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Unlisted Prohibited Drugs Causing Problems for Prosecutors

Source: Vientiane Times

Prosecution in cases involving the use of kratom, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), and electronic cigarettes is challenging because these items are not on the list of prohibited drugs, justice officials say.

The President of the Supreme People´s Prosecutor Office, Mr. Xaysana Khotphouthone, said: “The Law on Drugs and the criminal law relating to these items is not clear, making enforcement difficult, and many problems have arisen as a result.”

Local branches of the People´s Prosecutor Office are not actively engaged in this work and personnel are shared among other divisions due to the limited number of staff, he added.

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Mr. Xaysana said there was a lack of awareness and understanding on the part of the public, the military, the police, and a large number of government bodies about the monitoring role of the People’s Prosecutor Office.

The law defines the responsibilities of this office too widely, and its work overlaps with other departments that carry out inspections, making duties difficult to implement.

Given this situation, the Supreme People´s Prosecutor Office has ordered prosecution offices throughout the country to be strict and decisive in the prosecution of cases.

It has been observed that some localities and provinces are performing well in this field, while others are less successful.

The Supreme People´s Prosecutor Office will study the problem in-depth and will mandate specific measures for implementation across the country.

To ensure that enforcement of the law is carried out as authorized, better coordination is required to identify staff with limited capacity to effectively carry out their duties.

To resolve the difficult problem of monitoring general inspection work, the Supreme People´s Prosecutor Office has defined certain focus tasks, namely general monitoring, monitoring of administrative proceedings, monitoring the implementation of court decisions, monitoring crime statistics and analyzing trends in crime, and monitoring the issuance of legislation by various ministries and organizations.

Order No. 16 has been issued to provincial People’s Prosecutor Offices to coordinate and request guidance from provincial governors or provincial party secretaries to be the center for coordination and to encourage the relevant sectors to send legislation to the People’s Prosecutor Office for monitoring.
This has been tried in Longxan district, Xaysomboun province, and found to be successful.

Officials monitored the activities of 25 villages in this district, which were found to be correct and standardized.

In addition, department staff were transferred to monitor and promote general monitoring work at the local level in Savannakhet, Saravan, Khammuan,
Borikhamxay, Huaphan, and Xieng Khuang provinces.

Their advice and guidance are aimed at ensuring that local People’s Prosecutor Offices can properly carry out their duties.