Support and assistance to victims of crimes has always been a priority of the Council of Europe's action in legal area. The first instruments in this area were adopted in the 1980s with the European Convention on the Compensation of Victims of Violent Crimes of 24 November 1983 (ETS No. 116) and Recommendation R (87) 21 on Assistance to Victims and the Prevention of Victimisation.
- Assistance to victims of terrorism has become a particular priority since the terrorist attacks in New York in 2001, in Beslan (Russian Federation) and Madrid in 2004, and in London in 2005.
- Within the Council of Europe, work in this field has been conducted by various entities, in particular the CODEXTER, which has notably been involved in the elaboration of legal instruments to fight terrorism.
- Moreover, at their Conferences in 2003 and in 2005, the European Ministers of Justice invited the Committee of Ministers, where necessary, to adopt new rules with a view to improving the protection of, support to and compensation for victims of terrorist acts and their families. This decision was also taken in the light of the Madrid Declaration adopted at the 1st International Congress of Victims of Terrorism (Madrid, 26-27 January 2004) which calls, inter alia, on the Council of Europe to address the concerns of victims of terrorism.
- As a result of the CODEXTER’s work, the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism (CETS No. 196, opened for signature in 2005 and entered into force in 2007) contains a provision specifically dealing with the protection and compensation of and assistance to victims of terrorism.
- In 2005, the Committee of Ministers, at the 917th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies, adopted the Guidelines of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the protection of victims of terrorist acts. These new standards joined the Guidelines on Human Rights and the Fight against terrorism, adopted by the Committee of Ministers in 2002.
- Recommendation Rec(2006)8 of the Committee of Ministers on assistance to crime victims – updating the provisions of the Recommendation R (87) 21 – also contains a specific reference to the victims of terrorism.
Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member states
On 14 June 2006, at the 967th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies, the Committee of Ministers adopted:
- Recommendation Rec(2006)8 of the Committee of Ministers on assistance to crime victims