Tunisia becomes the 70th party to Convention on Cybercrime – Budapest Convention

With Tunisia’s accession, 70 states are now oarties, two have signed it and 21 have been invited to accede to the Budapest Convention.

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According to the Ministry of Communication Technologies, Tunisia officially became the 70th signatory state to the Budapest Convention on 8 March 2024. In a ceremony held in Strasbourg, Badreddine Jalidi, the Consul General of Tunisia, submitted the accession document in the presence of Bjorn Berge, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, as stated in a press release from the Council.

The Ministry emphasised that Tunisia’s decision to join the Budapest Convention is a result of national efforts and collaboration among the ministries of Communication Technologies, Foreign Affairs, Interior, and Justice, along with other state structures. The primary objective is to address crimes associated with information and communication systems, safeguard the national cyberspace, and protect users of information and communication technologies from cyber attacks.

According to the Ministry, the Basic Law approving Tunisia’s accession to the Budapest Convention was adopted on 23 November 2001 and was officially published in the Official Gazette on 6 February 2024. The Assembly of People’s Representatives endorsed the law during a plenary session on the same day.

Tunisia’s inclusion in the Budapest Convention aims to strengthen global efforts against cybercrime and ensure the protection of the rights of individuals and victims affected by cyber offenses. The Convention is expected to enable national structures to effectively combat crimes related to information and communication systems. Additionally, it provides opportunities for member countries to benefit from expertise, training, and approved legal procedures, particularly concerning the exchange of information among participating nations.

About the Convention

The Convention mandates that each signatory state incorporate a specified list of crimes into its own legislation. In simple terms, this involves criminalising activities such as illegal hacking (including the creation, sale, or distribution of hacking tools), actions related to child pornography, and broadening criminal responsibility to encompass unlawful content, including violations of intellectual property.

The Convention requires each signatory state to establish specific procedural mechanisms for digital investigations. For instance, law enforcement authorities must be empowered to compel an Internet service provider (ISP) to monitor real-time traffic (Article 20). Additionally, signatory states are obliged to extend international cooperation to the ‘widest extent possible’ for investigations, legal proceedings, or the collection of electronic evidence (Article 23).