Chapter III – International co-operation

240. Chapter III contains a number of provisions relating to extradition and mutual legal assistance among the Parties.

Section 1 – General principles

Title 1 – General principles relating to international co-operation

General principles relating to international co-operation (Article 23)

241. Article 23 sets forth three general principles with respect to international co-operation under Chapter III.

242. Initially, the article makes clear that international co-operation is to be provided among Parties “to the widest extent possible.” This principle requires Parties to provide extensive co-operation to each other, and to minimise impediments to the smooth and rapid flow of information and evidence internationally.

243. Second, the general scope of the obligation to co-operate is set forth in Article 23: co-operation is to be extended to all criminal offences related to computer systems and data (i.e. the offences covered by Article 14, paragraph 2, litterae a-b), as well as to the collection of evidence in electronic form of a criminal offence. This means that either where the crime is committed by use of a computer system, or where an ordinary crime not committed by use of a computer system (e.g., a murder) involves electronic evidence, the terms of Chapter III are applicable. However, it should be noted that Articles 24 (Extradition), 33 (Mutual assistance regarding the real time collection of traffic data) and 34 (Mutual assistance regarding the interception of content data) permit the Parties to provide for a different scope of application of these measures.

244. Finally, co-operation is to be carried out both “in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter” and “through application of relevant international agreements on international co-operation in criminal matters, arrangements agreed to on the basis of uniform or reciprocal legislation, and domestic laws.” The latter clause establishes the general principle that the provisions of Chapter III do not supersede the provisions of international agreements on mutual legal assistance and extradition, reciprocal arrangements as between the parties thereto (described in greater detail in the discussion of Article 27 below), or relevant provisions of domestic law pertaining to international co-operation. This basic principle is explicitly reinforced in Articles 24 (Extradition), 25 (General principles relating to mutual assistance), 26 (Spontaneous information), 27 (Procedures pertaining to mutual assistance requests in the absence of applicable international agreements), 28 (Confidentiality and limitation on use), 31 (Mutual assistance regarding accessing of stored computer data), 33 (Mutual assistance regarding the real-time collection of traffic data) and 34 (Mutual assistance regarding the interception of content data).