The Rapporteur Group on Legal Co-operation met on
19 March 2001 with Ambassador Jiří MUCHA, Permanent
Representative of the Czech Republic, in the Chair.
The Group approved the agenda as set out in the notice
convening the meeting (GR-J(2001)OJ1).
The Group congratulated Ambassador Jiří
MUCHA on his recent appointment as Chair of the GR-J.
Oral presentation by the Director General of Legal Affairs of
the action taken by the Directorate General of Legal Affairs – DGI
in the year 2000 and the results achieved
The Director General presented the action taken
by the Directorate General of Legal Affairs in the year 2000 and the
results achieved. The
full version of the Director General's statement will be reproduced
in an addendum to this synopsis.
Many delegations took the floor to congratulate
the Director General on the results achieved by his Directorate in the
year 2000 and draw attention to the Directorate's extremely helpful
co-operation in providing expert assistance with the drafting of
internal legal texts. Some
of them were concerned about the risk of involving the Organisation in
major political issues to the detriment of intergovernmental
One delegation suggested that DGI should
regularly publish an information document on completed and current
projects so that the delegations were better able to form an overall
assessment of the work achieved or under way.
The proposal was endorsed by several delegations.
The Director General replied that he would consider ways of
acting on the proposal.
Questions were asked on the European Union's
financial assistance with certain programmes, on DGI's share of the
cost in relation to the other directorates general, and on DGI's
contribution to the “acquis communautaire” (the Community corpus
of rules). On this last point, the Director General mentioned a document
on the subject prepared by DGI (DIR/JUR(2000)5).
Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1426(1999): European
democracies facing up to terrorism
The following amendments to the draft reply
(GR-J(2001)1) and to the amendments suggested by the delegation from
the Russian Federation (GR-J(2001)5) were proposed.
First amendment, to paragraph 2 of the draft
reply (second sentence)
Firstly, several delegations suggested replacing
“acts of terrorism” by “terrorism”.
The delegation from the Russian Federation agreed.
Secondly, one delegation proposed replacing “irrespective of
motive, wherever and by whomever committed” by “irrespective of
motive and by whomever committed, in particular those that might
undermine peace and international security”, on the basis of the
wording of Security Council Resolution 1269 of 19 October 1999.
These two proposals would appear as alternatives in the revised
The original proposal was endorsed by some
delegations and considered pointless by one delegation.
The alternative proposal was considered too restrictive by
Second amendment, to paragraph 3 of the draft
reply, after the second sentence
The Chair proposed that this amendment should
read as follows: “In the context of such co-operation the Committee
of Ministers wishes that all appropriate steps be taken to deny
terrorists safe haven”. This
minor change was accepted by the delegation from the Russian
Federation and several other delegations.
A number of delegations endorsed this second
amendment. One delegation
had misgivings about it.
One delegation suggested inserting the amendment
after the first sentence rather than the second sentence of paragraph
Third amendment, to paragraph 3 of the draft
reply (addition of a final sentence)
One delegation said it could not accept the
reference in this amendment to preparatory acts because of a feature
of its domestic law, whereby preparations did not in themselves
constitute an offence. It
therefore suggested deleting this reference.
This view was endorsed by another delegation.
One delegation questioned the point of the
amendment on the grounds that it had been taken from the CDPC's
opinion, which was appended to the draft reply, and suggested either
that it be deleted or that the wording of the CDPC's opinion be used
in its entirety. A
sentence using the complete wording appearing in the CDPC opinion
would be included as an alternative proposal.
Some delegations had reservations about the
amendment on the grounds that the issues raised were more the
responsibility of the United Nations.
One delegation supported the amendment, stressing
the importance of sending out a political signal on the subject.
Proposals for additional amendments
One delegation suggested that the draft reply
refer to the Council of Europe's European Convention on the
Suppression of Terrorism. Another
delegation endorsed this proposal and suggested that those States
which had not already done so be urged to sign and ratify the
would be made to this effect in paragraph 3 of the revised draft
Several delegations had doubts about paragraph 7
of the draft reply on the grounds that it mixed up a uniform
interpretation of Council of Europe conventions (Parliamentary
Assembly Recommendation 1458(2000)) with the establishment of an
international criminal court. It was suggested that the paragraph be reworded more
concisely with no explicit reference to these two ideas.
