Terrorism: a threat to democracies
Recommendation 1644 (2004)
20 February 2004
Reply from the Committee of Ministers
adopted at the 873rd meeting of the Ministers Deputies (18 February 2004)
1. The Committee of Ministers welcomes the Parliamentary Assemblys Recommendation 1644 (2004) on terrorism: a threat to democracies,which it has transmitted to the governments of the member states. It shares the concern of the Assembly with respect to the persistent existence of a global terrorist threat, in spite of the continuous efforts of the international community to improve co-operation, reinforce security measures and increase the ratification of existing international legal instruments. Like the Assembly, it conveys its sympathies to all those affected by terrorist attacks. In this context, it wishes to underline that it has taken due note of the Madrid Declaration, adopted by the first International Conference of Victims of Terrorism, held in Madrid on 26-27 January 2004.
2. The Committee of Ministers has on several occasions stressed its conviction that strengthening international legal co-operation in the context of a multilateral approach is essential in the fight against terrorism. It recalls that at its 113th session (Chisinau, 5-6 November 2003) the Committee of Ministers welcomed the results of the 25th Conference of the European Ministers of Justice (Sofia, 9-10 October 2003) and noted with satisfaction that they were already being considered by the newly-created Committee of Experts on Terrorism (CODEXTER).
3. With respect to the proposal to elaborate a comprehensive convention on terrorism, based on the normative acquis of the United Nations, Council of Europes and European Unions legal instruments and on other texts, the Committee of Ministers notes that in its Opinion No. 242 (2003) the Parliamentary Assembly had already supported the idea of drawing up a general Council of Europe anti-terrorism convention, taking into account the work being carried out by the United Nations. Recommendation 1644 (2004) reaffirms this position stressing the need to provide new impetus to multilateral efforts in this area.
4. The Committee of Ministers is pleased to inform the Assembly that the Committee of Experts on Terrorism has already commissioned an independent report on the added value of a comprehensive European convention on terrorism, which could be elaborated within the Council of Europe with a view to contributing significantly to the UN efforts in this field. This report will be ready for consideration by the Committee of Experts on Terrorism (CODEXTER) at its next meeting, which will be held in Strasbourg from 29 March to 1 April 2004. On the basis of this report, the Committee of Experts on Terrorism will discuss this issue and give its view to the Committee of Ministers. The Committee of Ministers will not fail to keep the Assembly duly informed about the results of this activity.
5. Finally, the Committee of Ministers takes this occasion to stress once again the importance of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the fight against terrorism, recalling its guidelines on human rights and the fight against terrorism.