Item 3 of the agenda Reform of the European Court of Human Rights
The question of the measures required to guarantee the long-term effectiveness of the supervision system of the European Convention on Human Rights appeared on the agenda of the 109th, 111th and 112th Sessions of the Committee of Ministers in November 2001, November 2002 and May 2003 respectively. On each occasion the Committee of Ministers adopted a declaration. The main purpose of these declarations was firstly to confirm the central role of the European Convention and Court of Human Rights in the protection of human rights in Europe, and secondly to lay down guidelines for commencing work on a reform aimed at preserving the effectiveness of the Convention’s supervision system.
In their Declaration adopted in May 2003, the Ministers stated their intention to consider with a view to adopting them a draft amending protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights and other relevant instruments at their 114th Session in May 2004. At their 113th Session, in November 2003, in connection with follow-up to matters dealt with at previous sessions, the Ministers took note of progress made with the implementation of the Declaration and reaffirmed their intention of considering the above-mentioned texts at their next session with a view to adopting them.
Following an interim report in November 2003, the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) submitted its Final Activity report in April 2004 (CM(2004)65. The Addenda to this report contain the following texts: the draft amending Protocol to the Convention (draft Protocol No. 14) and its Explanatory Report, three draft Recommendations to member States, a draft Resolution and a draft Declaration. This work was carried in all transparency. In particular, work on the draft protocol was done in consultation with the Court, the Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, the Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as non-governmental organisations and national human rights institutions. The Parliamentary Assembly is expected to adopt an opinion on the draft Protocol at its April part session (26-30 April 2004).
Taking into account the decisions taken at their previous sessions, and on the basis of the texts prepared by the CDDH, the Ministers are invited to hold an exchange of views on the reform of the European Court of Human Rights and to adopt the appropriate decisions and conclusions in the matter (see the draft Communiqué prepared for adoption at the end of the Session).
Item 4 of the agenda Third Summit of the Council of Europe
The proposal to organise a Third Summit of the Council of Europe in the near future, after the Vienna Summit in 1993 and the Strasbourg Summit in 1997, was initially formulated in 1999 by the Parliamentary Assembly then presented to the Committee of Ministers by Italy during its Chairmanship in 2000. The proposal was discussed subsequently at the 110th (in an exchange of views during the informal meeting), 111th (where a decision was taken approving the principle of holding the Summit), 112th and 113th Sessions of the Committee of Ministers, in May 2002, November 2002, May 2003 and November 2003 respectively.
In the Communiqué of the 113th Session, the Ministers emphasised that ten years after the Vienna Summit, significant progress in fulfilling the political mandate assigned to the Organisation to bring together all European democratic states on an equal footing within permanent structures has been achieved. It would be for the 3rd Summit to lay down the guidelines for the future action of the Council of Europe in the context of profound changes in the continent, and its interaction with other international organisations. The Ministers agreed that the common responsibility for the future of Europe, commitment to the strategic goal of building one Europe without dividing lines and the desire to meet the aspirations of all Europeans should guide the preparations for the Summit. They emphasised that the objectives of consolidating democracy and the rule of law, promoting human rights - including the rights of persons belonging to national minorities - and strengthening social cohesion should retain paramount importance in the Council of Europe’s future agenda. At the same time, the Council of Europe could make a meaningful contribution to working out common European policies and standards to meet the new challenges faced by European societies.
The Ministers took note of preparatory work undertaken since their last Session in May 2003, while welcoming the important contributions made by the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. Taking into account the conclusions of their previous session, they welcomed Poland’s offer to host the Summit in Warsaw in 2005, during its future Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers. Consultations on a date will take place in the meantime with a view to a decision by the 114th Session of the Committee of Ministers in May, provided that a substantive agenda and possible concrete results thereof have been identified by their Deputies. The Ministers therefore instructed their Deputies to intensify their work on possible results of the Summit and to report to them at their next meeting in May 2004.
On this basis, the working party responsible for preparing the Third Summit (GT-SOM3) continued and stepped up its work. At the same time, dialogue with the Parliamentary Assembly continued : in particular, the issue of the Third Summit was on the agenda at two successive meetings of the Joint Committee, on 28 January and 29 April 2004. The GT-SOM3 has prepared a report on the agenda and possible results of the Third Summit, in the light of priorities for the Council of Europe’s future work (document CM(2004)…) [,which was submitted to the Deputies on 5 May 2004 and forwarded to the Ministers].
Taking into account the decisions taken at their previous sessions, and on the basis of the report prepared by the GT-SOM3, the Ministers are invited to hold an exchange of views on the preparation of the Third Summit of the Council of Europe and to adopt the appropriate conclusions in the matter (see the draft Communiqué prepared for adoption at the end of the Session).
