Resolution 1258 (2001)
Democracies facing terrorism
The members of the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe and the 800 million Europeans whom
it represents were horrified by the recent terrorist attacks against
the United States of America.
The Assembly conveys its
deepest sympathies to the people of the United States and to the families
of the victims, including citizens of other countries.
The Assembly condemns in
the strongest possible terms these barbaric terrorist acts. It considers
these attacks as a crime that violates the most fundamental human right:
the right to life.
The Assembly calls on the
international community to give all necessary support to the Government
of the United States of America in dealing with the consequences of these
attacks and in bringing the perpetrators to justice, in line with existing
international anti-terrorist conventions and United Nations Security
The Assembly regards the
new International Criminal Court as the appropriate institution to consider
The Assembly welcomes,
supports and sharesthe solidarity shown by members ofthe international
community, which has not only condemned these attacks, but also offered
to co-operate in an appropriate response.
These attacks have shown
clearly the real face of terrorism and the need for a new kind of response.
This terrorism does not recognise borders. It is an international problem
to which international solutions must be found based on a global political
approach. The world community must show that it will not capitulate to
terrorism, but that it will stand more strongly than before for democratic
values, the rule of law and the defence of human rights and fundamental
There can be no justification
for terrorism. The Assembly considers these terrorist actions to be crimes
rather than acts of war. Any actions, either by the United States acting
alone or as a part of a broader international coalition, must be in line
with existing United Nations anti-terrorist conventions and Security
Council resolutions and must focus on bringing the perpetrators, organisers
and sponsors of these crimes to justice, instead of inflicting a hasty
At the same time, the Assembly
believes that long-term prevention of terrorism must include a proper
understanding of its social, economic, political and religious roots
and of the individual?s capacity for hatred. If these issues are properly
addressed, it will be possible to seriously undermine the grass roots
support for terrorists and their recruitment networks.
The Assembly supports the
idea of elaborating and signing at the highest level an international
convention on combating terrorism, which should contain a comprehensive
definition of international terrorism as well as specific obligations
for participating states to prevent acts of terrorism on a national and
global scale and to punish their organisers and executors.
The recent terrorist acts
appear to have been undertaken by extremistswho have used violence with
a view to provoking a serious clash between the West and the Islamic
world. Therefore, the Assembly emphasises that any action to prevent
or punish terrorist acts must not discriminate on ethnic or religious
grounds and must not be directed against any religious or ethnic community.
If military action is part
of a response to terrorism, the international community must clearly
define its objectives and should avoid targeting civilians. Any action
should be taken in conformity with international law and with the agreement
of the United Nations Security Council. The Assembly therefore welcomes
Security Council Resolution 1368 (2001), which expresses the Council?s
readiness to take all necessary steps to respond to the attacks of 11 September
2001 and to combat all forms of terrorism in accordance with its responsibilities
under the United Nations Charter.
The Assembly expresses
its conviction that introducing additional restrictions on freedom of
movement, including more hurdles for migration and for access to asylum,
would be an absolutely inappropriate response to the rise of terrorism,
and calls upon all member states to refrain from introducing such restrictive
The Assembly believes that
international action against terrorism can only be effective if it is
carried out with the broadest possible support. It calls for close co-operation
at a pan-European level, especially with the European Parliament, as
part of a global effort and calls on the European Union, the Commonwealth
of Independent States (CIS) and the OSCE to co-operate closely with the
Council of Europe in this regard.
The Assembly expresses
support for the proposal to establish an international anti-terrorist
mechanism within the United Nations to co-ordinate and promote co-operation
between states in dealing with terrorism.
The Assembly recalls itsreport
on terrorism of 1984, as well as Recommendation
1426 (1999) on European democracies facing up to terrorism. It reiterates
the proposals made in this recommendation, including the principle of
aut dedere aut judicare (either extradite or try), and instructs its
relevant committees to update them if necessary.
The Assembly calls on
the Council of Europe member states to:
stand firmly united
against all acts of terrorism, whether they are state sponsored or
perpetrated by isolated groups or organisations, and show a clear will
and readiness to fight against them;
and other appropriate measures against countries offering safe havens
to terrorists or providing financial and moral support to them;
concentrate their efforts
on improving judicial co-operation and police co-operation and on the
identifying and seizing of funds used for terrorist purposes in the
spirit of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing
review the scope of the
existing national legal provisions on the prevention and suppression
take the necessary steps
to ensure that appropriate domestic measures exist to prevent and counteract
the financing of terrorists and terrorist organisations;
lift their reservations
to all existing conventions dealing with terrorism;
provide access to bank
accounts for the authorities responsible for investigating international
crime and terrorist networks in particular;
renew and generously
resource their commitment to pursue economic, social and political
policies designed to secure democracy, justice, human rights and well-being
for all people throughout the world;
give urgent consideration
to amending and widening the Rome Statute to allow the remit of the
International Criminal Court to include acts of international terrorism;
reaffirm their commitment
to the status of the United Nations Security Council as the ultimate
authority for approving international military action.
The Assembly invites the
member states of the United Nations to amend their Charter so that it
may also address crises other than those arising between states.
The Assembly requests that
the present resolution be transmitted to the Congress and to the President
of the United States and to the Secretary General of the United Nations.
The Assembly furthermore
instructs its Bureau to ensure that, in the follow-up to this resolution,
there is appropriate co-operation and co-ordination between the Parliamentary
Assembly and the European Parliament, involving also the respective competent
committees of each institution.
debate on 25 and 26 September 2001 (27th and 28th Sittings) (see Doc. 9228,
report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Davis; and Doc. 9232,
opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr Jansson).
Text adopted by the Assembly on 26 September 2001 (28th Sitting).