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Lao PDR – Southeast Asia Security Laws

The Constitution of the Lao PDR (1991) contains the structure and powers of the Government of Laos, and lists the rights and obligations of Lao citizens (chapter III). It also secures the Lao People’s Revolutionary party as the “leading nucleus” of the political system (article 3).

The rules of procedure of pre-trial investigations, trial courts, and appellate courts are contained in the Law on Criminal Procedure (2004).

The Penal Law (2001, 2005) contains most of Laos’s crimes, and includes a section on “Offenses against National Security and Social Orderliness” (articles 51-80). Among these crimes is treason (article 51), which outlaws any Lao citizen from contacting foreign agents or organizations in order to undermine the culture and society of Laos. The Penal Law also include a variety of crimes relating to national security such as, money laundering (article 64); offenses relating to chemical weapons (article 80); violations of safety regulations relating to air [transport], airports and harbours (article 98); the taking of hostages (article 101); and acts that are dangerous to the security of boats, airplanes, ships, cars, airports, harbours or stations (article 175). Other national security crimes include a prohibition on “Propaganda against the Lao People’s Democracy” (article 59), which proscribes material slandering the State, distorting policies of the party or State, or that is deemed to weaken the State; as well as the criminalization of protest marches and demonstrations causing “social disorder” (article 66).

The Surface Transportation Law (1997) establishes the infrastructure and laws for regulating the surface transportation of goods, and provides criminal penalties for violations of its regulations.