Transnational organised crime is an increasingly important issue and it poses a direct threat to the internal security of all European states by significantly undermining the rule of law and compromising the integrity of democratic institutions. By its very nature, this kind of crime cannot be efficiently curbed by each state on its own.
Historically speaking the Council of Europe has played a pioneering role and has a unique experience in promoting humane treatment of offenders, decent prison conditions and socially effective and rehabilitative penal sanctions and measures.
For over fifty years now, a series of treaties have been negotiated within the Council of Europe which establish a common basis for co-operation in criminal matters across Europe and sometimes beyond.
Recent events in Iraq and Syria have emphasised the vulnerability of historic and archaeological sites, with a deliberate destruction of humanity’s heritage threatening our democratic values, identity and memory. Trafficking in cultural property is a highly clandestine crime and a source for money laundering practices affecting all European countries.
The treatment of long-term and ‘dangerous’ offenders is becoming an increasingly important issue in many Council of Europe member states, and thus for the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC), with concerns on a number of different levels.
The Council of Europe has long been concerned about the absence of harmonised international legislation, non-deterrent sanctions that were not proportionate to the harm caused to patients, and the involvement of criminal organisations which operate across borders.
As demonstrated in the joint Council of Europe/United Nations Study from 2009, the trafficking in human organs, tissues and cells is a problem of global proportions that violates basic human rights and constitutes a direct threat to individual and public health.