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"Improving European Co-operation in the Criminal Justice Field" (High level Conference of the Ministries of Justice and of the Interior)
9-10 November 2006, Moscow (Russian Federation)

 Conclusions of
 past meetings

3rd High-level meeting, 17-18 March 2005, Warsaw (Poland)

2nd High-level meeting, 22-23 June 2000, Bucharest (Romania)

1st High-level meeting, 5-6 November 1998, Strasbourg (France)


Police of the XXIst century : Strengthening the protection of citizens’ rights and new international threats against security

2nd High-level meeting of the Ministries of Interior
22-23 June 2000, Bucharest (Romania) 


Presented by Mr. Constantin DUDU IONESCU, Minister of the Interior of Romania

1. Considering that the core objectives of the Council of Europe are to promote pluralist democracy, the Rule of Law and the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms throughout Europe ;

2. Recalling the considerable work carried out by the Council of Europe within the field of crime problems ;

3. Recalling the Final Declaration of the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (Strasbourg, 10-11 October 1997), which gave high priority to the security of citizens and to the fight against organised crime;

4. Recalling the Joint action at the European Union of 1 December 1998 on the definition of organised crime;

5. Concerned by the conflict situations in Europe as these provide additional opportunities for further development of criminal activities;

6. Aware of the international dimension of activities of organised criminal groups which know no borders and the need for police services/forces to have efficient instruments at their disposal to overcome their difficulties in cross-border co-operation;

7. Bearing in mind the conclusions of the 12th Criminological Colloquium on police powers and accountability in a democratic society (Strasbourg, 24-26 November 1999) ;

8. Recalling the conclusions adopted at the first High-Level meeting between Ministries of the Interior/responsible for the police (Strasbourg, 5-6 November 1998), which emphasised the gravity of the crime situation in Europe and aware of the progress made since in the combat against it ;

9. We, Ministers, Secretaries of State and other authorities responsible for police questions, note that matters concerning security of citizens have become a focal point of Council of Europe member States and that tools and powers for police efficiency must be well-balanced with the protection of individuals’ rights against abusive methods;

10. We welcome the Council of Europe involvement in the field of “home affairs” as a complement to its well-established activities within the field of “justice”. Consequently, we strongly support the setting up of a “Council for police matters”, as a consultative body under the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC). This would contribute to a closer co-operation between Ministries of Justice and Interior, prosecution, police, internal security services and their subordinate structures;

11. We recall that the police should be an integral part of society and that the efficiency of the police is dependent on the confidence and support by the public. The police should be fully accountable to the society they serve. In this respect, we express the firm wish that the work underway within the Committee of Experts on Police Ethics and Problems of Policing (PC-PO) will be finalised shortly to enable a swift adoption of the “European Code of Police Ethics”. This text will provide a basic general framework for the functioning of the police in a democratic society. We support that further instruments be developed on issues highlighted in the draft European Code of Police Ethics;

12. We regard crime prevention as an important task of the police and that a wide society involvement is crucial in this respect. We therefore support the work of the new Committee of Experts on Partnership in Crime Prevention (PC-PA), which will focus on best practice in crime prevention in Europe and liaise with the Project on “Urban insecurity”;

13. As a complement to its intergovernmental activities, we emphasise the importance of the Council of Europe Programme of Activities for the Development and Consolidation of Democratic Stability (ADACS) as well as the Joint Programmes between the Council of Europe and the European Commission. The Project “Police in a State Governed by the Rule of Law” should continue to focus on crime prevention, ethics, training and reform of the police. We would welcome a readiness by the Council of Europe to co-operate in the drafting of national codes of ethics of the police;

14. We support the efforts by the Council of Europe to promote human rights awareness within the police forces/services in Europe;

15. We are aware that the task attributed to polices services/forces is both difficult and essential: safeguarding the security of citizens and institutions with respect for fundamental rights and freedoms and the rule of law. To that end important powers and responsibilities are given to the police. The exercise of such powers must be confined within precise limits and requires efficient controls to prevent all risks of arbitrariness. We are therefore convinced that the persons who exercise police powers must be selected with great care and should receive appropriate training – both at the time of recruitment and all along their careers- to enable them to fulfil their difficult tasks;

16. We appreciate the assistance provided by the Council of Europe in the field of police training, covering a wide range of issues such as police ethics, reform and organisation, strengthening of democratic values, preparation of curricula, juvenile delinquency and crime prevention. We agree that some universally applicable values and principles of policing exist, which should form the basis of police training. Furthermore, the lessons and experience from the activities carried out in the field of training should be wider disseminated through better use of information technology. We therefore call for the Council of Europe to facilitate the exchange of information and expertise on matters of interest for the police;

