Cameroon and Luxembourg are not countries you would usually put in the same sentence – for the last week I have been in both – sharing experience and training on requesting e-evidence from service providers.
Yaoundé is the green and vibrant capital of Cameroon. Poverty is clear to see as children swim in the polluted water and the military is an overt presence on the streets.
A recent article in the Economist described Cameroon as:
“…. a stable country in a fragile region. Today it is battling the jihadists of Boko Haram in the north, dealing with an influx of refugees from the Central African Republic in the east—and, most devastatingly, the “Anglophone crisis” in the west.“
This crisis was sparked by lawyers in the south-west region striking at the diminution of the common law system. In response the internet was shut down and more than 3,000 citizens killed. The Economist article also quotes an aid worker visually describing burnt villages as reminiscent of a scene from the film “Full Metal Jacket”.
With this background I was part of the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ) team training on lawful requests for e-evidence. There is much to be done to ensure focal points can preserve e-evidence, make emergency disclosure requests and draft mutual legal assistance requests. In a country without a central authority it is important to build capacity to support practitioners to make lawful requests for e-evidence. I look forward to returning to Cameroon to assist with necessary developments to support the rule of law.
It was then the long flight to Luxembourg to present at a policy seminar with judges, prosecutors and government officials from Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Montenegro and Greece, at the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA). The topics included the EU proposals for a regulation for e-evidence preservation and production orders and the U.K./U.S. Bilateral Data Access Agreement. There was much to discuss on how service providers will raise objections where there are privilege, immunity or potential human rights issues. The hope is that jurisdiction and efficiency challenges have not over-shadowed privacy and fair trial rights (for more on the issues see the consultation paper by Fair Trials)
Now on the journey home – with more travel to come next week – Christmas can’t come soon enough!