Law officials gather to discuss ASEAN legal cooperation

VIENTIANE, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) — Legal cooperation between ASEAN members dominated the agenda of the two-day 15th ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM), which concluded here in Lao capital Vientiane on Thursday.

“ASLOM has made progress in carrying out its works and mandates in the implementation of various legal cooperation programs and activities agreed upon at the previous ASLOM and ALAWMM,” said Ket Kiettisak, Lao Vice Minister of Justice and chairman of 15th ASLOM in his closing remarks.

During the meeting participants discussed the progress of ongoing ASEAN cooperation projects such as extradition arrangements and international legal assistance. The harmonization of ASEAN trade law has also been a topic of discussion ahead of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) integration in 2015.

“I would like to reaffirm our strong commitment to continue working with all ASEAN member states to strengthen and develop legal cooperation in supporting and developing ASEAN integration,” Kiettisak said.

A Lao Justice Ministry official told state-run daily Vientiane Times that ASEAN is preparing several treaties and that member states are writing or amending their own related laws so as to be compliant when the treaties are eventually signed.

ASEAN representatives at the meeting discussed a raft of treaties and conventions, most notably the Treaty on a Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone and the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism.

Discussions took place to determine whether certain propositions such as the ASEAN Environmental Agreement Relating to Trans-Boundary Haze Pollution be put on the permanent ASLOM agenda or be left for individual ministries to raise as in the past.

The 15th ASLOM meeting aims to establish a framework for discussion at the 9th ASEAN Law Ministers Meeting to be held in Indonesia in 2014.