Samoa prepares to ratify the Budapest Convention

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Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi. (Photo: File)

The Government through the Office of the Attorney General hosted a two-phased Cybercrime Workshop with the Council of Europe and the Australian Attorney General’s office this week.

Phase 1 of the workshop focused on national legislation on cybercrime and electronic evidence strengthened in line with the Budapest Convention. Phase 2 which focussed on Judicial, Law Enforcement and Prosecutorial training on cybercrime and electronic evidence.

The overarching goal of the workshop is to review Samoa’s current cybercrime laws, evaluate where Samoa stands in comparison to the Budapest Cybercrime Convention standards, and initiate steps to the proper legislative amendments, as well as provide capacity building where required.

The Budapest Convention is an international treaty seeking to address Internet and computer crime by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques, and increasing cooperation among nations.

A huge part of Samoa’s ascension to ratify the Budapest Convention falls on Samoan legislators in terms of evaluating and improving Samoa’s legal and law enforcement infrastructure to help improve and pave Samoa’s way to be a part of the Budapest Convention.  

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi said his Government will await recommendations from the workshops this week and consider them carefully as they are vital to Samoa’s ascension to be a part of the Budapest Convention.  

He added that the training will be the start of an effort to build Samoa’s law enforcement abilities, in this area, so that any changes to the legal framework in Samoa will go hand in hand with an increase of the practical abilities and skills of Samoa’s domestic agencies, to put these laws into action, in the effort to protect our community from such crime. 

The weeklong workshop is one of the key requirements that Samoa needs to satisfy in order to fulfil its goal of being a part of the Convention.  

Samoa is currently at step 3 of 8 steps, which is self-evaluation and capacity building through the Council of Europe Advisory Mission phase of ascension.  

Attorney General, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, said Samoa will need to draft legislation before taking the final steps.  

He has projected that it will take at least a year of capacity building before that can happen and that this Cybercrime workshop is the formal start of that process. 

The workshop participants include the Judiciary, Police and Prosecutors (Phase 2) as well as representatives from Government Ministries, Internet Service Providers, Samoa Law Society, and Financial Institutions (Phase 1).

© Samoa Observer 2016

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