Summer Walker

The UN Ad Hoc Committee negotiating a treaty on Countering the Use of Information and Communications Technologies for Criminal Purposes (henceforth ‘AHC’) has completed its deliberations on a negotiating text before a zero draft treaty will be provided to states in June 2023.

In January, the AHC covered proposed chapters on criminalization, procedural measures and law enforcement, and general provisions. The most recent session, in April, reviewed the proposed chapters on international cooperation, technical assistance, prevention, implementation mechanism, final provisions, and the preamble. States and multi-stakeholders will now look ahead to debating a full zero draft at the next meeting in August 2023.

This brief analyzes the state of the negotiation process. It focuses on the fifth session, which ended in April 2023, with specific attention given to the chapters on international cooperation and technical assistance, which are seen by many member states as the key aims of the future convention.

It also provides an overview from the January meeting, where criminalization and procedural measures were addressed, focusing on the areas where the widest divergence was seen. The negotiations have been extremely detailed, resulting in a lengthy draft, so not all issues are summarized here. This brief outlines the types of negotiating groupings that governments have divided into, demonstrates how this plays out in negotiations and shows some of the underlying and overt areas of disagreement that will have to be somehow bridged in the August meeting. That meeting is meant to be the last in-person negotiation of the zero draft before a final draft treaty is adopted in early January 2024, so this is a critical moment to look at where the process is.

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