Secretary General meets Bill Clinton and George Soros

23 September 2010 New York

On the last day of his visit in New York, Thorbjørn Jagland met with the former US President Bill Clinton, the founder of the Open Society Institute George Soros, President of Bosnia and Herzegovina Haris Silajdzic and the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg. President Clinton...

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Council of Europe regrets confirmation of death penalty by Supreme Court in Belarus

24 September 2010 Strasbourg

Jagland announced on 24 September that he is “deeply saddened” by news that the appeals of two prisoners on death row in the city of Grodno were rejected by the Supreme Court. Jagland recalled that “the Council of Europe has repeatedly condemned executions in Belarus and called for abolition of...

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Council of Europe calls for constructive and concrete high level meeting for Roma

29 September 2010 Strasbourg

The Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland, and the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, Antonio Miloshoski, invited on 29 September governments of 47 countries, the EU and international organisations to a meeting in Strasbourg on 20 October, to agree measures improving the situation of Roma...

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Council of Europe Group of Eminent Persons: Thorbjørn Jagland and Joschka Fischer launch expert group on '"Multicultural Europe'"

30 September 2010 Brussels

Joschka Fischer, former German Foreign Minister, will chair a Group of «Eminent Persons» including, among others, Javier Solana and Emma Bonino with the mandate to find answers to the current threats from intolerance and discrimination in Europe. Launching the initiative in Brussels today,...

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Council of Europe meeting on Roma

20 October 2010 Strasbourg

European governments act to help Roma Representatives of the 47 Council of Europe countries, the EU and the Roma community who gathered in Strasbourg on 20 October unanimously condemned widespread discrimination against Roma and their social and economic marginalisation. Thorbjorn Jagland who...

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Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

27 October 2010 Strasbourg

Secretary General stresses need to ''bridge the gap between Roma and rest of society'' One week after the Council of Europe hosted a conference on Roma rights, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland elaborated on practical steps the Council of Europe will take to help Roma...

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Thorbjørn Jagland met with representatives of Fundamental Rights Agency

2 November 2010 Strasbourg

Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland met with the Chairperson, Ilze Brands Kehris, and Morten Kjaerum, the Director, of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, on 2 November in Strasbourg. They discussed the existing close working relationship which could serve as a model for...

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Thorbjørn Jagland met the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon

15 November 2010 New York

Human rights must be pursued with determination everywhere On 15 November in New York, at their third meeting this autumn, Council of Europe Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland and United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon recognised the ongoing and pressing need for close cooperation...

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Interview - European Council on Refugees and Exiles

2 December 2010 Strasbourg

Member states should respect ECHR decision on forced expulsions of Iraqis The European Court of Human Rights has recently confirmed its decision to suspend forced returns to Iraq in a number of individual cases against the Netherlands, the UK and Sweden, until further notice. In many cases an...

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Secretary General meets European Commissioner Füle

15 December 2010 Strasbourg

Secretary General Jagland and European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), Stefan Fule have signed today a € 4 million “Facility” in the framework of the Eastern Partnership initiative (EaP): a multilateral tool to facilitate activities in the fields of electoral...

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Conference ''Prevention of terrorism: prevention tools, legal instruments and their implementation'', 16-17 December 2010

16 December 2010 Istanbul

Thorbjørn Jagland: ''Speed up international efforts to fight terrorism'' During the conference, Secretary General has called on member states to intensify their co-operation in fighting terrorism. ''The threat of terrorism remains acute. The Council of Europe has developed a unique approach in...

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Thorbjørn Jagland in Moscow, 9 May 2010

9 May 2010 Moscow

Thorbjørn Jagland attended the celebration ceremonies in Moscow on 9 May, on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. On this occasion, the Secretary General published an Opinion article in the 11th May edition of the Russian daily...

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Secretary General participates in EU-Western Balkans meeting in Sarajevo

2 June 2010 Sarajevo

At the invitation of the EU Presidency, Thorbjørn Jagland will attend the European Union Western Balkans High Level Meeting in Sarajevo. The 2 June meeting will take stock of integration of the Western Balkans into the European family of nations. The Council of Europe – which counts all Balkan...

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Council of Europe mediates solution to end constitutional crisis in Moldova

3 June 2010 Chisinau

The governing ''Alliance for European Integration'' (AEI) announced on 3 June that the government will hold a referendum to amend Article 78 of the Constitution (to allow for direct election of the President), dissolve Parliament and call for new elections. This solution was reached as the result...

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Secretary General on official visit to Helsinki, 8-9 June 2010

10 June 2010 Helsinki

Finland supports Roma rights and reform for the Council of Europe As the Council of Europe prepares an international debate on the situation of Roma in Europe for its Parliamentary Assembly session later this month, Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland praised Finland for the priority it has given...

