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Meetings of the former Committee of Experts on the protection of Witnesses and Pentiti in relation to acts of terrorism

3rd meeting, Strasbourg, 15-17 September 2003

At its third meeting, held in Strasbourg from 15 to 17 September 2003, the PC-PW examined and adopted the draft final report elaborated by the scientific experts on the basis of the replies to the questionnaire addressed to the States and of the indications provided by the PC-PW at its second meeting on the issues to be analysed with special attention.

In the Conclusions of the report, the PC-PW considered that it would be technically feasible and advisable to establish an international legal framework for international co-operation in matters related to the protection of witnesses and collaborators of justice.

This framework might consist of a combination of different complementary instruments: a Conventional instrument aiming at facilitating international co-operation under its various aspects and at setting common criteria for preserving an acceptable balance between protection needs and human rights and fundamental freedoms of all the parties involved; a “soft law” instrument aiming at enhancing the compatibility of national systems and at providing practical suggestions in relation to the other aspects of the protection of witnesses and collaborators of justice; the terrorism-related aspects could be part of the Conventional instrument above mentioned, as well as of a possible comprehensive international instrument related to the fight against terrorism.

The conclusions of the PC-PW will now be examined by the competent committees, including the Committee of Experts on Terrorism (CODEXTER) and the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC).

2nd meeting, Strasbourg, 30 June-2 July 2003

At its second meeting, held in Strasbourg from 30 June to 2 July 2003, the PC-PW proceeded to a preliminary analysis of the replies to the questionnaire on the protection of witnesses and pentiti and of the preliminary draft report elaborated by the scientific experts. Moreover, presentations by representatives from Europol and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia provided additional elements for reflection.

On this basis, the PC-PW agreed to identify, among the various issues relevant to the protection of witnesses and collaborators of justice, those which should be given special attention by the scientific experts when elaborating the complete draft report which will be the subject of the next meeting of the PC-PW, from 15 to 17 September 2003

1st meeting, Strasbourg, 28-30 April 2003

At its first meeting, held in Strasbourg from 28 to 30 April 2003, the Committee elected its Chair as well as two Vice-Chairs. It examined its terms of reference and agreed on its working methods. The PC-PW decided, in particular, to send out a questionnaire to all Council of Europe member States and to the observer States represented in the Committee, with a view to gathering relevant information on protection of witnesses and pentiti in relation to acts of terrorism. Replies to this questionnaire will be examined during the second meeting of the PC-PW which will be held in Strasbourg from 30 June to 2 July 2003.