Politics and International Relations
During its celebrations of its 50th Anniversary, ASEAN endeavored to strengthen cooperation with its partner countries and organizations in its fight against terrorism and transnational crime. ASEAN has long recognized the threat of transnational crime to state security and regional stability. Thus, ASEAN has concluded different declarations, instruments, and cooperation agreements among its member-states as well as with its different partners. ASEAN admittedly does not have an ASEAN Extradition Treaty but it has its 2004 Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Treaty. Such an international cooperation agreement raises interesting questions, especially with regard the general observation of the lack of harmonization in laws of the member-states and the general mismatch that occurs between political will and actual implementation. There is also the existence of informal and formal channels of cooperation in criminal matters that raises questions on how member-states actually cooperate with one another and how they could actually develop an international cooperation mechanism with its partner organizations such as the EU, which already has a vast list of cooperation instruments. Thus, the dissertation explores how to develop MLA within and between ASEAN and the EU through a comparative criminal law approach. It does not only simply look into the historical and legal development of MLA -- considering both law in books and in practice -- between and within the regional organizations but it intends also to compare the same to develop an analysis/evaluation of issues within the respective frameworks needed to be addressed should an inter-regional MLA be developed.