Regional workshop on the use of digital evidence in terrorism related cases in investigation and trial phases

UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch (UNODC/TPB) organized a three-day regional workshop on the use of digital evidence in terrorism related cases in investigation and trial phases, under the bilateral program with Egypt generously funded by Japan. The event took place in Rome from 11 to 13 July 2017. Participants were introduced to challenges and good practices regarding the acquisition and preservation of digital evidence, and presenting such evidence to courts in an admissible form. Thirty-seven participants attended the event, including 24 law enforcement officers, criminal justice officers, judges and prosecutors from MENA countries such as Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia. 

Thirteen international and national experts from Egypt, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Council of Europe, the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, the Special Tribunal of Lebanon, Facebook and Apple participated in the event. The experts' interventions raised awareness of current challenges in the use of digital evidence in terrorism related offences and presented a set of good practices, legal instruments, procedure and strategies in pursuing and countering terrorists' use of information and communication technology that respect legal obligations to protect personal privacy. The event strengthened the criminal justice officers' ability to counter terrorists' use of the Internet through the appropriate use of digital evidence and in accordance with the rule of law and human rights law in line with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. 

Participants improved their knowledge of international cooperation and mutual legal assistance concerning digital evidence. They also highlighted the importance of drafting specialized legislation to regulate the use of digital evidence.

As requested by the participants, UNODC/TPB will provide further technical assistance for strengthening applicable mechanisms concerning the use of digital evidence in terrorism related investigations to Egypt and other countries in the MENA region. This request demonstrates the importance of organizing practical training events on the use of digital evidence, and of the enhancement of international cooperation in this area.