Item 5 of the agenda contribution of the Council of Europe to international action against terrorism
The Council of Europe contribution to international action against terrorism was one of the main topics on the agendas of the 109th, 110th, 111th and 112th Sessions in November 2001, May 2002, November 2002 and May 2003 respectively. It also constituted the main topic of the Conference of European Ministers of Justice, in Sofia on 9-10 October 2003, and was subsequently included in the agenda of the 113th Session in November 2003, in connection with follow-up to matters dealt with at previous sessions. On those occasions the Ministers expressed their appreciation and support for the action carried out by the Council of Europe in the three areas which they themselves had specified during their 109th Session: intensifying legal co-operation to combat terrorism, safeguarding fundamental values and investing in democracy.
At the 113th Session, bearing in mind that terrorism seriously jeopardises human rights and threatens democracy, the Ministers noted with satisfaction the signatures and ratifications of the Protocol Amending the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, opened for signature at their last session, and called upon States to ensure its early entry into force. They welcomed the results of the 25th Conference of European Ministers of Justice (Sofia, 9-10 October 2003) and noted with satisfaction that their consideration has commenced within the committee on terrorism. They welcomed the significant progress made in the implementation of activities against terrorism they had agreed upon at their last session (in particular those relating to the protection of witnesses and pentiti/collaborators with justice and to special investigation techniques) and supported their pursuance as a matter of priority. At the same time, they stressed the importance of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the fight against terrorism, recalling the guidelines on human rights and the fight against terrorism adopted by the Committee of Ministers. Finally they asked that a report be submitted to them in due course on the added value of a comprehensive European Convention against terrorism, which could be elaborated within the Council of Europe, with a view to contributing significantly to the UN efforts in this field.
Further to these decisions, the Committee of Experts on Terrorism (CODEXTER) continued its work and prepared a report for the Ministers (document CM(2004)…). On 21 April the Deputies … [to be completed in the light of decisions taken under item 10.1 of the agenda for this meeting].
On the basis of the above, and in the light of the above-mentioned report, the Ministers are invited to hold an exchange of views on the Council of Europe contribution to international action against terrorism and to adopt the appropriate conclusions in the matter (see the draft Communiqué prepared for adoption at the end of the Session).
Item 6 of the agenda topical polical question(s)
[to be completed as appropriate, according to decisions which will be taken at a later stage]
Item 7 of the agenda progress of work relating to
a. the contribution of the Council of Europe to the fight against trafficking in human beings
The proposal to draw up a European Convention on action against trafficking in human beings has been the subject of numerous discussions since the beginning of 2002, particularly in connection with the follow-up to Recommendation Rec(2000)11 of the Committee of Ministers on action against trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation. In April 2003, on the basis of the proposals made by their Rapporteur on Equality between Women and Men (RAP-EG), the Ministers’ Deputies adopted specific terms of reference for a multidisciplinary committee responsible for preparing a draft convention in action against trafficking in human beings (CAHTEH). This issue was subsequently included in the agenda of the 112th Session, in May 2003, and of the 113th Session, in November 2003, in connection with follow-up to matters dealt with at previous sessions.
At the 113th Session, the Ministers reiterated that trafficking in human beings constituted a crime which is a serious offence to the dignity and the integrity of the human being and undermines the enjoyment of the human rights of the victims. They stressed that the protection of the victims of trafficking and the prosecution of traffickers must be paramount objectives of the action the Council of Europe against this scourge, underlining the importance of close co-operation and co-ordination with the European Union, the OSCE and the United Nations. As the problem of trafficking affects all countries, be they source, transit or recipient countries, the Ministers encouraged the member states of the Council of Europe to pay special attention to it at all levels. They reiterated their commitment to pursue actively the negotiation of the draft European Convention on action against trafficking in human beings, with the prospect of adopting this instrument as soon as possible.
On the basis of the above, and in the light of the report prepared by the RAP-EG (document CM(2004)…), the Ministers are invited to take note of progress with the work performed in this field and to adopt the appropriate conclusions (see the draft Communiqué prepared for adoption at the end of the Session).
b. the contribution of the Council of Europe to the international action against organised crime
Since the 1980s, the Council of Europe played a pioneering role in drawing attention to new forms of organised crime and recommending adapting traditional international co-operation arrangements in the field of criminal law in order to meet the challenges to the efficient operation of the judicial systems of democratic states. The 1990 convention against money laundering is the best example of this novel, ambitious approach and shows how important it is to target the proceeds from crime in this connection. The Second Summit of Heads of State and Government in 1997 confirmed that priority should be given to combating criminal organisations that threatened the security of citizens.
Since then the Council of Europe has stepped up work on measures to enable states to react effectively and quickly to this complex, technical and sophisticated form of crime, along with related forms of crime (corruption, cybercrime, etc.). A considerable effort has also been made to ensure that international standards are effectively implemented at national level, in particular through MONEYVAL, a committee responsible for assessing anti-money-laundering measures. In addition to legal rules and monitoring arrangements, a wide range of technical programmes (Octopus, PACO, MOLI, CARDS) has been set up – often with the support of the European Union and donor countries – to help bring about the reforms needed to combat organised crime, corruption, money laundering and other serious forms of crime effectively. Furthermore, there are already plans to update the 1990 convention and make national and international machinery more effective in order to keep pace with constant change and ever-more-sophisticated methods for laundering the proceeds from crime. This work should be completed by spring 2005.
