December 15, 2017

Lao PM seeks improvements across legal, judicial sectors

By:  Vientiane Times, December 7, 2017

VIENTIANE - Sectors responsible for enforcement, administration, prosecution and adjudication of the law must do all they can to ensure that innocent people are protected and offenders punished, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith told a meeting in the capital on Tuesday.

Mr. Thongloun made the point in his address at a meeting of a joint meeting of the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme People’s Court, Office of Supreme Public Prosecutor and Ministry of Public Security.

Around 9,300 criminal cases were recorded in the years from 2013 to 2016, and some 5,000 cases resolved, the meeting heard.

More than 1,500 cases related to economic disputes were recorded, and around 1,100 cases resolved.

The sector dealt with 402 cases related to human trafficking and 7,700 cases related to drug trafficking.

Some 72 percent of cases brought to a court of the first instance in the nine-month period of this year led to verdicts.

Some 87 percent of these judgments were accepted by both parties, with the remainder going to appeal.

Mr. Thongloun stressed the four sectors needed to enhance legal protections by interpreting the existing law and specific regulations clearly as a tool to support the proper legal procedures, ensuring that rights of the innocent are protected and offenders punished under the law.

He also pointed to the need for organisational structural improvements and enhancement of efforts and activities to streamline and ensure that cases and related procedures had followed the judicial processes transparently.

He called for improvements to work at central and local levels to raise standards to a level suitable for the times, instructing the four bodies and their personnel to broaden and deepen legal education for officials and the nation’s multiethnic people. 

Despite progress in the prosecution of cases at each level, the trends had yet to see them meet the targets as approved by the National Assembly, the NA Committee on Justice reported at its recent session. It was found that prosecutions in some courts in the first instance and appellate courts had violated the procedures stipulated by law.

Lack of sound ethics and morals and examples of bias by some officials of the ministry had served to harm the people’s interests, proving a source of annoyance and irritation and carrying the potential to tarnish the reputation of judicial bodies unless addressed, the committee noted.

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