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Pacific Region Cybercrime Training Official Photo.

Pacific cybercrime network hailed by small island states

11 March 2016

A new criminal justice network established by the Commonwealth will help to build the readiness of Pacific countries to tackle online crime, according to senior legal policy-makers from the region.

The Pacific Region Cybercrime Criminal Justice Network, which was convened in Tonga, brought together law enforcement, legal officers and government officials to tackle concerns around so-called cybercrime.

The three-day event in Nuku’alofa, hosted in collaboration with the Government of Tonga, International Association of Prosecutors and the Pacific Islands Law Officers Network, provided delegates with the opportunity to analyse regional trends and share expertise on issues such as the use of electronic evidence.

Acting Attorney-General of Tonga, 'Asipeli 'Aminiasi Kefu said he hoped the network will become a “platform for regular collaboration and assistance between Pacific countries on cybercrime.”

“It is important to build regional awareness among government officials, such as regulators, investigators and prosecutors, that it is time to address cybercrime effectively and efficiently, because despite what they may think and see, cybercrime is already a threat in homes, workplaces and communities,” he said.

One of the participants, David Toganivalu, Director of Public Prosecutions for Nauru, said: “The conference was important to understand what is cybercrime and the threat it has in the Pacific region. It is a global crime that crosses between borders in seconds and has had and will continue to pose a great threat to vulnerable Pacific island states.

“We are now in a better position to respond to this global threat. We were able to meet our other counterparts from within the region and have now established a working relationship with our law enforcement colleagues from the Commonwealth Secretariat and other relevant specialists from the UK, New Zealand and Australia,” he added.

Shadrach Haruna, Legal Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat, who co-ordinated the meeting, said: “Cybercrime respects no national boundaries. Traditional ‘offline’ crimes have increasingly either migrated to cyberspace or now require electronic evidence to effectively prosecute them. This platform is not just for sharing of information and intelligence on the dynamics of the crime but also to provide a hub for co-operation at the regional level.”

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