Effective enjoyment of human rights, democratic stability and secure societies depend on countering all threats to the rule of law. These include terrorism and its financing, organised crime, money laundering, corruption, cybercrime, medicrime, trafficking in human beings and human organs, match fixing, doping, and violence and corruption in sport. It is also important to have well-run prisons and probation services with adequately trained staff in sufficient number and effective execution of penal sanctions. Law enforcement must likewise integrate a human rights-based approach aimed at combating ill-treatment and avoiding impunity.

The aim of the Council of Europe is effective protection of citizens from threats to the rule of law. It pursues a multidisciplinary approach and has developed key standards and legal treaties in areas such as terrorism and its financing, money laundering, cybercrime, corruption, counterfeiting of medical products, trafficking in human beings and in human organs. The focus is on ensuring that existing standards are implemented effectively, including the case law of the European Court of Human Rights; that new challenges are identified and responded to early, and that there is technical co-operation to address problem areas identified by relevant Council of Europe bodies. The Council of Europe has also developed a series of treaties which establish a common basis for co-operation in criminal matters across Europe and, increasingly, beyond.