1. The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its previous texts, in
particular Recommendations 1534 (2001)
on democracies facing terrorism and
1550 (2002) on combating terrorism
and respect for human rights, and replies of the Committee of Ministers
thereon, which were on the whole positive. The Assembly welcomes the
Guidelines on Human Rights and the Fight against Terrorism, adopted by the
Committee of Ministers on 11 July 2002, which formulate criteria for
safeguarding human rights in the fight against terrorism.
2. It observes that terrorist attacks of particular ferocity
have been carried out in different parts of the world since the attacks of
11 September 2001, and the existence of a global terrorist threat is now a
well established fact.
3. The Assembly conveys its deepest sympathies to the families
of the victims and to all those affected or injured by the recent terrorist
bombings in the Russian Federation and in Turkey and, in general, by any
4. Whereas the improvement of international co-operation, the
stepping up of national security measures and the increase in the number of
ratifications of various international legal instruments are positive signs
in the fight against terrorism, loopholes still exist in legislation,
cross-border controls, prosecution and extradition arrangements, and these
are exploited by terrorists.
5. In this connection, the Assembly welcomes the setting up of
the Counter-Terrorism Committee in the United Nations, established pursuant
to Security Council
1373 (2001), the adoption of the Common Position and the Framework
Decisions by the Council of the European Union, which is a rather
significant attempt to a structured approach in the fight against terrorism,
and the setting up of the Committee of Experts on Terrorism (Codexter) in
the Council of Europe, with the aim of reinforcing and co-ordinating the
Organisations action in this field.
6. The Assembly is convinced, however, that a new impetus is
necessary in order to give a clear signal to the public about the importance
of multilateral efforts. The incorporation, therefore, of fragmented
legal texts together with the necessary additions in one comprehensive
convention would present considerable added value to the fight against
terrorism, as first expressed in its Opinion No. 242 (2003) on the draft
protocol amending the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism.
7. Despite the progress so far reached in this regard, the
possibility of achieving this in the framework of the United Nations is
almost non-existent due to difficulties in defining terrorism. A more
homogenous group of states, such as the Council of Europe member states,
should be able to overcome this obstacle.
8. The Assembly is convinced that the motive behind an act of
terrorism does not change the nature of that act. Terrorism has no
justification and it must be considered illegal, abhorrent, unacceptable and
a crime against humanity.
9. As the Assembly has consistently stated in the past, action
against terrorism must at all times be consistent with the fundamental
freedoms and human rights which it is designed to protect. This is
particularly so in the member states of the Council of Europe which should
also be sensitive to the deep-rooted reasons of the changing nature of
terrorism and promote dialogue between cultures and religions.
10. The Assembly is convinced that the root causes poverty,
exclusion, disparity and desperation which provide a fertile ground for
the emergence and spread of terrorism should be addressed.
11. The Assembly asks the Committee of Ministers:
i. to begin work without delay on the elaboration of a
comprehensive Council of Europe convention on terrorism, based on the
normative acquis of the United Nations, Council of Europes and
European Unions legal instruments and other texts, and develop them as
much as necessary;
ii. to invite, in the meantime,
the member states:
a. to ratify existing
conventions, or inform the Committee of Ministers and the Assembly about
the grounds for not doing so, in particular: the European Convention on
the Suppression of Terrorism (1977) in conjunction with its Protocol
(2003), the European Convention on Extradition (1957) and its Additional
Protocols (1975 and 1978), the European Convention on the Transfer of
Proceedings in Criminal Matters (1972), and the Convention on
Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime
b. to condemn strongly
countries encouraging, helping, providing financial support, or offering
safe haven to terrorists and introduce economic and other appropriate
measures against them;
c. to promote democracy
and human rights in their foreign relations and refrain from complacency
towards despotic and obscurantist regimes for reasons of strategic and
iii. to study, in consultation
with the European Union, the possibility of transforming Europol into an
effective pan-European agency, with sufficient means to challenge
iv. to repeat the appeal to the
member states, as stipulated in Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation
1534, to 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.
1. Assembly debate on 29 January 2004
(6th Sitting) (see
10056, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr
Text adopted by the Assembly on 29 January 2004 (6th Sitting).