OPDAT has worked in China since 2002 to provide expertise on criminal law and procedure to Chinese government officials, jurists, academics, law students, and the U.S. Embassy. The RLA also promotes long-term criminal justice reform in China consistent with international standards of human rights. The RLA fosters and promotes development in the areas of criminal law and procedure reform, law enforcement cooperation, and exchanges between the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) and U.S. prosecutors. The RLA guides the mutual legal assistance process as well as supports DOJ headquarters in specific cases, coordinates Post’s participation in the annual US/China Joint Liaison Group on Law Enforcement (JLG), participates in JLG Working Groups, and engages with U.S. Law Enforcement Attaches in the Embassy.
SE Asia Cyber
The Regional Legal Advisor for Cybercrime provides capacity building to Malaysian and regional justice operators on proactive cybercrime investigations and prosecutions and cross-border cybercrime case cooperation. The program consists of training, case-based mentoring, legislative reform and cross-border cooperation. Trainings focus cybercrime case basics, the utilization of specialized investigative techniques to enhance evidence collection, and regional cooperation to locate and apprehend offenders. As part of the case-based mentoring projects, the Cyber RLA works with investigators and prosecutors to share techniques for investigating and prosecuting cybercime matters and illustrate concepts discussed during the Cyber RLA's training programs. The Cyber RLA also works with participating countries to review existing cybercrime legislation and determine what, if any, reforms would be useful in facilitating more effective cybercrime prosecutions. Finally, the Cyber RLA focuses on building the capacity of Malaysia and regional countries to receive, evaluate, and respond to requests for cooperation on cybercrime and electronic evidence related matters from law enforcement authorities in partner nations through both formal and informal channels. The Cyber RLA is currently playing a key role in the drafting of an ASEAN country’s new cybercrime law.
The OPDAT program in Bangladesh strengthens the capacity of law enforcement institutions to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate complex crimes such as financial crimes, public corruption, terrorism, and organized crime. OPDAT’s counterterrorism program includes support for an effective anti-money laundering / combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, refinement of practical skills for law enforcement conducting AML/CFT cases, and review of current legislation and advocacy for essential legal forms. OPDAT assistance was instrumental in the passage of three of Bangladesh’s most important legal tools for fighting terrorism and transnational crime: the Anti-Terrorism Act, the Money Laundering Prevention Act, and the Mutual Legal Assistance Act. OPDAT has provided extensive training to Bangladesh’s law enforcement to facilitate the implementation of these laws and periodically works with the government on amendments to more closely align them with international standards. Pursuant to the legal tools within these laws, and in partnership with the Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, Bangladesh was, for the first time, able to recover criminal proceeds that had been laundered outside of the country. OPDAT’s rule of law program supports the establishment of a merit-based career prosecution service. To that end, OPDAT is working closely Bangladesh to create a model prosecution unit focusing on transnational cases. The rule of law program has also supported capacity building for justice operators on case preparation, trial skills, and wildlife trafficking. In the coming year, OPDAT will continue case mentoring and legislative advocacy efforts.
OPDAT builds the capacity of Indonesian justice operators through legislative advocacy, institutional development, and case-based mentoring. OPDAT helped develop the Indonesian Attorney General’s Terrorism and Transnational Crimes Task Force (SATGAS), an elite prosecutorial unit responsible for prosecuting cases of terrorism, money laundering, cybercrime, intellectual property rights, transnational crime, and trafficking in persons (TIP). OPDAT’s current priorities include developing expertise to combat foreign terrorist fighters and handle cyber investigations of terrorism cases. With OPDAT’s assistance, Indonesia has passed and is implementing effective anti-terrorism, terrorism finance, and anti-money laundering legislation. Indonesia’s Parliament is now also considering a new rule of law-based Criminal Procedure Code drafted by an interagency drafting committee. OPDAT works closely with Indonesia to develop financial tracing, terrorist sanctions, and asset forfeiture tools for police and prosecutors to address transnational crime and corruption and creates forums to share best practices on cooperation agreements, sting operations, undercover officers, and ethics testing for police officers. OPDAT also assists Indonesia on Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA), combatting wildlife trafficking and child exploitation, and bolstering court security and witness protection.
