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27th Annual Meeting (2008) - Port Vila, Vanuatu

New Zealand and Vanuatu co-hosted the 27th PILON annual meeting in Port Vila, Vanuatu, from 5-9 December 2008. The meeting was a valuable opportunity for senior law officers of the Pacific to discuss and progress significant legal sector issues.
Delegates from Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu attended the meeting. Delegates from the following observer members also attended the meeting: the Commonwealth Secretariat; the International Committee of the Red Cross; the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat; the Pacific Islands Maritime Law Association; Pacific Legal Information Institute (PacLII); Secretariat of the Pacific Community; and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Members agreed to formal outcomes and work plan for the PILON Secretariat 2009:

Key issues

Key issues discussed by Members at the meeting included extradition standards, legal resources challenges and legal training opportunities in the region. Members also discussed international prisoner transfer arrangements, accession to and implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Some of the papers from the meeting are available for download below.

    • Extradition—Members agreed to encourage their governments to consider ways in which the extradition process could be streamlined and expedited to harmonise standards (Extradition discussion paper [DOC 354KB][PDF 155KB]Attachment A - Extradition relationships and evidentiary [XLS 27.5KB][PDF 38KB]
    • International prisoner transfers—Members agreed to encourage their governments to consider the merits of participating in a multilateral prisoner transfer scheme (International transfer of sentenced persons discussion paper [DOC 130KB]; [PDF 76KB])
    • South Pacific Precursor Control Forum (SPPCF)—Members supported the SPPCF’s activities, and agreed to encourage their governments to accede to the United Nations Drug Conventions (SPPCF discussion paper [DOC 39.5KB][PDF 23.3KB])
    • International Criminal Court—Members noted the Secretariat's presentation on assistance available to accede to and implement the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The International Committee of the Red Cross presented on development with the ICC and encouraged accessionInternational Criminal Court assistance paper [DOC 181KB][PDF 121KB])

Members discussed a number of other items, including: legal issues relating to traditional knowledge; the United Nations Convention on Cluster Munitions; resources available to meet Pacific legal research needs; Pacific legal training, capacity building, exchange and attachment opportunities; Pacific prosecutors meetings for 2009; proceeds of crime issues; technical assistance programs available to Pacific island countries; Samoa’s Law and Justice Sector Plan; model legal professional conduct rules for the Pacific; South Pacific Precursor Control Forum; and a review of legislation supporting Pacific Patrol Boats requested by the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police Secretariat.
Other meeting documents

    • Model Law Relating to International Assistance in the Event of a Terrorist Emergencies [PDF 73.3KB]
    • Country Reports (here)

Secretariat and work plan

PILON members discussed the future of the PILON Secretariat. The Australian Attorney-General’s Department has hosted the Secretariat on an interim basis since February 2007. AGD agreed to continue in this role in 2009 until a permanent host can be identified and funded in a Pacific island country.

In 2009 the Secretariat was tasked to perform a number of tasks including to:

* begin work on establishing a model legislation database for members
* conduct a stock-take of current legal training, secondment, exchange and attachment activities relevant to members
* develop a proposal on professional development for Pacific law officers

* identify common themes and challenges of Pacific law offices

* work with the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police, the South Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to consider the legislative implications of the Pacific Patrol Boat Project, and

* report to the Forum Regional Security Committee on progress on harmonisation of extradition legislation.