PILON Mutual Legal Assistance Handbook: Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence

As the world becomes increasingly borderless, and crime increasingly transnational in nature, the provision of international assistance is becoming ever more essential. It can be an effective law enforcement tool, as it ensures that an offender cannot evade prosecution if    evidence of their conduct is located in a foreign country. Mutual legal assistance is increasingly important for cybercrime investigations and prosecutions and is not well understood, or often used, in our region. During the unparalleled times we have experienced this year, it has become evident more than ever how heavily the world relies on technology and cyber space to remain connected whilst being physically apart. Unfortunately, we have seen that the increased connectivity has also led to an increase in transnational crime, with technology making criminal activity easier and more pervasive.

Linda Simiki Folaumoetu'i
Linda Simiki Folaumoetu'i
foreword - image 2

Even though this handbook has been specifically designed for PILON members, the foundations of international cooperation in criminal matters are universal and can be applied across the globe. The information contained in this resource builds on the discussions and learning from the 2019 PILON Cybercrime Workshop, hosted by Vanuatu, which focussed on international cooperation to share electronic evidence to combat cybercrime. This handbook sheds light on the domestic and international mechanisms in place so that the international community of criminal justice practitioners is able to provide cross-border assistance in the most efficient and effective way. Assistance of this sort is essential, and of increasing importance, given the nature of transnational crime, and cybercrime in particular, which knows no boundaries or jurisdiction.

This handbook provides you with practical information and a first port of call when a criminal investigation or proceeding requires cooperation with our neighbours. It is a practical tool for criminal justice practitioners – police, investigators, lawyers, central authorities, policy makers, and judicial officers – all the relevant stakeholders involved in international cooperation on criminal matters. It provides a range of accessible tools including country profiles, contacts and templates that are readily available and accessible via this website.

I would like to thank each of the working group members and other partners who contributed to this Handbook. I hope it will be a useful tool for us to continue working together as a team to continue the fight against cybercrime, and all transnational crime.

Ms Linda Simiki Folaumoetu'i

Attorney General, Kingdom of Tonga
Chair, PILON Cybercrime Working Group

This publication has been funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The views expressed in this publication are the author’s alone and are not necessarily the views of the Australian Government.

Australian AID