bodies and Commissions could integrate offender rehabilitation and prison reform into ASEAN regional work programmes, using existing mechanisms, such as the ASEAN annual conference for probation officers
  • consideration should also be given to a possible ASEAN plan of action on developing effective prison reform and rehabilitation for vulnerable groups, to be used as a regional assistance tool.