Development of the Practical Guide on Requesting Electronic Evidence Across Borders

As terrorists continue to exploit the Internet and social media to advance their agendas, it is imperative that UNODC continue to provide practitioners with the necessary skills to access critical electronic evidence.

 In order to do this, UNODC, CTED and the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) drafted the Practical Guide for Requesting Electronic Evidence Across Borders. It aims to identify steps at the national level to gather, preserve and share electronic evidence with the overall aim to ensure efficiency in mutual legal assistance (MLA) practices.

In order to demonstrate the various functionalities of this essential tool to criminal justice practitioners, UNODC, CTED and IAP organized a regional workshop on obtaining electronic evidence from private communications service providers (CSPs) in counter-terrorism and related organized crime cross-border investigations in Kuala Lumpur on 8-9 November 2018.

The workshop introduced participants to the Guide's functions in relation to preservation and requests pertaining to pre-MLA and emergency disclosure. Furthermore, the event included a presentation of the best practices in the MLA request drafting process. The sessions during the event offered a platform to participants to address private CSPs as well as UNODC, CTED and IAP. Participants from each delegation delivered a brief presentation on their national practice and experience in requesting and providing electronic evidence. This information was then utilized for the evaluation session which detailed the next-steps for each Member State, that included the receipt of future technical trainings from the organizers.

 The workshop was organized under the US-funded global project on strengthening the capacity of central authorities and counter-terrorism prosecutors and investigators in obtaining digital evidence from private CSPs in cross-border investigations. Under the project, additional regional trainings will be delivered. The next workshop is scheduled to take place in Central Asia. The Practical Guide is in the final stages of editing and will be made available in January 2019.