Media Center

Press Release


  June 23, 2003

A two-day meeting opened at the Organization of American States in Washington today, with experts discussing how to intensify strategies against Internet-based crimes.

Inaugurating the meeting, OAS Secretary General César Gaviria told the government experts on cyber-crime that, given the international scope of the problem, “mutual judicial cooperation and assistance is vital to prevent, pursue and punish” Internet-based crime.

He said collective action by all is crucial because this new form of crime—which he identified among the greatest challenges to international judicial cooperation—poses a severe threat to any state and to others with which it is connected. “The September 11 terrorist acts and the development of transnational organized crime have made it clear that we must speed up efforts to strengthen and consolidate international cooperation to effectively combat a variety of international crime mechanisms.”

Recalling earlier recommendations on the subject, Gaviria urged states that have not yet done so to adopt the necessary measures to identify or strengthen specialized units to investigate and pursue cyber-crimes. He also spoke about terrorist groups exploiting the Internet, and insisted that “It is unacceptable for illegal armed groups, such as those committing terrorist acts in Colombia, to be able to abuse tools like the Internet to defend their criminal deeds.”

In his opening remarks Dr. Enrique Lagos, the OAS’ Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs, explained that the during their meeting the experts would follow up on recommendations from the previous Meetings of Ministers of Justice of the Americas. They will also consider drawing up hemispheric legal instruments and model legislation for submission to the Fifth Meeting of Justice Ministers of the Americas.

Leonard Bailey, a trial attorney with the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the U.S.Department of Justice, was elected to chair the meeting whose agenda includes an overview of OAS work on cyber-rime; review of the mandate of the experts’ group; discussions on the extent of the cyber-crime problem; and a roundtable featuring initiatives by certain countries to combat cyber-crime.

Before wrapping up their meeting on Tuesday, the governmental experts will adopt a number of recommendations and also discuss a cyber-security meeting that is slated for Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 23 to 29.

Reference: E-119/03