G8 JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS MINISTERIAL MEETING
We, the Justice and Home Affairs Ministers of the G8 States, at the invitation of Ministers Kunio Hatoyama and Shinya Izumi of the Japanese Presidency, met in Tokyo and, together with a European Commission representative, discussed matters of shared concerns. Ministers of the EU Presidency (Slovenia) and the Secretary General of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) were present as our guests. We also heard presentations from the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Director of the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI).
We focused on various measures taken by the G8 states to counter transnational organized crime and international terrorism and discussed how we can collaborate and enhance our efforts. We also discussed the importance of capacity building assistance to countries that require support in developing more effective legal systems and law enforcement capacity.
International terrorism continues to present a global threat, despite concerted efforts across the globe to prevent it. Since 11 September 2001, large-scale terrorist attacks in New York, Washington D.C., Madrid, Moscow, London and other areas around the world have highlighted the continuing danger and evolving nature of terrorism. We reaffirm our strong condemnation of all terrorist acts, including bomb attacks, hijackings, kidnappings, and abductions, irrespective of their motivation, whenever and by whomever committed. Such acts represent one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, as well as the rule of law. Mindful of our responsibility in the fight against terrorism in the international community, we affirmed that it is necessary to continue to support and strengthen our concerted counter-terrorism efforts, to share the knowledge and experience that the G8 states possess, and to further promote active, targeted counter-terrorism efforts in order to win the global fight against terrorism. We also affirmed that respect for fundamental human rights is a key component of global efforts against terrorism.
We are deeply concerned not only about acts committed by terrorist organizations but about the increasing tendency throughout many countries for individuals with no affiliation to terrorist organizations to become radicalized and subsequently perpetrate terrorist acts. The London terrorist bombings of 2005 and other attacks or attempted attacks in locations such as Glasgow and Barcelona demonstrate an alarming trend that must be thoroughly challenged. The threat of terrorism by radicalized individuals remains grave, and addressing radicalization leading to violence is an issue that requires the cooperation of the G8 states, and partner countries around the world.
Each G8 state has analyzed trends in radicalization leading to violence, and based on these analyses, new countermeasures have been identified. In this way, we have advanced activities to strengthen the safety and security of our citizens and the international community. Due to the development and spread of modern information and communications technologies such as the Internet, it has become increasingly easy to access and disseminate violent extremist ideas, to acquire knowledge about bomb-making methods, and to network and recruit for violent purposes. Given the ever advancing sophistication of this enabling environment for radicalization leading to violence, the G8 states are making a variety of efforts to address this issue, which include working to enhance community policing efforts and community outreach, and developing and maintaining good relationships with local communities, as well as striving to prevent radicalization leading to violence and to detect its signs at an early stage.
We welcome the work done by the Roma-Lyon Group in analyzing individual cases of radicalization leading to violence in the G8 states. We also affirmed the necessity to continue efforts to prevent terrorism by radicalized individuals.
Terrorist organizations are seeking to expand their influence by enhancing mutual linkages. In particular, there have been cases where terrorist organizations which had primarily been active in a domestic context have now received support from international terrorist organizations, or have decided to affiliate themselves with such organizations. As a result, we have seen an increase in the range of terrorist targets, using methods designed to maximize disruption and causalities. These developments not only increase the threat of terrorism in these regions, but also point to the expanding global influence of terrorist organizations, which makes the issue of international terrorism even more serious.
We affirmed the necessity of paying special attention to these trends in terrorist organizations. In order to tackle such trends, we recognize the importance of further promoting intelligence gathering by relevant authorities in the G8 states and continuing to share information among them comprehensively and rapidly.
We confirmed the necessity to provide special protection for critical energy infrastructure against terrorist threats, given the large-scale damage that would be incurred in the event of a terrorist attack on such infrastructure. At the same time, we confirmed the necessity of similar protection measures for critical information infrastructure, due to the fact that our society and the economy are increasingly dependent on such infrastructure including the Internet. We note that the G8 has taken a leadership role in the protection of critical information infrastructure for over five years, and has addressed the issue of infrastructure protection for rail, pipelines and energy.
We welcome the Roma-Lyon Group’s efforts to compile a set of best practices for addressing critical infrastructure protection, and request that the Group continues with related activities and measures.
We discussed a phenomenon often referred to as identity-related crime. “ID-related crime” is not a formal legal concept, and here it is meant to broadly cover unlawful conduct involving abuse of identities. It includes falsification, alteration, as well as unauthorized acquisition, transfer, possession or use of identification documents and identification information. Referring to these activities collectively as ID-related crime does not imply that every aspect of such conduct has already been made a criminal offense or that it should be criminalized.