17. The rapid development of new communication technologies and their use for criminal activities has become a serious problem, which is difficult to settle through traditional means of international co-operation. We note with satisfaction that a Convention on Cyber Crime is in an advanced stage of preparation within the Council of Europe and call for the adoption of this Convention without delay;

18. We renew our support to anti-corruption measures developed by the Council of Europe and its efforts in facilitating international co-operation in this field. We welcome the adoption of the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (1998), the Civil Law Convention on Corruption (1999) and Recommendation (2000) 10 on Codes of Conduct for Public Official which complement Resolution (97) 24 on the 20 Guiding Principles Against Corruption. We are of the opinion that a rapid signature and ratification of the Criminal and Civil Law Conventions should be viewed as a priority to allow the entering into force of these two important instruments. We also call for a rapid implementation of the above Recommendation (2000) 10;

19. We consider it essential to join the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), which will monitor the implementation of Council of Europe anti-corruption standards through a process of mutual evaluation and peer pressure. We note with satisfaction that GRECO recently decided to focus during the first round of supervision on the organisation, means powers and functioning of the authorities in charge of preventing, investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating corruption offences. We call on States that are not yet members of GRECO to join this agreement as soon as possible;

20. We give our full support to new initiatives launched within the framework of the Multidisciplinary Group on Corruption (GMC) relating to the prevention of corruption in the financing of political parties and to corruption of arbitrators;

21. We call for a rapid adoption by the Council of Europe of the draft Recommendation on Guiding Principles Against Organised Crime;

22. We find it useful that the Council of Europe continues to gather information on organised crime in Europe according to the mandate of the Group of Specialists on Criminal Law and Criminological Aspects of Organised Crime (PC-S-CO). The issuing of annual reports on the organised crime situation in Europe and best practice surveys on measures against organised crime will contribute to our efforts against such forms of criminality;

23. We confirm the importance of the work of the Select Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures (PC-R-EV), in particular as concerns the recommendations made to law enforcement authorities in order to improve national anti-money laundering systems. We also request that this evaluation mechanism be extended when its first evaluation round finishes at the end of 2000;

24. We consider that the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime should be reinforced with new provisions to facilitate and speed up investigations and confiscation of crime proceeds at international level, find common responses to the abuse of offshore centers for criminal purposes, lift bank secrecy in criminal investigations and share confiscated assets;

25. We welcome the activities developed under the Joint Programme between European Commission and the Council of Europe, “Octopus”, which have provided a reinforced co-operation in the fight against corruption and organised crime, between the countries of central and eastern Europe and other Council of Europe member States. We request that this programme be continued to allow for the effective and concrete implementation of the recommendations established within the framework of “Octopus II”, thus contributing to the preparation of candidate States to accession to the European Union;

26. We recall that conflicts in Europe are often followed by massive criminal activities, including corruption, organised crime and money laundering. With a view to counteract these problems, we welcome the role of the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe as a catalyst, which mobilises and amplifies the efforts of the international community to make this region of Europe more secure and stable. We encourage the Council of Europe to pursue the implementation of its Programme Action against corruption and organised crime in Southeastern Europe (PACO), which fits perfectly in the Stability Pact initiatives against corruption (SPAI) and organised crime (SPOC). We encourage countries to participate in this programme, to co-operate with the Regional Center for combating transborder crime, located in Bucarest, and to contribute to the “Task forces” dealing with sensitive matters such as trafficking in human beings, drugs and stolen vehicles;

27. The enhancement of international police co-operation has been a key issue throughout our meeting. As international co-operation in police matters becomes more and more operational, there is a need to facilitate it by laying down sound legal basis for that purpose. We therefore support the idea of exploring the possibility of drawing up European conventions particularly on police co-operation as complements to the existing Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. Such instruments should for instance address cross border co-operation between the police, the use of investigative techniques and measures, evidence by witnesses and their protection, information sharing and co-operation against transborder organised crime;
28. We have been deeply shocked and affected by the tragic deaths of fifty-eight foreign nationals arriving in the United Kingdom. We condemn severely the criminal acts committed by organised groups, which traffic with human beings. We consider that the Council of Europe should, within its field of competence, contribute to the fight against the scourge of such trafficking, which grossly violates the most essential rights of the human being;

29. We express our warmest gratitude to the President and the Government of Romania for their hospitality and perfect organisation of this meeting.