The bilateral agreement between Cyprus and Russia on cooperation in fighting crime, especially in its organized forms, has been recently ratified by law N.3(III)/2017. The agreement, which was signed in Moscow in April 2016, sets out a framework for cooperation between the two countries in their efforts to maintain security and public order, and particularly for the purposes of prevention, discovery, suppression and detection of crime.
The primary focus of the agreement is serious crimes including the trafficking of drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors, trafficking of human beings, sexual exploitation and child pornography, offences related to illegal migration, illegal production, trafficking and possessions of firearms, explosives and other potential weapons of mass destruction, illicit trafficking of cultural and historical treasures, cyber-crime, offenses against property in the area of economic activity, corruption and production and sale of forged money, documents and securities.
The agreement provides for several forms of cooperation between the contracting states, including the exchanging of operational and scientific information, as well as information and experience related to prevention, discovery, suppression and detection of crime and new methods of committing offences, assistance in implementation of operational search activities, assistance in search for persons, identification of persons who are unable to identify themselves because of their state of health or age, as well as unidentified bodies of deceased persons, holding working meetings and training of the staff of the competent authorities.
The Cyprus authorities responsible for implementing the cooperation between the two countries are the Ministry of Justice and Public Order, the Legal Service, the police, the Unit for Combating Money Laundering, the Department of Customs and Excise, the Cyprus Anti-drugs Council and the Civil Registry and Migration Department. The assistance and reporting within the context of the Agreement will be carried out based on the request of the competent authorities of one of the contracting states or on the initiative of either of the parties. Each of the contracting states will ensure the confidentiality of the information received.
The agreement reinforces the cooperation between Russia and Cyprus in combating transnational crime and its incorporation into domestic law is a welcome development in this field.