A recent EU survey highlighted that e-Evidence is relevant in 85% of criminal investigations and in more than half of those investigations, a request for e-Evidence from a service provider located in another country is necessary.
Relying solely on mutual legal assistance for e-Evidence does not match fast-paced communications between organised crime groups and terrorist networks. Meaning perpetrators can be one-step ahead of investigators. Albeit, e-Evidence can be vital to locate, track and convict bad actors and acquit the innocent – so using techniques to access data quickly is essential.
It is with this background that I was commissioned, with the liaison magistrates to the United States for France and Spain, to draft the EuroMed Justice and EuroMed Police Digital Evidence Manual – and this week we presented the Manual to investigators, prosecutors and Judges from Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Israel, Tunisia, Palestine and Jordan and representatives from Europol, the EU Commission and the European Judicial Network.
As part of the launch, I also trained delegates on best practices for preservation, direct requests, emergency disclosure requests and mutual legal assistance – using the service provider mapping to access e-Evidence quickly and lawfully.
The mapping is an essential tool to help practitioners apply for e-Evidence in other jurisdictions, by guiding them through the myriad of service provider procedures from around the world.
The workshop, hosted in the home of iJust Europe, was also an opportunity to hear about latest developments on the EU rules for preservation and production of e-Evidence and the second additional protocol to the Budapest Convention. We have used the forms for the EU rules as a basis for model forms in the Manual and the delegates tested their use in a cross-border exercise.
As legal reform continues to address requests for e-Evidence between countries, this is an exciting time to be involved in this developing cyberspace!