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Attorney-General to look at intl legal challenges

Attorney-General to look at international legal challenges

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson will look at ways in which New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States can cooperate in the prosecution of those responsible for genocide, it was resolved at a meeting of Attorneys-General in London last night (New Zealand time).

Mr Finlayson is in London where he attended the Quintet meeting of the Attorneys-General of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United States, and England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Attorneys-General discussed challenges facing their countries in an increasingly globalised world, identifying organised crime, cyber-crime and terrorism as transnational issues that required a coordinated international response.

Each of the Attorneys-General was delegated responsibility for reviewing different areas of interest to the meeting, and will report back next year. (See below.)

“I was also particularly pleased that the meeting of Attorneys-General recognised the importance of pro bono work by the legal profession,” Mr Finlayson said. “This week is National Pro Bono Week in the United Kingdom. There is great value for both lawyers and the public in doing work in the community.”

Communique of Quintet of Attorneys-General of Australia, Canada, England and Wales and Northern Ireland, New Zealand and United States of America

Meeting on 9/10 November 2009, Lancaster House and Middle Temple, London, UK

The Attorneys-General of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States of America met with the Attorney-General of England and Wales and of Northern Ireland as a Quintet for the first time on 9 November 2009 in the State Drawing Room, Lancaster House, London.

Those present were: the Rt. hon. the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, Attorney-General of England, Wales and Attorney-General of Northern Ireland; the Hon Robert McClelland, MP, Attorney-General of Australia; the Hon Robert Douglas Nicholson QC MP, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; the Hon Christopher Finlayson, Attorney General of New Zealand; the Hon Eric Holder Jr, Attorney General for the USA; and Vera Baird QC MP, Solicitor General for England and Wales. Officials were also present.

The Attorneys-General identified a number of challenges common to each jurisdiction, including:

- that crime is increasingly complex and multi-faceted;
- that organised crime, cyber crime and terrorism are transnational issues requiring a coordinated international response;
- that, as well as being of significant benefit to society, the internet is increasingly used for criminal purposes, including terrorism, fraud and child exploitation;
- that perpetrators of genocide, terrorists and criminals should not find safe havens; and
- that exposure of children to violence, and violence committed by young people, are matters of concern to all our nations.

And the Attorneys-General recognised:
- that there is scope for all five countries to work together more closely to promote cooperation on legal frameworks at the international level, and to coordinate action across relevant agencies against organised crime, cybercrime, terrorism and perpetrators of genocide;
- the importance both of protecting freedom of expression and of addressing the unprecedented challenges all five countries face with regard to crime and terrorism;
- the need to work together to find the most effective interventions to reduce both violence directed against young children and youth crime; and
- the importance of promoting and supporting pro bono legal activity domestically and internationally, including capacity building, and the scope for joint planning and coordinating this activity for maximum impact.

In conclusion the Attorneys-General decided that they would:
- work jointly, inter alia, on: cybercrime; a framework on organized crime; terrorism; genocide; and innovative approaches to prevention of youth violence; and would meet annually.

(10 November 2009)

Joint Work Plan of the Quintet of the Attorneys-General of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States of America and the Attorney-General Of England and Wales and of Northern Ireland

At their meeting on 9th and 10th November 2009, the Attorneys-General of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States of America and the Attorney-General of England and Wales and Attorney-General of Northern Ireland decided that they would work together on the following issues during the course of the next year; and that each of them would lead on the particular issues against their name. Progress would be assessed in 6 months time and again at the next Quintet.
1. Making a collective approach to Internet Service Providers with a view to discussing standardised reporting of suspicious criminal activity, in particular terrorism, fraud and child exploitation. [England and Wales and Northern Ireland]
2. Drawing up a framework for cooperating in combating organised crime [Australia]
3. Examining cooperative approaches to prosecution of perpetrators of genocide including collection, preservation and sharing of evidence and facilitating hearings [New Zealand]
4. Sharing experience and best practices in relation to the challenges, in particular legal issues, posed by the removal of individuals who are ineligible to remain due to suspected involvement in terrorism or crime or due to other grounds of inadmissibility [Canada]
5. Preparing a review of approaches to preventing youth violence including early intervention and issues related to indigenous communities. [USA]
(10 November 2009)


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