OPDAT established its RLA program in Kuala Lumpur to support criminal justice sector capacity building and provide mentoring and specialized training programs. The OPDAT team consists of three senior experienced federal prosecutors, who are also experts in rule of law programming, (Section Chief, Regional Legal Advisor for Cybercrime, Trafficking in Persons Legal Advisor) and a Legal Assistant. The core mission of the RLA office is to develop and administer technical assistance designed to enhance the capabilities of Malaysia’s justice sector institutions. By fostering bilateral cooperation efforts, the U.S. Department of Justice and Malaysian authorities can effectively partner on combating terrorism and terrorist financing, transnational crime, cybercrime, trafficking in persons and wildlife, corruption, and money laundering. OPDAT also enjoys strong working relationships with senior officials from the Malaysian Judiciary, Attorney General’s Chambers, Royal Malaysia Police, Malaysian Bar Council, Ministry of Home Affairs, Bank Negara’s Financial Intelligence Unit, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, NGO’s and the private sector. The office continues to respond to the rapidly developing criminal justice sector changes in Malaysia by providing training that is both specialized, and sought after, by the leading government and regulatory institutions. For example, the RLA’s Office, working in conjunction with the U.S. Marshal Service, carried out the first ever security assessment of Malaysian courthouses, in both the Peninsula and in Sabah, Sarawak. The RLA’s Office also hosted the Chief Justice of Malaysia’s visit to the U.S. to exchange experiences in trying terrorism cases. In addition, since 2015, OPDAT Malaysia has trained over 1,000 regional prosecutors, law enforcement and judges on combating cybercrime and is currently advising Malaysian prosecutors, law enforcement and immigration officials on best practices for prosecuting wildlife and trafficking in person cases.
In 2014, OPDAT began its program in Nepal to promote long-term criminal justice reform through increasing capacity to combat complex crimes such as trafficking in persons and wildlife; reforming outdated criminal laws and procedures; and reducing corruption. Specifically, OPDAT assists Nepal combat wildlife trafficking, money laundering, and cyber-crime through training and case-based mentoring. It is supporting efforts to reform Nepal’s criminal laws and procedures, which currently lack a plea bargaining mechanism, a general conspiracy statute, a comprehensive victims’ rights statute, as well as laws against terrorism and child pornography. Additionally, many crimes cannot be effectively prosecuted because victims are subject to fear tactics or witness tampering. To improve the quality of justice, OPDAT and its Nepali counterparts encourage passing modern laws to provide victims’ representation and witness protection in court. Notably, OPDAT sprang into action after two earthquakes in early 2015 destroyed over 500,000 buildings in Nepal, increasing the risk of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and of disaster fraud and public corruption. In response, OPDAT organized a series of training workshops and led a Nepali inter-agency working group to improve the investigation of TIP, and sponsored a forum for Nepali officials on best practices in combatting disaster fraud and public corruption based on the fraud cases following Hurricane Katrina and the Deep Water Horizon Spill.
In 2006, OPDAT began a program to assist Pakistan with criminal justice legal reform and expanded it in 2014 to include capacity-building efforts in counter-terrorism, terrorist financing, and money laundering. To address case backlogs and expedite terrorism cases, OPDAT works with the judiciary to improve case management practices and implement needed reforms. For example, OPDAT has facilitated visits between the Pakistani judiciary and their U.S. counterparts, focusing on alternative dispute resolution, intellectual property, best practices for terrorism case trials, and judicial and courthouse security. In addition, OPDAT works with judges from the Anti-Terrorism Courts on recommended case management reforms to expedite adjudication of “true terrorism” cases, the development of best practices for terrorism trials, and on judicial and courthouse security for Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Judges. OPDAT works closely with Pakistan’s provincial prosecutor offices to increase the number of female prosecutors, build prosecutorial professionalism and institutional capacity, and encourage police-prosecutor cooperation. The police-prosecutor cooperation is of special note because Pakistani law does not clearly define the role of the prosecutor during criminal investigations, leading to poorly prepared case files that lack necessary evidence to establish guilt at trial and other witnesses not being prepared to give testimony at trial. OPDAT emphasizes the importance of police-prosecutor cooperation in programs with police and prosecutors and emphasizes strategies for achieving it. OPDAT also holds Basic Trial Advocacy Training courses for new prosecutors, conducts a bi-annual Senior Prosecutors Conference to facilitate discussions on legal reforms, and provides capacity-building for conducting complex investigations such as money laundering and terrorist finance. OPDAT also prioritizes law school development, as Pakistani law schools place little emphasis on advocacy skills, clinical practice, or the development of clerkship programs. With many law school faculty members interested in modernizing their institutions’ curricula, engaging with law faculty provides an important opportunity to support the development of the rule of law at its foundation. To further this goal, OPDAT sponsored teams from Pakistani law schools to participate in the International Jessup Moot Court Competition.