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Thorbjørn Jagland discusses advance of LGBT rights with ILGA-Europe

15 June 2010 Strasbourg

Secretary General held a constructive exchange with Nigel Warner and Evelyne Paradis from ILGA-Europe - a non-governmental umbrella organisation which represents organisations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, at the European level. Thorbjorn Jagland and ILGA discussed the...

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Thorbjørn Jagland meets Dosta! campaign ambassador Fanny Ardant

22 June 2010 Strasbourg

The Secretary General met on 22 June in Strasbourg with Fanny Ardant, French actress and director, and thanked her on behalf of the Organisation for lending her voice to the cause of defending Roma rights across Europe. Fanny Ardant is serving the Council of Europe to support the Dosta! Campaign...

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Meeting with OSCE Permanent Council

1 July 2010 Vienna

Complementarity not competition, Secretary General told OSCE Permanent Council In his address to the OSCE Permanent Council on 1 July in Vienna, Thorbjørn Jagland stressed that the Council of Europe's institutions and tools which are indispensable to promote democratic stability in Europe in the...

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Commemoration of Srebrenica genocide

11 July 2010 Srebrenica

Thorbjørn Jagland in Srebrenica - ''never again'' is not enough! The Secretary General together with Mevlüt Çavusoglu, President of the Parliamentary Assembly, attended on 11 July the commemoration of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide. In his speech to those gathered for the ceremony, Thorbjørn...

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Meeting with the President of Slovenia, Danilo Türk

19 September 2010 New York

The Secretary General met with the President of Slovenia, who is an old friend of the Council of Europe and a renowned expert on the rights of national minorities. They discussed the current priorities for the Organisation, the work of the Group of Eminent persons as well as the Secretary...

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3rd Independent Police Complaints Authorities Network (IPCAN) Conference “Respecting fundamental rights and freedoms in the context of strengthening the fight against terrorism”

Strasbourg , 

Check against delivery

 

It is a pleasure to be here this morning and to open the third conference of the Independent Police Complaints Authority.

Monsieur Toubon, as the Rights Defender, your decision to establish and promote the Independent Police Complaints Authorities Network (IPCAN) is very welcome.

Today, police forces across our member states – and far beyond – are grappling with the challenge of preventing terrorism, and doing so in a way that upholds the rights and freedoms that earmark healthy democracy.

And not just police forces, of course, but governments and other law enforcement agencies too.

It is vital that this challenge is met.

Failure to protect citizens against the scourge of terrorism puts their lives in danger, undermines public trust in institutions, and fuels populism and xenophobia.

But failure to respect those same citizens’ legal safeguards exposes them to a different danger: the arbitrary abuse of power.

So, these challenges must not be played off against one another.

Let’s be clear: the State has the right to employ its full arsenal of legal weapons to repress and prevent terrorist activities.

That must not lead, however, to indiscriminate measures that deny the fundamental values any State seeks to protect.

For a country to react in such a way would be to fall into the trap set by the terrorists themselves.

Our Court has therefore sent unambiguous warnings to member states that have attempted to combat terrorism by illegal and arbitrary means.

It outlawed some outrageous practices, like extraordinary rendition: a procedure that is “anathema to the rule of law”.

The Council of Europe as a whole shares this view.

Fighting terrorism by means of the rule of law is the only way to preserve the legitimacy of the State’s action and its continued acceptance by citizens in the long term.

So our task is to help our member states ensure that their laws comply with their domestic and international obligations.

Defeating terrorist ideologies, preventing terrorist attacks, bringing perpetrators to justice with laws that are clear, precise and foreseeable.

Those found guilty of violating these rules should be prosecuted and sentenced, in full respect of human rights standards.

But while the rule of law is a timeless principle, the nature and scale of today’s terrorist threat is not.

You know as well as anyone that terrorism is dynamic and fast-changing.

So we need to ensure that our enduring principles operate on the basis of sharp new thinking.

At present, three member states of the Council of Europe have made derogations from their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

They have used Article 15 of the Convention, which allows them to do so in the case of public emergency threatening the life of the nation. 

And they have done this in response to the terrorist threats that they have faced.

This is understandable.

But, equally, it is undesirable.

Three member states, with a combined population of over 190 million citizens, consider that they are living through a public emergency threatening the life of the nation.

This means one in four of all persons living in Europe does not enjoy the full protection of the Convention.

We have known Article 15 derogations before, but never on this scale.

So I am pleased that President Macron has said publicly that he does not intend to renew the French state of emergency laws.