The ability to uniquely identify individuals constitutes a critical element of modern societies. Various forms of identification documents and identification information are used in a broad range of public and private activities; as a result, the impact of their abuse can be far-reaching and enormous. In the G8 states and around the world, the misuse of identification documents and identification information is employed as an instrument of economic fraud, as well as a method by which criminals destroy evidence, avoid detection or punishment, and conceal their proceeds. Telecommunications and computer technology innovations and the widespread use of the Internet have added further dimensions to the problem. While these developments have made commerce and communication much easier and faster, increasing distance between crimes, criminals, and victims has opened up new opportunities for those who engage in ID-related crime to exploit. Available statistical and empirical data are limited, but criminals are found to generate significant profits from ID-related crime, and we share the perception that, collectively, economic consequences of ID-related crime are enormous. Importantly, the available data also suggests that ID-related crime is linked to certain types of organized crime and terrorist activity. These links are disturbing and causes for serious concern.
Vigorous actions are being taken to counter the problem, and we shared experiences and exchanged views on the methods by which identity criminals operate and on the measures and approaches taken to prosecute and punish them. In addition to actively pursuing and tracking down these criminals, the G8 states are implementing and enhancing preventive measures as well.
We also discussed various legislative approaches taken by G8 states to address ID-related crime. G8 states apply fraud, forgery or other general provisions to punish criminal conduct committed through abuses of identity. Some have supplemented this traditional approach by specifically criminalizing certain conduct at earlier stages; acquisition, transfer or storing of electromagnetic data of credit cards and banking cards for illicit purposes being one such example. Some others have focused on basic abuses of identity as such, and have enacted or are developing statutes that criminalize the acquisition of identifying information itself as well as its transfer or sale, if committed with criminal intent. Regardless of differences in legislative approaches, we are in complete accord that ID-related crime is an alarming global issue and constitutes a new challenge to criminal justice and law enforcement. We need to develop better understanding of the nature, scope and extent of this emerging problem, and for that purpose, we recognize the usefulness of experience-sharing and discussions in international forums. In this regard, an important study has been done by the Intergovernmental Experts Group at the United Nations, and our experts at the Roma/Lyon Group have produced a best practices document aimed at strengthening the domestic identification and certification system. Our experts are also working to study further the problems of criminal misuse of identifying documents and identifying information. We commend these efforts made so far, and instruct our Roma/Lyon experts to continue advancing their work to prevent and combat ID-related crime and, to the extent desirable, to share their work product widely, as this problem is not limited to our own countries, but rather is global in scope.
ID-related crime with respect to travel documents is another area of concern that merits special attention. Our ability to effectively control national borders and block known terrorists and organized criminals from moving across them depends in large part on the accuracy of personal identification and verification made at the port of entry and during the passport and visa application processes. States have begun utilizing biometric information in order to improve the accuracy of such identification and verification and to assist in the detection of tampering and falsification of travel documents. While privacy and other interests of legitimate travelers must be respected, we are convinced that, properly administered, the use of biometrics can facilitate smoother, safer, stricter and securer border control.
We reiterate that ID-related crime is a pressing global issue, both old and new at the same time. We will continue with our efforts to counter it, while at the same time facilitating and protecting the legitimate activities of governments, individuals and public and private entities.
COUNTERMEASURES AGAINST DRUG CRIMES
We recognized that although drug crimes differ in various regions depending upon the major drugs of abuse and their trafficking routes, the trafficking of illicit drugs across international borders is a significant source of income for organized crime groups and some terrorist organizations. Given the severe impact illicit drugs have on public health, we affirmed that in this area too, it is necessary for the G8 to continue to contribute to the promotion of international cooperation with other countries.
We remain concerned about the regional security implications of the heroin trade in Afghanistan and the cocaine trade in Latin America, and we expressed strong support for the Governments of Afghanistan and Colombia in their fight against illicit drug cultivation. In addition, we are concerned about the growth of new illicit synthetic drugs and the precursor chemicals required to produce these drugs. Unlike illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin, the production and trafficking of synthetic drugs are notoriously difficult to assess. In order to combat these developments we decided to actively utilize all measures, both domestic and international at our disposal, including scientific methods, such as impurity profiling.
We are also concerned that the distribution of illegal drugs still exists in all regions of the world, and by the threat that this poses to the health of our citizens and to the integrity and stability of states affected by drug production and transit. We affirmed that in order for the G8 states to break these drug distribution networks and achieve sustainable reductions in the availability of illegal drugs, it would be beneficial for each G8 state to further promote measures to enhance international cooperation, and to continue to share the results and achievements of such cooperation.
The upcoming High-Level Segment of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) is scheduled to be held in March 2009 and will engage in follow-up and assessment of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs that was held at United Nations Headquarters in New York in June 1998. We affirmed that in the forum of the G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting, in view of the importance of gaining opportunities to share knowledge about measures to tackle drug crimes, it is necessary for the G8 states to accelerate effective counter measures against drug crimes including the accurate cognizance and analysis of the drug situation, and effective law enforcement cooperation to dismantle illicit drug trafficking organizations.
UNIVERSAL NETWORKING AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME
We recognize our common concern that transnational organized crime, which threatens civil society and has a severe impact on the rule of law and market economy, is further expanding in the international community.
