Morocco Signs Second Additional Protocol to Budapest Cybercrime Convention

Following nearly four years of negotiations (September 2017 – May 2021) and a formal approval on November 17, 2021, the 2nd Additional Protocol to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime was opened for signature at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on Thursday, as part of an international conference on enhanced cooperation and disclosure of electronic evidence (May 12-13).

This protocol, which aims to complement the said Convention, was signed at the Council of Europe by Minister of Justice Abdellatif Ouahbi, who leads a large delegation of his department, on the occasion of this conference, organized in cooperation with the Italian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

In a speech in the presence of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the Italian Minister of Justice, several ministers, ambassadors and representatives of diplomatic missions, Ouahbi stressed the importance that the Kingdom attaches to exploring a new dimension of judicial cooperation, through the mechanisms of this protocol.

The Minister called on the delegations participating in this conference to combine their efforts for the effective implementation of the provisions of this 2nd Additional Protocol and to modernize its mechanisms, stressing that the Kingdom will work to achieve these objectives and reaffirms its full readiness to cooperate with other States to achieve cybersecurity for all parties.

Ouahbi stressed that “changes in our societies force us as nations and states to reconsider many concepts,” adding that if in the past, the commission of a crime required moving from one place to another, technological development has put an end to this traditional perception.

Computer crimes or crimes committed with the help of modern technologies or the Internet are by nature transcontinental crimes, which do not recognize the geographical borders of countries, said the Minister of Justice, adding that it is in this context that the Budapest Convention came to provide answers and solutions.

This convention, adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on November 8, 2001, has harmonized the criminal policy of Member States in the field of cybercrime and facilitate coordination between the various national authorities in the fight against cybercrime, in addition to the establishment of procedural rules of international cooperation characterized by speed, efficiency and accuracy, said the Minister.

Aware of the importance of this issue, the growing threat of cybercrime in the world and its social, economic and psychological repercussions, and given its regional context, where armed terrorist groups using cyberspace as a tool to promote their theses calling for bloodshed and intimidation of innocents, Morocco has expressed its willingness to engage with the member states of the Budapest Convention through its accession to this mechanism officially on October 1, 2010, he said.

In this regard, and in order to reaffirm its involvement in the relentless fight against cybercrime, the Kingdom has subscribed to the first additional protocol to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, concerning the criminalization of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems, which it ratified on June 29, 2018, Ouahbi explained.

He noted that after ratifying the Budapest Convention and its first additional protocol, Morocco was willing to express its effective and serious involvement in the fight against cybercrime in all its forms and has developed a draft criminal law criminalizing many acts related to cybercrime, which until recently posed great challenges to the Moroccan justice.

Source: Agency Morocaine De Presse