WORLD

20th Meeting of Prosecutors General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States organized at Astana, Kazakhstan

The 20th Meeting of Prosecutors General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States was held on 23rd September, 2022 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Indian delegation attended the meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan under the leadership of:-

  1. Shri Tushar Mehta, Learned Solicitor General of India, Department of Legal Affairs
  2. Dr. Anju Rathi Rana, Additional Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs

As precursor to the event on 23rd September, 2022 Dr. Anju Rathi Rana, Additional Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law & Justice attended the Meeting of the Experts Group for the 20th Meeting of the Prosecutors General of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States on 8th and 13th September, 2022. The Meeting of the Experts Group reaffirmed strengthening of cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels between SCO Member States. The Experts group discussed issues pertaining to the growth of transnational economic crime in the world and thier experience of recovery of proceeds of crime from the states. The discussion between the Member States was held in a constructive and friendly atmosphere fostering the spirit of mutual trust and understanding.

The 20th Meeting of Prosecutors General was attended by the Solicitor General of the Republic of India Shri Tushar Mehta, Prosecutor General of the Republic of Kazakhstan Asylov B.N., Prosecutor of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate of the People’s Republic of China Zhang Jun, Prosecutor General of the Kyrgyz Republic Zulushev K.T., Additional Attorney-General of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Rashdeen Nawaz Kasuri, Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Krasnov I.V., Prosecutor General of the Republic of Tajikistan Rakhmon Yu.A., Prosecutor General of the Republic of Uzbekistan Yuldashev N.T. and the SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming.

A Protocol incorporating the deliberations of the 20th meeting of Prosecutors General of the SCO Member States was signed and adopted by the SCO Member States. The salient features of the Protocol are as under:

  1. To strengthen cooperation between the Prosecutor General’s Offices of the SCO Member States with respect to the recovery of the proceeds of crime particularly in money laundering.
  1. To develop cooperation between the prosecutor’s offices of the SCO member states at international institutions and forums on issues related to combating economic crimes like money laundering, search, seizure and recovery of the proceeds of crime from states.
  2. To use the forums of bilateral and multilateral gatherings to discuss about ways to strengthen the systems in place to combat economic crimes particularly money laundering.
  1. To continue the exchanging of information on domestic laws governing seach seizure and recovery of proceeds of crime. State’s experiences in their prevention as well as references, methodological, information-analytical, scientific and other materials in the field of combating economic crimes.
  1. To develop cooperation between the Prosecutors General offices of the SCO member states in the field of training and advanced training of prosecutors and employees of other law enforcement agencies whose competence includes issues of combating economic crimes.
  1. To conduct and participate in bilateral and multilateral events on combating economic crimes, search, seizure and recovery of proceeds of crime from states.

Addressing the eminent gathering of Prosecutors General from SCO Member States, Shri Tushar Mehta, Learned Solicitor General of India highlighted the initiatives taken by the Government of India to address Transnational Economic Crimes internationally by the ratification of two UN Conventions; the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC) and its three protocols and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). At the national level in order to stop the threat of Transnational Economic Crimes, India has implemented a number of legislative measures over the years to prevent, detect, and penalise money laundering by specialised legislation namely Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA), Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA), The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 (FEOA) and the Companies Act, 2013.

Shri Tushar Mehta also underlined the vital role of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties/Agreements for the cases where it is necessary to gather information and conduct formal investigations abroad with the help of foreign government, when the accused person(s) has fled the country after committing a crime, or when a part or the entire crime was committed outside the country.

In order to seek aid in pursuing such crimes India has signed Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements to request assistance in investigating such crimes. India has signed Extradition Treaties/Agreements with 47 and 11 countries respectively and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties/Agreements with 42 nations to seek assistance in the investigation of such instances.

In his concluding remarks, Shri Tushar Mehta, Learned Solicitor General of India, expressed his gratitude to all participating member states and urged them to work together to broaden the scope of the activities of the forum and eliminate the threat of transnational economic crimes by enhancing mutual trust, understanding, cooperation and communication between the member states.

The next (21st) meeting of the Prosecutors General of the SCO Member States will be held in the People’s Republic of China in 2023.

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