LYON, France – The first phase of a project to determine the legal feasibility of electronically transmitting mutual legal assistance exchanges (e-MLA) concluded on 13 September 2018 following a two-day working group hosted by INTERPOL.
Co-sponsored by the Austrian Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and the French Ministry of Justice, INTERPOL has organized three working group meetings since November 2017 which were attended by mutual legal assistance practitioners from some 15 countries across the globe, as well as by experts from international organizations active in the field of international cooperation in criminal matters.
From surveys and discussions conducted with the working group participants, a legal feasibility study concluded that there is a need for the secure, electronic transmission of mutual legal assistance exchanges in order to keep pace with the increase in transnational criminal activity affecting countries and communities.
The study found that existing legislation, at both the domestic and international level, is capable of supporting the legal basis for such electronic transmission.
Working group participants also agreed on the functional requirements for the e-MLA system which will form the basis for the next phase of the initiative – the development of a technical platform for use, on a voluntary basis, by INTERPOL’s 192 member countries when carrying out MLA exchanges.
The user requirements for the system will be governed by the e-MLA Rules, as formulated by the final working group, and which will ultimately be presented for adoption by INTERPOL’s General Assembly.