Doc. 9282

20 November 2001

Democracies facing terrorism

Recommendation 1534 (2001)

Reply from the Committee of Ministers

adopted at the 772nd meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (14 November 2001)

1.       The attacks of 11 September have brought home to the whole international community the urgent need to step up international action against all forms and manifestations of terrorism. Such action is a fundamental political priority.

2.       In this context it was obviously with the utmost attention that the Committee of Ministers examined Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1534 (2001), particularly during the 109th ministerial Session (Strasbourg, 7-8 November 2001), which was mainly dedicated to the requisite response from the democracies to these crimes committed against the very values which they defend.

3.       The Communiqué adopted and made public on this occasion (see Appendix 1) reiterates the condemnation already expressed on 12 and 21 September, stresses the unjustifiable nature of acts of terrorism, and expresses the Ministers’ satisfaction that a broad coalition has rapidly been formed against terrorism, which knows no frontiers and is unlimited in its destructive intent.

4.       Incorporating and expanding upon the initial measures adopted during the special session on 21 September, the Communiqué sets out the broad lines of the contribution which the Council of Europe intends to make, within its areas of competence, to international action against terrorism. Drafted in the light of the report on terrorism prepared by the Secretary General (SG/Inf(2001)35), this document draws inter alia on the work of the 24th Conference of European Ministers of Justice, which adopted an important resolution on the subject in Moscow on 3 October.

5.       The ideas and proposals put forward by the Parliamentary Assembly, in particular in its Recommendation 1534, feature prominently both in the guidelines mapped out and in the actual decisions already adopted.

6.       Like the Parliamentary Assembly, the Committee of Ministers believes first and foremost that it is important to make full use of the legal framework established by the Council of Europe to combat terrorism and related forms of crime and to improve its effectiveness. Accordingly, it has:

7.       Again like the Parliamentary Assembly, the Committee of Ministers is determined that all action taken against terrorism should be consistent with the requirements of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It has instructed the Steering Committee on Human Rights to rapidly finalise the guidelines to help the member states to face up to the movements which threaten the Council of Europe’s fundamental values and principles.

8.       The Committee of Ministers considers that numerous activities already under way are contributing to the development of societies more respectful of their diversity and more mindful of their cohesion. These activities have their place in a strategy aimed against the remoter causes of terrorism. They will be continued and, if possible, intensified.

9.       The Council of Europe programme on “Education for democratic citizenship” corresponds to a large extent to the proposals made by the Parliamentary Assembly in the field of education. The Committee of Ministers has invited the Secretary General to rapidly develop his supplementary courses of action for better understanding between communities through school education, based on common principles of ethics and democratic citizenship.

10.        In the same spirit, the Committee of Ministers intends the Council of Europe to contribute its experience and its know-how to the promotion of a wide intercultural and interreligious dialogue with a view to enabling our societies to find greater cohesion and reduce the risks of misunderstandings. Welcoming initiatives already taken in that respect by several Member States and various international institutions, the Committee invited the Secretary General rapidly to elaborate on the suggestions contained in his report on terrorism (SG/Inf(2001)35). It expects the Parliamentary Assembly itself to play a very active part in this process.

11.       In implementing these lines of action and decisions the Committee of Ministers is determined to make the most of the synergies and complementarities between the relevant international organizations. It has already decided that the co-ordination of initiatives in this field would be brought up at each of its working meetings with the OSCE (2+2 / 3+3, as it was the case in Vaduz on 30 October) and with the European Union (Quadripartite, as it will be done in Brussels on 20 November).

12.       The Committee of Ministers intends to continue its fruitful dialogue with the Parliamentary Assembly on this major political issue, which has enabled the Council of Europe to react swiftly and usefully, within its fields of competence, to the need for increased multilateral co-operation.

Appendix 1

Communiqué of the 109th Session of the Committee of Ministers

Meeting on 8 November with Mr Ernst Walch, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein, in the Chair, with the participation of observer states, the Ministers devoted their discussions to strengthening international action against terrorism, which has taken on a new and monstrous dimension since the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001.

Reiterating their condemnation expressed on 12 September, the Ministers welcomed the fact that a broad coalition had rapidly been formed against terrorism that knows no frontiers and is unlimited in its destructive intention. They expressed their support for the new dynamics of solidarity already manifested in international security systems.

Expressing a common democratic resolve, the Ministers made a commitment that the Council of Europe would contribute, within its areas of competence, to international action against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and the factors likely to fuel it.

This contribution is designed to support and sustain, where appropriate in partnership with other international institutions, the international strategy to combat terrorism by taking full advantage of the Organisation's special assets and pan-European scope. It takes account, in particular, of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1368(2001) and 1373(2001), which the Ministers welcome and which must be given full effect without delay. It draws on Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1534 (2001), and on Resolution No. 1 of the 24th Conference of European Ministers of Justice (Moscow, October 2001). This contribution has three cornerstones:

Intensifying legal co-operation to combat terrorism

The Ministers emphasised that, alongside prevention of terrorism and eradication of its roots, one of the key objectives of action against terrorism is to bring the alleged perpetrators of the attacks to justice. This presupposes a legal framework permitting substantial international co-operation, inter alia between judicial authorities, such as that which only the Council of Europe has set up at pan-European level.

