Press release - 899(2010)

Council of Europe Justice Ministers look to the future of justice and prisons in Europe

Strasbourg, 26.11.2010 – Today in Istanbul, concluding a three-day exchange of best practices, Council of Europe Ministers of Justice adopted a number of resolutions defining the prerequisites for achieving modern, transparent, independent, fair and efficient justice, effective prison policy, and protection of data and privacy in the third millennium.

“Together we’ve glimpsed the future. We know that this is an ongoing process, and we know that all countries in Europe must work together if we want to make the vision a reality” said Sadullah Ergin, Minister of Justice of Turkey.

At the first major event organised under the Turkish Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, Philippe Boillat, Director General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs pointed to the main challenge faced by member states in the penal field: “Overpopulation in prisons is the big cause for concern. It creates enormous problems – for the treatment of prisoners and also with regard to working conditions for prison staff”, he said.

Delegates to the 30th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers of Justice recognised the Council of Europe as the reference for applicable standards and monitoring mechanisms in the penitentiary field, and indicated steps to develop further a European prisons policy.

Recognising the pace and importance of technological developments in access to and delivery of justice, Ministers underlined the need to guarantee the exercise and protection of the rights of citizens and the principles of the rule of law.

Ministers expressed support for the work to modernise the Data Protection Convention (CETS n° 108) – the only legally binding international text on the topic with the potential to be applied at global level. The Council of Europe wants the process to be inclusive and intends to associate non-member states with it. The Council will consult widely with the private sector and civil society, as well as with other stakeholders.

Austria will host the next gathering of Council of Europe Ministers of Justice, the date of which is still to be determined.

More information on the Conference

Council of Europe Directorate of Communication
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11