The Convention on Cybercrime, also known as the “Budapest Convention”, is regarded as an international standard in dealing with cybercrime and electronic evidence. It serves as a guideline for any country developing comprehensive national legislation against Cybercrime, and as a framework for international cooperation between State Parties to this treaty.

A recent communication by the Council of Europe highlights some of the key benefits of countries becoming party to the Budapest Convention treaty, and the key considerations involved.

What types of activity does the Budapest Convention cover?

As outlined by the Council of Europe, the Budapest Convention provides for:

  • the criminalisation of conduct – ranging from illegal access, data and systems interference to computer-related fraud and child pornography;
  • procedural law tools to make the investigation of cybercrime and the securing of electronic evidence more effective; and

The treaty is open for accession by any country.

How do countries benefit from becoming a Party to the Budapest Convention?

While any country may make use of the Budapest Convention as a guideline, there are additional benefits in becoming a party to this treaty, as outlined by the Council of Europe.

  • The convention provides a legal framework for international cooperation on cybercrime and electronic evidence, and there are provisions for cooperation among Parties “to the widest extent possible”.
  • Parties are members of the Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY) which currently is the most relevant intergovernmental body dealing with cybercrime. Parties benefit from sharing information and experience.
  • Parties are able to participate in the negotiation of future instruments and the further evolution of the Budapest Convention.
  • Parties to the Convention engage with each other in trusted and efficient cooperation, and there are indications that private sector entities are more likely to cooperate with criminal justice authorities of Parties to the Convention.
  • States requesting accession or having acceded may become priority countries for capacity building programmes, to facilitate full implementation of the Convention and enhance the ability to cooperate internationally.

Which countries are Parties to the Convention?

By early October 2018, 61 States were Parties to the Convention (European countries as well as Argentina, Australia, Canada, Cabo Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Israel, Japan, Panama, Mauritius, Morocco, Paraguay, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Senegal, Tonga and the USA), an additional 4 countries had signed it (European countries as well as South Africa), and 6 countries had been invited to accede (Colombia, Ghana, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Tunisia).