One delegation suggested inserting a footnote to
paragraph 4 of the CDPC's opinion providing information of the
system of reservations to the European Convention on the Suppression
of Terrorism as it applied to member States of the European Union.
The same delegation suggested inserting a footnote stating that
the International Criminal Court did not have jurisdiction to deal
with terrorist crimes.
The Chair of the Group suggested resuming
consideration of the Recommendation on the basis of a revised draft
reply incorporating all the proposed changes and alternative proposals
(see document GR-J(2001)1 revised).
Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1427: Respect for
international humanitarian law in Europe
The following amendments to the draft reply
(GR-J(2001)2) were proposed.
- Paragraph 1:
One delegation suggested inserting a sentence on the
possibility of setting up appropriate bodies to punish the
perpetrators of such acts, on an ad hoc basis.
The proposal was endorsed by another delegation.
One delegation suggested including a reference to the Statute
of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and
the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
- Paragraph 7:
One delegation said that it was not worth quoting all the legal
instruments mentioned in this paragraph.
The Secretariat suggests adding the following sentence at the
end of the paragraph: “However, the European Convention on the
non-applicability of statutory limitation to crimes against humanity
and war crimes (item b), although opened for signature from1974, has
never entered into force.”
- Paragraph 9:
A delegation suggested deleting the reference to sovereignty.
Another delegation suggested a different wording for this
paragraph, which no longer contained a reference to sovereignty.
- Paragraph 10:
Questions concerning the obligations described in this
paragraph and their sources were raised.
It was agreed that the Secretariat would draft this paragraph
more concisely and accurately to take account of these comments.
- Paragraph 11:
One delegation suggested rewording the paragraph to give
greater weight to the importance of the International Committee of the
- Paragraph 12:
A delegation suggested rewording this paragraph to give it
The Group agreed to resume consideration of the
Recommendation on the basis of a revised draft reply including all
these proposed changes (see document GR-J(2001)2 revised).
Recommendation 67(1999) of the Congress of Local and Regional
Authorities of Europe on the 5th Conference on
Mediterranean and Black Sea Basins
“The opening to
non-member Mediterranean states of Council of Europe treaties relating
to the environment, to transfrontier co-operation or to local
The Chair of the Group drew attention to the
specific instructions given to the GR-J in this respect, with
reference to the decision taken by the Deputies at their 678th
meeting (8 and 9 September 1999, item 12.1), namely: “to consider
the feasibility of opening Council of Europe Conventions in the field
of environment, transfrontier co-operation or local self-government to
Mediterranean countries, not members of the Council of Europe, which
have clearly expressed their desire to sign and ratify them”.
The Group agreed that the GR-J's task was clear
and that the questions raised were dealt with in the Secretariat's
document (GR-J(2001)3), which gave an overview of provisions
concerning the possibility of accession by non-member Mediterranean
countries and possible means of opening some of these treaties.
The document also indicated whether or not these States had
The Group therefore agreed to forward the
synopsis of the current meeting and the Secretariat's document to
the Rapporteur on co-operation in the Mediterranean basin so that he
could continue examining the other aspects of the recommendation and
draft a reply.
Request by Monaco to be invited to accede to the Convention on
Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from
Crime (ETS No.141) (GR-J(2001)4)
One delegation had reservations about the
compatibility of Monaco's domestic law with this Convention and said
that Monaco should provide guarantees concerning the way in which it
would comply with the convention before acceding to it.
A delegation said that, although it agreed, the
Convention was important for Monaco.
It suggested leaving the question of guarantees and Monaco's
ability to comply aside and considering the political aspect of the
request. This approach was endorsed by several delegations.
Two delegations said they were in favour of
A question was asked as to what the
Secretariat's practice was in such a situation.
The Secretariat said that in such cases, the CDPC questionnaire
prepared for the Convention had been sent to the State concerned. This solution was endorsed by several delegations.
The Group therefore agreed to resume
consideration of the matter in the light of Monaco's replies to the