Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Legal Updates - June 2, 2015

Ratifying the Arab Convention on Combating Information Technology Offences

Royal Decree 5 of 2015, published in the Official Gazette on 8 March 2015 (the “Ratification”), ratifies the Arab Convention on Combating Information Technology Offences signed by the Sultanate of Oman on 15 February 2012 (the “Convention”). Such Convention shall be effective thirty days from the date of ratification, approval or adoption documents by seven Arab states who have signed up to the Convention, (hereinafter referred to as “States” or as “State” in the singular). Currently, of the 22 countries to have signed the Convention, only the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman have ratified.

The Ratification has committed Oman to fulfilling the aims of the Convention which are to: (1) enhance and strengthen cooperation among the States; (2) ward off the threats of information technology offences; and (3) protect the security and interests as well as the community of the States.

The Convention applies to information technology offences that are committed in:

  1. more than one State;
  2. a State and prepared, planned, directed, or supervised in another State.
  3. a State with more involvement of an organised crime group; or
  4. a State and had more severe consequences in another State.

Offences that are covered by the Convention include but are not limited to the following:

  1. offences of illicit access;
  2. offences against data integrity;
  3. offence of misuse of information technology;
  4. offence of fraud;
  5. offence of pornography;
  6. offence against privacy; and
  7. offences related to terrorism committed by using information technology.

Each State is to form a specialised body whose primary aim is to assist with investigations, procedures related to the offences above, and to gather evidence. The specialised body will cooperate with other States in order to mutually assist, to the fullest extent possible, with procedures related to information technology offences.

Ratifying the Arab Convention against Organised Transnational Crime

On 15 February 2012 the Sultanate of Oman signed the Arab Convention against Organised Transnational Crime (the “OTC Convention”) effective as of 5 May 2013. The aim of the OTC Convention is to enhance cooperation among the Arab states who have signed up to the OTC Convention (“State”), and to prevent and combat organised transnational crime. Royal Decree 6 of 2015, published by the Official Gazette on 8 March 2015, ratified the OTC Convention, making Oman the eighth State to have ratified.

The OTC Convention sets out that each State shall adopt legislation and other measures so that it is in line with the OTC Convention. It covers penal provisions relating to:

  1. money laundering;
  2. corruption;
  3. crimes of private sector;
  4. fraud on financial and banking institutions;
  5. forgery and counterfeiting currency;
  6. trafficking persons;
  7. removal of and trading in human organs;
  8. smuggling migrants;
  9. maritime piracy;
  10. seizing and illegal trading in monuments;
  11. assault on environment and transport of hazardous waste and dangerous materials;
  12. illegal trafficking in wild flora and fauna;
  13. activities related to narcotic substances;
  14. illegal manufacture and trafficking in firearms;
  15. theft and smuggling motor vehicles;
  16. illicit use of information and technology systems; and
  17. joining an organised criminal group.