SL set to join Budapest Cybercrimes Convention by end-July 2015

May 24, 2015

US Secretary of State John Kerry, on his recent visit here, commended Sri Lanka for its pioneering role as the first in South Asia to be invited to and begin the process of ascension to the Budapest Cybercrime Convention, according to Jayantha Fernando, Legal Advisor at the local ICT Agency (ICTA).

Elaborating even more, Mr. Fernando revealed that, as of May 21, Sri Lanka had finalised and submitted the necessary ascension documentation and, in two months, the country would become a party to the Budapest Cybercrime Convention, overtaking countries such as Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa and the Philippines that had been invited but is yet to accede. The next important obligation for Sri Lanka is for the country to set up the convention-stipulated frameworks, such as a 24/7 contact point for local law enforcement, which the US Department of Justice and the FBI had already offered to help support, in terms of training, etc. Additionally, there will be the need to train investigators at both the central and the provincial level over the next five years, along with judges, prosecutors and even Law College students.
He also added that Sri Lanka’s invitation to join the Council of Europe-initiated Budapest Cyber Crime Convention was “greatly supported” by the Netherlands, Estonia, UK and many other European countries, as well as USA, Japan and Australia.

Commenting on the convention itself, Mr. Fernando signalled that it was both a substantiative and procedural document that not only outlined what constituted cybercrime law, but also highlighted procedures to be followed in terms of evidence gathering. It also provided details of court interventions and supervision, and how to uphold human rights laws. Importantly, it also put in place a mechanism to request access to US-based computer networks, which was responsible for the most internet activity worldwide.

At the same time, ICTA further indicated that “Sri Lanka, which modelled its Computer Crimes Act (2007) based on the Budapest Cybercrime Convention, (invitation to join) was as a result of a decision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, after obtaining the consent of State Parties to the Convention… Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, also known as the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, is the only available international treaty on the subject of Cybercrime… The Budapest Cybercrime Convention is an international convention open for any country to accede that is prepared to implement it. In addition to European countries, the USA, Australia, Japan, Dominican Republic (and) Mauritius are already parties to the Convention”.

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