On the basis of the above, and in the light of the report prepared by the Secretariat (document CM(2004)…), the Ministers are invited to take note of progress with the work performed in this field and to adopt the appropriate conclusions (see the draft Communiqué prepared for adoption at the end of the Session).
c. prospect of a reform of the Committee of Ministers’ monitoring procedure
Since several months, the Committee of Ministers has begun an in-depth analysis of the prospects for a reform of its thematic monitoring procedure. This analysis is based in particular on the Secretary General’s proposals and on contributions from a number of member states. A working group (GT-MON) was set up in January 2004 with the specific task of preparing proposals with a view to the 114th Session of the Committee of Ministers.
In accordance with its terms of reference, the GT-MON has prepared a report on the prospects for a reform of the Committee of Ministers monitoring procedure, which was approved by the Deputies at their 882nd (Monitoring) meeting on 15 April 2004 and forwarded to the Ministers (document CM(2004)…).
In the light of the above, and on the basis of the report prepared by the GT-MON, the Ministers are invited to take note of progress with the work performed in this field and to adopt the appropriate conclusions (see the draft Communiqué prepared for adoption at the end of the Session).
d. creation of a European Forum for Roms and Travellers
The proposal to set up a European Forum for Roma under the aegis of the Council of Europe originated in an initiative by the President of Finland, Ms Tarja Halonen, in her statement to the Parliamentary Assembly on 24 January 2001. At their 111th session, in November 2002, the Ministers took note of this initiative with interest and invited their Deputies to give further consideration to the matter, bearing in mind its topical nature, with a view to determining suitable follow-up.
Further to this decision, a special working party (GT-ROMS) was set up within the Ministers’ Deputies’ Rapporteur Group on Social and Health Questions (GR-SOC). The working party has continued to work on the possibility of setting up a European Forum for Roma, the most important development being the joint contribution from France and Finland in July 2003. A report on the progress achieved eighteen months after the November 2002 ministerial session was prepared by the GT-ROMS, [then submitted to the Deputies through the GR-SOC on 5 May 2004. On that occasion, the Deputies approved the content of the report, as set out in document CM(2004)… , and forwarded it to the Ministers].
In the light of the above, and on the basis of the report prepared by the GT-ROMS, the Ministers are invited to take note of progress with the work performed on this matter, and to adopt the appropriate conclusions (see the draft Communiqué prepared for adoption at the end of the Session).
Item 8 of the agenda Other question(s)
Under this item, the Chairman could propose to treat any other question which would have been submitted to him beforehand by one of his colleagues.
Item 9 of the agenda Adoption of the Session texts and Communiqué
Under this item, the Ministers are first invited to take a stand on the texts submitted to them. In particular, they are invited to adopt the texts on the reform of the European Court of Human Rights, namely draft Protocol No. 14 and the accompanying instruments (documents CM(2004)…), and to take note of the explanatory report (document CM(2004)…). They are also invited to take note of the various reports prepared for them, informing them about progress on matters included in the Session agenda.
Furthermore,on the basis of the text prepared by their Deputies, the Ministers are invited to adopt the draft Communiqué of the Session as set out in document CM(2004)…. A second text, drawn up under the responsibility of the Chair, deals with the other aspects of the Session and, more generally, with the state of the Council of Europe at the end of the Netherlands Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers (see the “Conclusions of the Chair” reproduced in document CM(2004)…). The Ministers are invited to take note of it.
All these texts will be made public and distributed to the press at the close of the Session.
Item 10 of the agenda Date and venue of the next session
Under this item the Ministers are invited to decide on the date and venue of their next session or, failing that, instruct their Deputies to take a decision in due course.
Committee of Ministers
(Strasbourg, 12-13 May 2004)
12 May 2004
2.30 pm : Inauguration of the exhibition of the Norwegian artist Kjell Pahr Iversen
(Palais de l’Europe, Entrance hall)
3 pm: First part of the formal session, chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
(Palais de l’Europe, Committee of Ministers’ meeting room)
6 pm : End of the first part of the Session
6.15 pm: Foundation stone-laying ceremony for the new General Office Building
(Site of the New Building, rue Boecklin)
7 pm: Group photo
(Residence of the Secretary General, rue Joseph Massol)
7.10 pm : Informal ministerial meeting followed by a dinner hosted by the Secretary General
(Residence of the Secretary General, rue Joseph Massol)
13 May 2004
8.30 am : Working breakfast, at the invitation of the outgoing and incoming Chairs, between the Presidential Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Bureau of the Committee of Ministers
(Palais de l’Europe, Restaurant)
10 am : Second part of the formal session, under the chairmanship of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway
(Palais de l’Europe, Committee of Ministers’ meeting room)
1 pm: End of the second part of the Session
1.15 pm : Lunch offered by the outgoing and incoming Chairs (“Passation de pouvoirs”)
(Palais de l’Europe, Restaurant)
3 pm : Press conference by the two Chairs and the Secretary General
(Palais de l’Europe, Room 40)