Ambassador’s Remarks at the Council of Europe Cybercrimes Program Launch

Ambassador’s Remarks at the Council of Europe Cybercrimes Program Launch,  November 14, 2023

(As prepared) 

Deputy Minister Dobra, Council of Europe Head of Cybercrime Division Alexander Seger, distinguished guests.

Good morning.

I’m honored to participate in this official launch of CYBERKOP – a new action against cybercrime in Kosovo that will enhance cooperation among international partners to protect citizens from cybercrime and hold criminals accountable.

Through this program, the United States, in partnership with the Council of Europe Octopus project, will help ensure that the criminal justice system responds more effectively to cybercrime through the implementation of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, its Protocols and related standards.

The United States has supported the Council of Europe’s Octopus Project since its launch in 1996 through our Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

We consider the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime as the global “gold standard;” it is the most significant international agreement on cybercrime and electronic evidence.

We have been a a Party to the Convention since 2006, and we fully support Kosovo integrating the Budapest protocols and standards into your legislation to strengthen your criminal justice capabilities and responses.

The convention fosters cooperation and electronic evidence sharing and sets common cybercrime principles among international partners.

Through participation in this new program, Kosovo is underscoring its commitment to fighting cybercrime.

We are your partner in this effort.

We are committed to promoting international cooperation to deter adversaries, mitigate threats, and protect citizens against transnational organized cyber criminals.

Now, the stakes are real.  We continue to see an increase in cyberattacks throughout the Balkans.

And as technology evolves, so do the methods used by cybercriminals who constantly find new ways to exploit vulnerabilities.

Over the past three years, Kosovo has experienced a significant increase in cyberattacks.

Some notable attacks include wealth gain schemes, attacks on banks, hacking of politician profiles, cyber scams, and, worst of all, child exploitation.

As the pace, scale, and sophistication of cybercrimes continues to increase, we want to ensure that law enforcement institutions have and deploy tools to combat these crimes.

Cybercrimes do not respect borders, so we need to focus on ensuring Kosovo can cooperate across borders with other international law enforcement agencies to share evidence.

The criminal justice sector also needs a modern legislative framework to ensure prosecution to bring cybercriminals to justice.

I appreciate that we are joined today by representatives of various Kosovan agencies who share this commitment to protecting our collective cyberspace from transnational cyber criminals.

Thank you for your participation.

I look forward to hearing more from the Council of Europe team on progress made to implement CYBERKOP.