In Manila, OPDAT provides assistance on money laundering, terrorist financing, asset forfeiture and management, and human trafficking (TIP) through legislative and procedural reforms, investigative and prosecutorial capacity building, and institutional development. OPDAT works with, among others, the Philippine Supreme Court, Philippine Judicial Academy, the Office of the Ombudsman, Philippine Department of Justice, Anti-Money Laundering Council, Interagency Council Against Trafficking, Philippine Center on Transnational Crime, the Commission on Higher Education, and several colleges and institutions of higher learning. OPDAT’s legislative reform effort is focused on the Philippine criminal procedure and the statutes and Rules of the Supreme Court. In addition to legislative efforts, OPDAT holds trainings around the topics most pressing in the Philippine context. For instance, the Philippine’s location, geography, and abundant resources make it a target for environmental crimes, while its high poverty rate contributes to it being a source country for victims of TIP. In response, OPDAT assists law enforcement agencies through specialized training designed to combat TIP and establish best practices and the use of international resources. OPDAT has long partnered with the Philippine Government to combat this crime and train hundreds of justice operators on TIP, contributing to the Department of State’s 2016 decision to elevate the country to Tier One in its annual TIP Report (see Resources section). In addition to advanced training for experienced practitioners, OPDAT also conducts one-day “advocacy building” workshops designed to promote interest in TIP issues among newly-appointed prosecutors and police officers. OPDAT has encouraged institutions of higher learning to adopt these concepts and, to-date, more than 50 colleges have incorporated OPDAT’s lessons into their criminology curricula. Beginning in 2017, the national criminology certification exam will include questions on TIP and environmental crimes. OPDAT also responds to key legislative and capacity development opportunities through programming in money laundering and complex financial crimes, terrorism and terrorist financing, and asset forfeiture and management.
OPDAT began a program in Timor-Leste in 2009 to address challenges to rule of law and effective criminal justice. The justice system is under-resourced, and police lack the power to arrest or investigate crimes without the prosecutor’s authorization, with whom there is little communication or cooperation. Prosecutors have a backlog of cases that might never be charged, while those who are charged are subjected to lengthy pre-trial delays. All but four districts in the country resort to traditional local councils to resolve conflicts, as formal justice is inaccessible. OPDAT’s program focuses on institutional support to the Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG); legislative reforms; and training and skills development for justice operators in domestic and gender-based violence and complex crimes. To combat public corruption, OPDAT encourages reforms and provides institutional capacity-building on the prosecution of trans-national crimes and public corruption. The government passed an Anti-Money Laundering law (AML) in 2011, and in 2014 the National Parliament created a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in the Central Bank. OPDAT has assisted the Central Bank in establishing an effective FIU by facilitating contact with the Asia Pacific Group and Indonesia’s FIU (PPATK), providing examples of statutes and regulations, and assisting with drafting instructions to implement the AML law. OPDAT also works with the judiciary to strengthen the criminal justice system in areas such as sexual assault and child abuse, counter-narcotics law and investigations, transnational crime, financial crimes and asset forfeiture, and counterterrorist financing.
Sri Lanka’s political transition presents an opportunity to increase the government’s transparency and accountability. In early 2017, OPDAT will establish a program to work with the government of Sri Lanka to address public corruption, strengthen the justice sector, and develop the country’s rule of law institutions. Specifically, the RLA will support the revision and adoption of legislation and regulations to facilitate investigations and prosecutions of corruption and money laundering. These efforts will include activities to improve mandates, clarify roles, and improve coordination between anti-corruption agencies, and to strengthen institutional capacity for international legal cooperation.
Burma’s porous borders facilitate the manufacture of narcotics, the trans-shipment of contraband, and the proceeds of organized crime. It is the second largest heroin producer in the world. Transnational organized crime poses a significant threat to the rule of law in Burma and its justice institutions are ill prepared to address it. Following years of military rule, Burma’s criminal justice system is based on an outdated legislative framework that hampers effective investigation and prosecution. To help address these challenges, OPDAT deployed a Resident Legal Advisor in 2017 to strengthen police-prosecutor cooperation, strengthen anti-money laundering/countering the finance of terrorism capabilities, strengthen anti-corruption capabilities, and promote international cooperation, and prosecutor skills and professionalism.
Regional Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinator for Asia
In June, 2016, OPDAT deployed the first Regional Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinator (IPLEC) for Asia, based in the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong IPLEC works all over Asia to coordinate and deliver intellectual property (IP) prosecutorial and judicial training and technical assistance to foreign law enforcement partners. Specifically, the IPLEC has the following regional responsibilities: (1) assessing the capacity of law enforcement authorities throughout the region to enforce intellectual property rights; (2) developing and delivering training and other capacity building formats designed to enhance the capacity of justice sector personnel to enforce intellectual property rights; (3) assisting in developing or strengthening institutions dedicated to enforcing intellectual property rights; (4) monitoring regional trends in intellectual property protection and computer crimes; and (5) providing expert assistance in support of United States Government IP and computer crime policies and initiatives in the region. Ultimately, the IPLEC’s goal is to see a measurable increase in the number of regional IP prosecutions, especially those involving the Internet, and a similar increase in regional seizures of infringing goods.