The Ministers therefore agreed to take steps rapidly to increase the effectiveness of the existing international instruments within the Council of Europe on the fight against terrorism, by:

- urging Member States to generalise their signature and ratification and to reconsider reservations;

- inviting the observer States to accede to the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, hitherto open for signature to member States only;

- setting up a multidisciplinary group on international action against terrorism, to improve existing instruments.

The Ministers also decided to intensify action to cut off sources of funding for terrorism. To this end, they gave increased priority to the work of the Council of Europe Committee on mutual evaluation of anti-money-laundering measures and confirmed the activities to combat corruption, organised crime, drug trafficking, the traffic in human beings and cybercrime.

Referring to the FATF special recommendation on terrorist financing, the Ministers urged member States to criminalise the financing of terrorism, terrorist acts and terrorist organisations. States should ensure that such offences are designated as money laundering predicate offences.

Safeguarding fundamental values

While stressing that terrorist acts are unjustifiable, the Ministers reaffirmed that measures for combating terrorism must remain consistent with the requirements of democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

The Ministers recognised the authority and expertise acquired by the Council of Europe in defending these values, particularly through its conventions and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and other human rights protection mechanisms.

The Ministers instructed the Steering Committee on Human Rights to finalise, as rapidly as possible, guidelines to help member states to face up to the movements which threaten the Council of Europe's fundamental principles and values.

Investing in democracy

The Ministers considered that the in-depth work carried out by the Council of Europe to develop strong democracies that respected their diversity and fostered greater social justice contributed to weakening the factors on which terrorism fed.

On the basis of an inventory drawn up by the Secretary General, the Ministers noted that many activities currently under way were of a kind to reduce the risks of tension and radicalisation. They stressed the particular importance they attached to the implementation of programmes of regional co-operation, to the teaching of history, to the fight against intolerance in all its forms and against discrimination. These activities would be pursued and, wherever possible, intensified.

While stressing that terrorism was affecting a great number of countries and that it cannot be associated with any particular culture, the Ministers expressed their determination to promote a wide intercultural and inter-religious dialogue to permit our societies to find greater cohesion and reduce the risks of misunderstanding. They welcomed the initiatives already taken to intensify this dialogue.

The Ministers took note of new approaches suggested by the Secretary General, including proposals to open the North-South Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity to countries in the south, to make full use of the possibilities of the Development Bank and to enable the Organisation to contribute to the European Union's Barcelona process. They invited the Secretary General and the relevant organs and authorities to elaborate on these suggestions as soon as possible.

Appendix 2

Recent signatures and ratifications by member states of relevant legal instruments on the fight against terrorism

8 November 2001

Andorra signed:

- the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism (ETS No.90),

- the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (ETS No.173), and

- the Civil Law Convention on Corruption (ETS No.174).

San Marino signed the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism (ETS No.90).

Hungary signed:

- the European Convention on the Transfer of Proceedings in Criminal Matters (ETS No.73),

- the European Convention on the Compensation of Victims of Violent Crimes (ETS No.116).

- Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Ukraine and the United Kingdom signed the Second Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (ETS No.182).

Armenia signed:

- the European Convention on the Transfer of Proceedings in Criminal Matters (ETS No.73);

- the Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Extradition (ETS No.86);

- the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism (ETS No.90);

- the Second Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Extradition (ETS No.98);

- the Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (ETS No.99);

- the European Convention on the Compensation of Victims of Violent Crimes (ETS No.116).

7 November 2001

Bulgaria ratified the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (ETS No.173).

Croatia signed the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism (ETS No.90).

Georgia signed the Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (ETS No.99).

Azerbaijan signed:

- the European Convention on Extradition (ETS No.24) and its two Additional Protocols (ETS Nos.86 and 98);

- the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (ETS No.30) and its Additional Protocol (ETS No.99);

- the European Convention on the Transfer of Proceedings in Criminal Matters (ETS No.73);

- the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism (ETS No.90), and

- the Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime (ETS No.141).

31 October 2001

Albania ratified the Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime (ETS No.141).

Spain ratified the European Convention on the Compensation of Victims of Violent Crimes (ETS No.116).

23 October 2001

Finland deposited the instrument of acceptance to the Civil Law Convention on Corruption (ETS No.174).

2 October 2001

Croatia signed the Civil Law Convention on Corruption (ETS No.174).


1        The possibility of opening the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism to the accession of the other OSCE member states which are not members of the Council of Europe has been discussed at the 11th High Level meeting 2+2/3+3 with the OSCE, which was held in Vaduz on 30 October 2001 (see the Joint Statement adopted at the end of the meeting).