Commonwealth training on internet safety praised by Papua New Guinea judges

22 February 2024
Group photo of participants at Papua New Guinea training on Internet safety

Judges in Papua New Guinea have commended a new Commonwealth training course aimed at upskilling them to handle cybercrime cases and make the internet safer for their citizens.

Supported by the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth Secretariat partnered with the Papua New Guinea Centre for Judicial Excellence to organise the training in the capital city, Port Moresby on 12 and 13 February 2023.

More than 40 judges and magistrates attended the training, engaging in simulations to deepen their understanding of cyber threats and computer-based offences.

They were equipped with practical skills to apply internationally recognised good practices within their jurisdictions, gather electronic evidence admissible in courts, and foster cross-border cooperation to prosecute cybercrimes.

Covering topics ranging from protecting user data to authenticating digital evidence, the training course aimed to address the challenges judicial officers often face in tackling cybercrimes, particularly in developing countries.

A growing problem

During the opening session, Justice Les Gavara-Nanu, a Supreme Court judge, commended the timely training and drew attention to the changing landscape of Papua New Guinea’s criminal justice system.

He underscored the challenge posed by the surge in cybercrime, which he said requires new approaches to evidence-gathering compared to traditional crimes.

Justice Gavara-Nanu continued:

“We need assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat to deal with these types of cases, from investigation [and] detection to prosecution and adjudication which is what concerns judges and magistrates as adjudicators.”

John Carey, Judge Administrator of the Papua New Guinea Centre for Judicial Excellence, echoed Justice Gavara-Nanu’s sentiments, expressing full support for the training on behalf of the country’s Chief Justice, Sir Gibuna Gibbs Salika KBE.

Financial implications

Reports indicate a disproportionate increase in cybercrimes in the Asia-Pacific region, accounting for 31 per cent of all incidents remediated around the world in 2023.

Cybersecurity threats were estimated to cost organisations in the Asia-Pacific region about US $1.75 trillion in economic losses – roughly the size of the world’s 13th largest economy, South Korea.

Addressing the participants remotely, Commonwealth Assistant Secretary-General Professor Luis G. Franceschi said:

“Our research shows a particular need for enhancing the skills of judicial officers to effectively adjudicate cybercrime cases.

“The knowledge and skills you will gain through training will help you identify practical solutions to the many challenges faced by our countries in making the internet a safer place for everyone.”

He urged judges and magistrates to remain vigilant against cyber threats by regularly updating their security protocols, practices and policies while pledging the Commonwealth’s full support to them in this endeavour.

In her remarks, Anne Macro, the UK’s Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, reiterated her country’s commitment to ensuring a safe and trusted cyberspace for all.

She emphasised that the UK would continue working with international partners, including the Commonwealth Secretariat, to achieve this goal.

Established in 2018, the Commonwealth Secretariat has trained more than 1,000 law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judicial officials from 55 Commonwealth member countries.

Media contact

  • Snober Abbasi  Senior Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • T: +442077476168  |  E-mail