22 November 201913:18

Comment by the Information and Press Department on the UN General Assembly Third Committee vote on the Russian-led resolution on combating cybercrime


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The Russia-initiated resolution on countering the criminal use of information and communication technology was adopted by a majority of the vote at a meeting of the Third Committee of the 74th UN General Assembly in New York on November 18.

The document was co-sponsored by 47 states:  Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, China, Congo, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Eswatini, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Libya, Madagascar, Myanmar, Nauru, Nicaragua, Niger, North Korea, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zimbabwe. The resolution was supported by 88 countries while 58 voted against it, including Canada, the EU, Georgia, Israel, the US, the UK and Ukraine, with 34 countries abstained.

The approval by the Third Committee shows the great relevance of this resolution in the international community and the need to develop a universal and equally accessible comprehensive convention on combating cybercrime, a transnational phenomenon that has a trans-border nature.

The Russia-sponsored resolution effectively secures the digital sovereignty of states over their information space and opens a new page in the history of the global fight against cybercrime. In practical terms, it creates a negotiation platform under the auspices of the UN General Assembly to develop a universal convention to combat cybercrime. A relevant Ad Hoc Committee will include experts from around the world. The UN conventions against corruption and transnational organised crime have been developed through a similar procedure.

Russia and its supporters view this convention as another universal international criminal law instrument focused on crimes involving the use of information and communication technology, aimed at combating the unlawful use of ICT, and comprehensive in content, based on the principles of respect for each state’s sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of others.

The resolution expressly stipulates that the Committee will rely on the existing relevant international and regional instruments, and will take into account the final recommendations of the Vienna Expert Group on Cybercrime.

The Committee is expected to hold its first session in New York in 2020, and substantive work on the text of the convention will begin in 2021.







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