Following is a speech by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Grenville Cross, SC, at the Opening Ceremony of 2nd Asia and Pacific Regional Conference of the International Association of Prosecutors today (November 26):
Officials of the International Association of Prosecutors,
Distinguished prosecutors, delegates and guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the Organising Committee of the Conference, I am delighted to welcome to Hong Kong so many prosecutors from such a wide variety of jurisdictions in the Asia and Pacific Region, and beyond. I welcome not only the distinguished prosecutors who are currently providing leadership and guidance to public prosecution services and shaping the direction of law enforcement strategy, but also the representatives of the new generation of prosecutors, who bear great responsibility for the future of law enforcement in their respective jurisdictions. I also welcome most warmly the senior officers of the International Association of Prosecutors, who have done so much to facilitate this conference and to ensure its success, and who are long-standing friends. Welcome to one and all.
Some of those who are here today already know Hong Kong well. But many do not. To everyone I express the hope that you will make the most of your time with us. I hope, in particular, that you will be able to learn more about our way of life, about our system of criminal justice, and about our unique position in China as an autonomous common law jurisdiction. Hong Kong provides a gateway not just to China but also to the rest of Asia.
The Hong Kong that you see today is an international city, a major financial centre, a bridge between the West and the Mainland, and a place in which there is a role for all of those committed to her wellbeing and prosperity. Here in Hong Kong you can see how East and West blend together to form a truly world-class international city. We are proud also that Hong Kong is a law-abiding city, with a secure environment in terms of law and order. The highest possible premium is placed by our community upon the rule of law and upon a system of justice which is efficient, open and just.
Hong Kong people, as I hope you will discover during your stay, have great self-reliance. They come from all backgrounds, from all over China, from all over the region, and from all over the world. This rich mix of talent and ideas and experience is unique, and contributes to the society and the culture that has produced Hong Kong's dynamic and distinct way of life. As a result of the successful application of the one country, two systems concept, Hong Kong has promoted its position, values and influence at all levels since reunification in 1997.
In the area of public prosecutions, Hong Kong is plugged firmly into the traditions of the common law world. We have a transparent, effective and modern prosecution authority, and we liaise closely with our criminal justice partners in other jurisdictions in the formulation of strategies to combat crime in all its forms. Since we joined the International Association of Prosecutors in 2001, we have contributed to its objectives, assisted its projects and been guided by its standards. We are honoured that the IAP has chosen Hong Kong as the venue for this conference, and we feel sure that all will benefit from the exchange of ideas, from the forging of friendships and from the identification of the most effective means to combat crime.
The conference will be examining how best to deal with drug offenders. This is an issue of crucial importance to those concerned with law enforcement throughout the region and to prosecutors everywhere. Quite apart from the human tragedy associated with the abuse of narcotics, vast profits are generated by drugs which in turn can finance other types of criminal activity. As regional prosecutors, we have a duty to examine how to tackle the trade in narcotics most effectively, and to decide how we can best assist one another. Your challenge at this conference will be to apply fresh and innovative thinking to new as well as to old problems, and to work together to plan the way forward.
As you go about your deliberations I wish you well, and urge you to make the best possible use of the opportunities provided. I am sure that you will enjoy making new contacts and considering different approaches to the challenges that we all face. Hong Kong is an exciting and a vibrant place, and I hope you enjoy the hospitality that is on offer, and take full advantage of all that is available. I wish you all a happy conference and an enjoyable stay in Hong Kong.
Ends/Friday, November 26, 2004