turk-internet.com: What is the iSupport project?
Christophe Bernasconi : iSupport is a global electronic case management and communication system that the Hague Conference is planning to develop so as to facilitate the operation of the Hague Convention of 23November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. This important Convention, which has been signed already by the European Union and sixnon EU Member-States (incl. the USA but not Turkey), will benefit millions of children and adults around the world who rely on the timely and effective payment of child support or other maintenance obligations.
In a cross-border context, the establishment, variation, recognition, and enforcement of such obligations can be very time-consuming and difficult. The purpose of the 2007 Convention is to ensure the fast, efficient, simple, cost-effective, and results-oriented international recovery of child support and other maintenance payments. Taking into account the huge number of cross-border child support cases and the many challenges raised in cross-border contexts, one quickly realises that the Conventions goals can only be achieved through the effective use of information technology. As a result, iSupport will be designed as an information technology solution to facilitating child support and other maintenance payments.
Through the iSupport project, the Hague Conference is reaching out to States, companies and individuals to assist with the development of an electronic case management and communications system. The idea is to develop a single conduit that will then be used by most, if not all, Contracting States.
Given Turkeys impressive track-record when it comes to e-Government initiatives and their implementation, the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference is naturally turning to the relevant authorities in Turkey, such as the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications and the Internet Improvement Council, the Information and Communication Technologies Authority, the IT Law Institute of the Istanbul Bilgi University, to encourage them to participate in this important project. We hope that the response will be positive and we very much look forward to co-operating with Turkey on yet another important project. Of course Turkeys involvement with iSupport is only meaningful if and when Turkey also signs and then ratifies the Convention. We hope Turkey will take the relevant steps soon, particularly as the 2007 Convention is in fact designed to replace four old Hague Conventions of the late 50s and early 70s on the subject matter to which Turkey is a party but which are somewhat outdated.
turk-internet.com : What is your opinion about internet contribution to both positive and negative sides (while child abuses are increasing, to find the lost children for example it can be help?)
Christophe Bernasconi : The benefit of using information technology, particularly with respect to cross-border issues, is that communication is faster and easier than ever, so people on opposite sides of the world can speak to each other over the internet as if they were speaking in person. Information technology has the ability to reduce fraud, speed up communication, and minimise human error. This, among other things, results in the more effective and efficient operation of Hague Conventions.
Admittedly, while information technology is extremely useful, there are some downsides. There may be platform compatibility issues, particularly when you are dealing with entities in different countries. And irrespective of the possibility of information technology to reduce fraud, eventually even the most secure systems are likely to be hacked or broken. But in general, information technology can be used as a very useful and beneficial tool. It exponentially enhances the exchange of information at a higher level of security across international borders than more traditional means.
turk-internet.com : How the world and countries are approaching to this matter? Do you happy with the awareness level?
Christophe Bernasconi : Some countries are clearly more advanced than others when it comes to implementing information technology solutions. Turkey is doing very well in this regard in that it has several advanced electronic platforms established to facilitate the more efficient and effective delivery of government services.
Of course, not all countries are doing as well as Turkey and there is always more work to be done to make States more aware of the possibility of e-solutions.
turk-internet.com : What are your feelings about the Izmir e-APP Forum? Did you get the necessary attentions you believe?
Christophe Bernasconi : We are very satisfied with the outcome of the Izmir e-APP Forum and the level of attention it attracted. The highlight of course was Minister Yldrms address, in which he officially announced Turkeys plans to implement both components of the electronic Apostille Program (e-APP). We very much look forward to welcoming Turkey to the ever growing number of States issuing e-Apostilles and operating an e-Register of Apostilles. The e-APP greatly enhances the secure and effective operation of the Apostille Convention and Turkish citizens doing business abroad or foreigners wanting to settle or invest in Turkey should also benefit from these advantages.
The Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications of Turkey, the Internet Board of Turkey, the Information and Communication Technologies Authority of Turkey, and Yaar University have all been wonderful partners for this event. We are also very grateful indeed to Ms Leyla Keser Berber and her staff at the IT Law Institute, Istanbul Bilgi University for their excellent work and invaluable support in ensuring the success of the Forum. In bringing together approximately 120 experts from more than 30 States around the world, the Izmir Forum has surpassed our expectations and will be remembered as a milestone in the development of the e-APP.
turk-internet.com : Do you have any other issues to add beside my questions?
Christophe Bernasconi : I would like to see Turkey take a more active role in drafting, negotiating Hague Conventions. Given its strategic political importance, its multicultural population and multi-facetted origins, Turkey has a lot to contribute in this regard to the consensual, balanced and representative development and operation of our instruments.
Turkey could also gain a lot by joining some additional Hague instruments. For example, in 2004 Turkey signed the Access to Justice Convention, which is intended to facilitate, for any nationals or persons habitually resident in a State Party, access to justice in all the other States which are also Parties to the Convention; but Turkey has yet to take the necessary steps to ratify this instrument.
I would also strongly urge Turkey to consider becoming a party to the 2006 Hague Securities Convention, which provides legal certainty and predictability as to the law governing issues that are of huge practical importance for the electronic holding and transfer of securities. Turkeys financial sector would greatly benefit from this Convention. Finally, I would also respectfully invite the Turkish authorities to consider the 2005 Hague Choice of Court Convention, which will enhance Turkeys ability to assure legal certainty for entities doing business in Turkey and abroad.
Find the Turkish translation of this mail interview by clicking here.