The Heads of Central Authorities in the Commonwealth proposed the creation of bodies dedicated to helping lawmakers tackle cross-border crime at a conference at Marlborough House in February 2018
The Heads of Central Authorities in the Commonwealth proposed the creation of bodies dedicated to helping lawmakers tackle cross-border crime at a conference at Marlborough House in February 2018.
Commonwealth officials and experts encouraged member countries to establish a central authority, as part of a cross-Commonwealth forum, which would enable governments to communicate in order to resolve cross-border criminal matters.
The two-day conference at the Commonwealth headquarters in London convened to address barriers to effective cooperation in tackling crime.
Experts gathered to make suggestions on ways to enhance intra-Commonwealth cooperation and to share best practices and solutions.
Over 70 delegates from the Commonwealth, the United Nations, and observer countries the USA and Switzerland discussed cooperation on issues such as serious trans-border fraud, the laundering of corruption proceeds and cyber-crime.
Representatives of the Commonwealth Network of Contact Persons also took part in the meeting for the first time.
Dan Souter, Founder and Director of iJust International Justice Consultants, spoke about the increasing challenges of cyber-crime and how existing Commonwealth platforms, such as the Commonwealth Network of Contact Persons, help to resolve them.
He said the initiative was vital in providing a secure messaging service to ensure a crime is transferred to the relevant response body, as mutual legal assistance relies upon having personal contact.
Referring to the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017, when 200,000 computers in 150 countries were infected, Souter commended the platform’s ability to connect the players and contact persons to ensure a proactive approach to justice and security.
Project coordinator and legal adviser in the Secretariat’s Rule of Law section, Shadrach Haruna, in outlining the objectives of the meeting, highlighted the need to make procedural cooperation within the Commonwealth sharper and more innovative by leveraging the organisation’s values and strengths.
He added the “phenomenal rise in trans-border offending” needed to be met sufficiently to ensure there was “no impunity and safe haven for criminals”.
Philomena Creffield, the Head of the UK Central Authority, spoke on the need to strengthen existing frameworks, with communication the key to tackling the diverse range of issues within trans-border criminal activity.
Katalaina Sapolu, Director of the governance and peace directorate at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said: “Cross-border crimes are increasingly a threat in an ever-smaller world, with information technology and its enabled services presenting complex challenges every day.
“It is a one world application operating on real time basis in multiple jurisdictions.
“This and others forms of globalisation have challenged us for an enhanced and innovative way of cooperation.
“Traditional forms of cooperation are slightly unsuitable in the contemporary world of advanced communication.”
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