25th Conference of European Ministers of Justice - 9-10 October 2003 – Sofia, Bulgaria

International co-operation against terrorism

Some 40 Justice Ministers from Council of Europe countries met in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 9 and 10 October to discuss international co-operation in the fight against terrorism. The conference looked at action taken since the last conference in Moscow, including the implementation of Council of Europe legal texts. It also focused on ways in which the justice system can respond to terrorism. One of the main items under discussion was the possibility of drawing up a comprehensive international convention on terrorism in the Council of Europe. (more…)

Programme

Press release

Signatures and ratifications on the occasion of the Conference

Information documents on the Legal Affairs website

File ‘'Fight against terrorism’’

Council of Europe given ministerial go-ahead for anti-terrorist action

European Justice Ministers gave their backing to Council of Europe counter-terrorism action. They agreed to support current United Nations efforts against terrorism and to examine the possibility and added value of a comprehensive convention against terrorism, to be negotiated in the Council of Europe. (more…)

Adopted resolution ''Combating terrorism’’

Resolution n 2

European countries must act together against 'scourge of terrorism'

Global action was the only answer to the scourge of terrorism, Bulgarian Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha told delegates to the Council of Europe's Justice Ministers' Conference at its opening session. He called for the ministers to give an impetus to Council of Europe action against terrorists. ' Terrorism is an encroachment on the principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law at the heart of the Council of Europe, the oldest political organisation in Europe,' he said. He assured delegates that Bulgaria was determined to support the fight against terrorism and strengthen international co-operation.

The time has come for a comprehensive convention on terrorism, says Walter Schwimmer

The Secretary General stressed that a new top priority in the immediate future was the elaboration of a Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism of the Council of Europe. ''The time has now come to give a strong political impetus to this initiative and to the opening of negotiations for such an instrument,'' he said, adding that the convention would provide a common legal platform to prevent, investigate and prosecute terrorist offenders more efficiently. ''We should not allow ourselves to delay our efforts. Otherwise, our values and our principles will be crushed,'' stressed Mr Schwimmer. Photo: The Secretary General and the Bulgarian Prime Minister at the opening of the conference

Speech

The ombudsman, a major element in the process of democratic stabilisation

Mediators have a decisive role in our societies as an extra-judicial authority for solving disputes and conflicts that arise between the public authorities and the citizens, the Council of Europe Secretary General said in Sofia during a public debate on the Ombudsman institution. What he referred to as an ''instrument for the promotion and protection of human rights'' will take effect in Bulgaria on 1 January 2004. Welcoming its advent, Mr Schwimmer recalled that in many countries it marked a radical break with tradition especially in strengthening control over the administration and in setting limits to discretionary power.

Speech

Walter Schwimmer in Sofia: the Council of Europe and the EU share the same vision of a Europe of peace, freedom and justice

Speaking in Sofia on the day after his visit to Romania, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe said that, for Bulgaria, too, preparation for accession to the EU represented a historic advance. At the “Interuniversity Europe-Centre”, in Rousse, Walter Schwimmer said that the dream of crossing without borders would soon become a reality on the Danube, as it already had on the Rhine. He went on to say that the time had come to strengthen and renew the partnership which existed between the EU and the Council of Europe. 'We have to move towards a new associate partnership', he emphasised. Photo: AFP

Speech

Biographies

Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha, Prime Minister of Bulgaria

Walter Schwimmer, Council of Europe Secretary General