And I acknowledge what he told me personally: namely that he intends that France’s new anti-terrorism laws should be passed and implemented in conformity with the Convention and case law from the Court.

But I remain concerned that so many citizens are finding themselves in this invidious position.

We must look for ways to avoid the necessity.

We must use modern tools to tackle current trends.

Today, the real terrorist threat in Europe is inspired largely by the ideology propagated by jihadist groups such as Al-Qaida and Daesh.

Their methods have now become increasingly low-cost and primitive.

Renting and driving vans and trucks to kill costs less than acquiring and manipulating explosives.

So police forces need to find new solutions – shortening response times, improving risk assessment and so on – and at the Council of Europe we are doing our own thinking on how to do this best.

There is a technological aspect too.

As the starting point for research, planning and engaging with others, the internet and social networks provide not only the genesis of many terrorist plans, but also host the digital trails that can foil them.

Following these has become indispensable.

That is why we have reviewed and updated the Committee of Ministers recommendation of 2005 on “special investigation techniques” in relation to serious crimes including acts of terrorism.

The updated recommendation adds definitions for “cyber investigation” and “financial investigation” and makes them subject to the same guidelines.

This recommendation is a significant, modernising step and was adopted earlier this summer.

It ensures that we continue to set a global benchmark.

But of course it is only part of a broader picture.

National laws and international co-operation are always at risk of falling behind new trends in crime and terrorism.

Flexibility, co-operation and the effective exchange of good practice are the means for keeping up.

And implementation is key.

In 2005, the Council of Europe adopted the Convention on the prevention of terrorism.

For the first time, this criminalised the public provocation to commit terrorism, recruitment and training for terrorist purposes and a series of other offences, including participating as accomplice, organising and directing others and other contributory acts.

Notably, it also criminalised attempts to recruit or train others for terrorism.

In force since 2007, the convention has now been ratified by 38 member states and signed by 10 more, including the European Union.

However, at that time, people were not travelling to Afghanistan to train in terrorist camps and were not travelling to Syria to do what they mistakenly see as jihad

To address this phenomenon, in 2015 we adopted an Additional Protocol to the convention, which criminalises receipt of training for terrorism, travelling abroad for the purposes of terrorism and funding, and organising or facilitating such travel.

The protocol also criminalises participating in an association for the purpose of terrorism.  

Most importantly, the Additional Protocol established a 24/7 network for exchange of police information about travelling foreign terrorist fighters.

It serves mostly to facilitate the follow-up returning foreign terrorist fighters and prevent them from committing terrorist offences at home.

With 41 members, the Protocol is a significant success.

Agreeing legally binding international treaties takes time.

But in matters of counterterrorism, international law must move forward to tackle the terrorist chimera.

So yes, the legal framework is vital.

But so too is having the enforcement mechanisms that turn theory into reality.

Police are the first respondents to many of the crimes that threaten democratic security.

This is a difficult challenge.

There are understandable concerns about the need to take action, while keeping in mind concerns that this could involve accusations of human rights violations, or allegations of xenophobic or racial bias.

And, as I said at the beginning, modern policing must conform to human rights standards.

Again, we should look to the rule of law.

Historically, this was meant to constrain those in power – “rulers must be kept within their due bounds”.

Today, the challenge is to apply the rule of law equally to everybody, regardless of social or economic status, race or belief.

Good police work is always specific – to the public, to the neighbourhood, to the circumstance.

There are no one-size-fits-all solutions.

That’s why, compared to other sectors, we have much fewer standard-setting instruments for human-rights based police work. 

But we do have the European Code of Police Ethics.

The Convention and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture standards apply to detention in police custody.

And independent review systems are among the best tools to uphold the rule of law where it comes to police action.

So there are frameworks and, by extension, the ability to co-operate and learn.

This is true for Council of Europe member states as much as anyone.

The Human Rights Commissioner seeks of course to promote the independent determination of police complaints, which is a good thing.

But the Council of Europe has also been addressing the lack of effective investigations into allegations of ill-treatment by way of co-operation programmes.

We began this in Eastern partnership countries in 2009, resulting in amendments to national legislation to fight impunity for abuses committed by law-enforcement agents.

Also, since December 2015, we have been encouraging and advising the authorities of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” on establishing an External Oversight Mechanism over police work.

Like all administrative action, police work must be subject to judicial review.

So I am in favour of the Council of Europe promoting discussion and exchange of good police practice as a means to improving respect for human rights while combating serious crime – including terrorism.

Terrorism must be tackled and human rights must be maintained.

It can only be sensible to work together and support flexible, real-time co-operation between practitioners to meet those vital ends. 

So we are very pleased to host the 3rd IPCAN conference.

I wish you every success and look forward to working closely with you in future.