In the framework of the European project ACT, to counter terrorism in Lebanon, a workshop was held to strengthen cooperation between the justice and security sectors in the field of digital forensics
An advanced workshop on the coordination between Lebanese judges and law enforcement agencies on lawful collection of digital evidence was held at the Ministry of Justice in Beirut under the FIIAPP led ACT Project. During three days, more than forty officials from the judiciary and law enforcement exchanged best practices, protocols and internal procedures on investigation, collection, seizure, chain of custody of digital evidence in line with Lebanese existing regulation on this matter (Law 81).
The working sessions included several table top exercises, eight simulations based on fictitious scenarios taken from real-life cases, in which joint teams of judges and representatives from the four Lebanese Law Enforcement Agencies had to solve cases related to cyber terrorism and cybercrime. “These interactive sessions were crucial to coordinate the roles and responsibilities of our judges and Law Enforcement Agencies in the legal, administrative and procedural practices of digital forensics and lawful collection”, Minister of Justice Henri Khoury said. “Thanks to this exercise, we are able to identify current challenges and needs, and the existing coordination gaps”, he added.
For the realisation of these simulations, a Spanish judge from the National Court (Audiencia Nacional), and a French and Spanish Counter Terrorism and Cybersecurity police investigators, contributed to the development of the simulations and the technical discussions with their Lebanese peers. “Through the exchange of best practices, we enhance the capacities of our security and justice officials following the latest ways of cyber criminality in both sides of the Mediterranean”, Major General Mostafa Mohamad said, who acts as Secretary General of the Higher Council of Defence at the Presidency of Council of Ministers.
This workshop is developed in the framework of the ACT project “Advance Counter Terrorism for Lebanon Security”, funded by the EU and led by FIIAPP, in consortium with CIVIPOL (France) and Arma di Carabinieri (Italy).The Project Director, Koussay Boulaich, emphasised FIIAPP´s commitment to support the Lebanese Government in implementing strategic reforms in CT matters in these very difficult moments: “It is such a great pleasure to work with very committed partners from 17 state institutions with direct roles and responsibilities in countering terrorism and cybercrimes guided and grounded by the principles of trust and building consensus”.
The opening was chaired by the Minister of Justice, Henri Khoury; General Mostafa Mohamad, Secretary General of the Higher Council of Defence, chair of the ACT Inter Ministerial Committee; Alessandra Viezzer, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation. Participants also included Spain´s Ambassador to Lebanon, Jesús Santos, the General Prosecutor, Mr. Ghassan Oueidat and senior officials from all seventeen ministries and institutions.
The organisation and coordination of this activity was carried out by Dra. Lina Oueidat, ACT Facilitator and Advisor to the Prime Minister; with support from Jesús Arias, from the Spanish National Police as ACT Team Leader, Carine Hage and Vincent Desroches, ACT Human Rights and Cyber Security Experts, based in Beirut. They highlighted the strategic importance of bringing together Law Enforcement Agencies, magistrates and key actors of the Lebanese cyber ecosystem to fight terrorism and cybercrimes, improving their capacities, fighting cybercrimes while respecting the rights of persons under investigation.