We acknowledged the important role played by INTERPOL in recent years in the development of investigative infrastructure. INTERPOL has provided the foundation for the development of the G8-led initiative on a DNA I-24/7 Search Request Network and developed INTERPOL Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database, and its global and operational role continues to grow in importance each year. In order to make these and other investigative infrastructures of INTERPOL even more effective, we decided to provide the necessary cooperation and assistance to the extent that circumstances allow in each G8 state. From that perspective, we welcome the efforts of INTERPOL to construct the database on international intellectual property (DIIP) crime.
We confirmed our views that in efforts to crack down on transnational organized crime it is of the utmost importance to utilize effectively the variety of information held by relevant authorities such as the police, immigration, and customs, considering personal information protection system of each state. We decided that we will continue to exchange knowledge about our respective systems or mechanisms to integrate information.
Mindful that the development and spread of modern information and communications technologies has allowed many criminals greater opportunities to perpetrate their crimes with a higher degree of anonymity, reach victims anywhere in the world, and that the electronic evidentiary trail they leave is often short-lived, we share concerns that the tracking capabilities of law enforcement authorities are falling behind the capabilities of criminals abusing modern communication technologies. Under those concerns, we confirmed that law enforcement authorities should continue to enhance their capabilities so that they can identify and prosecute such criminals anywhere in the world. This year the Roma/Lyon Group has addressed this issue with regard to telecommunications with the goal of sharing beneficial information among the member states. This work has resulted in the recommendation to ensure the closer cooperation between the telephone industry and the law enforcement agencies. We highly value this work and anticipate that law enforcement agencies and the communication industries in each state will work to build a more cooperative relationship.
We also recognized the importance of close co-operation among law enforcement agencies, service providers and other civil organizations in conjunction with “Hotlines” which receive reports of illegal content on the Internet in order to deal with criminal use of the Internet. Regarding this issue, we highly appreciate a set of the outcomes developed by Roma-Lyon Group.
Finally, we note the continued expansion and successful use of the G8’s 24/7 High Tech Crime Point of Contact Network, now comprised of countries from around the world, which has facilitated international cooperation particularly where electronic evidence is involved. We commend efforts to further expand, strengthen and train this Network.
CAPACITY BUILDING ASSISTANCE
Transnational organized crime and international terrorism are global issues that require global responses. It is vital for all countries, extending well beyond the G8 states, to ratify and fully implement the universal legal instruments designed to tackle these issues more effectively; namely, the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementary protocols, the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the thirteen counter-terrorism conventions and protocols, as well as the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime.
We reaffirm the importance of G8 leadership in promoting their ratification and implementation
We shared experiences and good practices in providing assistance to countries that require support in developing legislation to fight transnational organized crime and international terrorism, promoting domestic implementation of relevant conventions, protocols and resolutions, building police and law enforcement capacity, and strengthening mechanisms for international legal cooperation such as extradition and mutual legal assistance. Recognizing the importance of providing such assistance, today we have issued a separate declaration, entitled the “G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Declaration on Capacity Building Assistance.” We also spoke of Afghanistan and reached common recognition that rebuilding Afghanistan is in the interests of global and regional stability.
We also exchanged views regarding the fundamental importance of assistance for justice-sector institution building. An independent and effective justice system is not only a prerequisite for effective countermeasures against organized crime and terrorism, but is also an invaluable public asset in its own right. We firmly believe that justice-sector technical assistance in developing judicial systems and basic laws and training the legal profession is an equally important endeavor.
We reaffirm our commitment to continue our efforts, through appropriate bilateral, regional or multilateral channels, in providing assistance within the scope of our authority and improving the quality of the assistance delivered. We also call upon our partners around the world to join us in these important efforts.
THE FIGHT AGAINST SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN
We strongly condemn and denounce all forms of sexual exploitation of children, including the practice of persons traveling abroad and engaging in sexual conduct with children, as well as the alarming flood of images of sexual abuse of children – so-called “child pornography” - on the Internet. G8 states have, with an unwavering will, continued with their efforts to improve their ability to prevent, investigate and prosecute these heinous crimes against children.
We have continued to discuss these subjects at our annual meetings, and last year in Munich, we took them up as one of the main topics of discussion. We also issued a separate declaration entitled “Reinforcing the International Fight Against Child Pornography” that highlighted the importance of the issue.
We followed up on these discussions, and provided updates and shared new developments. In this respect, the adoption of the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse represents considerable progress in the effort to protect children. We also acknowledge with appreciation the important initiatives our experts have continued to advance in this area. They are organizing an international research symposium to examine the effects on children of the spread of images of child sexual abuse and are developing a G8 International “Most Wanted” website: a mechanism to more efficiently find and trace child sex offenders across borders and around the world. They are also working to improve training for law enforcement officials and to enhance international law enforcement cooperation to better combat the sexual exploitation of children, particularly in the forms of “sex tourism” and child pornography which is nothing more than a permanent record of the sexual abuse of children. Moreover, they have undertaken examinations of law enforcement responses to the phenomenon of child abduction for the purposes of sexual exploitation, as well as how our respective legal regimes address “child abduction” with a view to maximizing our capacity to cooperate in this area. We welcome these efforts and instruct the Roma-Lyon Group to pursue them diligently, and we renew our own pledge to continue with the fight against sexual exploitation of children.