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State Secretary at the Ministry of Justice Robert Marolt and State Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior Zvonko Zinrajh attend G8 Justice and Home Affairs ministerial meeting on the fight against terrorism and crime

© Hirofumi Takeuchi

State Secretary at the Ministry of Justice Robert Marolt and State Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior Zvonko Zinrajh attended the G8 Justice and Home Affairs ministerial meeting held from 11 to 13 June in Tokyo. The state secretaries participated in the ministerial meeting as representatives of the country holding the presidency of the European Union. Japan was represented by Japanese Minister of State and Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission Shinya Izumi and Minister of Justice Kunio Hatoyama. State Secretary Zinrajh remarked that the Slovenian Presidency has had an opportunity to contribute to the discussion held by senior representatives of the G8 countries on fighting terrorism and various types of crime. He emphasised that in combating terrorism, the focus should be on protecting critical infrastructure as well as on prevention, and added that it is imperative that radicalisation and terrorist recruitment be thwarted.

The meeting began with a discussion on counter-terrorism, which represents a challenge both to G8 countries and to EU Member States. The participants agreed that the proper response to terrorism is global involvement by all countries. On behalf of the Council presidency, State Secretary Marolt presented some efforts and achievements in this context that the EU has made in the recent period. The Council Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism of 2002 set forth a harmonised definition of terrorist acts, as well as sanctions, which must be efficient, proportionate and dissuasive. During the Slovenian Presidency, consensus was reached on the text of a proposal to amend the framework decision. In this way, the EU is responding particularly to incitement to terrorism via the Internet. The proposal classifies public incitement to commit terrorist offences, terrorist recruitment and training for terrorism as criminal acts. “With this legislative proposal, the EU has adequately responded to the newly established forms of operation by terrorist structures in the world. It is increasingly important that we ensure efficient cooperation within the wider international context as well, since only in this way can we be effective in the fight against terrorism at the global level,” pointed out State Secretary Marolt.

Terrorism remains one of the basic security threats to the foundations of the EU, its security and freedom. In its attempt to combat terrorism, the EU has adopted a counter-terrorism strategy and the revised EU Action Plan on Combating Terrorism, which rest on four pillars of action and seek to identify and instruct the competent authorities within the EU to perform counter-terrorism tasks. Prevention consists of dissuading people from committing terrorist acts and removing factors contributing to the occurrence of terrorism, while protection consists of reducing vulnerability to attacks, as well as enhancing the security of borders, transport and critical infrastructure.

Terrorism and other types of crime are linked to ID-related crime, which was the next topic on the agenda. State Secretary Zinrajh stressed that considering the existing information and risk assessments in this area, intensive training of police officers and others should be further pursued so they can identify counterfeit and altered documents by using relevant equipment for detecting and verifying biometric data. In order to prevent document counterfeiting, we should strive to use travel documents that include biometric identifiers as much as possible and to adequately standardise biometric data. As regards ID-related crime, the Slovenian Presidency believes that great added value will be provided by the future exchange of DNA data, which will be made possible due to the integration of the provisions of the Prüm Treaty into the Union’s legal framework.

International illicit drug trafficking remains the main problem of the international community. Despite great efforts to reduce unlawful manufacture of and trade in illicit drugs, the latter are still available on the black market. The EU plays an active role in combating illicit drugs at the international level. Within the EU, the greatest progress has been made in the area of police and judicial cooperation, leading to more efficient operation of law enforcement agencies, with Europol and Eurojust playing the central role. In drug supply reduction, the EU has numerous measures in place, such as improving cooperation between law enforcement agencies, developing common projects and strategies, and introducing measures against the diversion of precursors, as well as measures to fight money laundering.

In further discussion, the ministers focused on mutual relations in the fight against international forms of organised crime. State Secretary Zinrajh stressed that closer cooperation between law enforcement agencies in preventing and detecting criminal offences is one of the ways to provide for the security of citizens. By transposing the provisions of the Prüm Treaty into the Union’s legal framework, implementing the provisions of the Framework Decision on simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence, and changing the legal basis of Europol, great progress has been made during the Slovenian Presidency, enabling prompt and efficient exchange of information and data. Moreover, taking forward the project of the second generation Schengen Information System will represent further progress, given the inclusion of biometric data in the databases, which will provide better operation at the EU external border and within the EU. Finally, drawing up threat assessments and spreading good practice and experience to the neighbouring regions constitute a major step in the fight against organised crime.

In discussing the improvement of operational capabilities, State Secretary Zinrajh underlined the key importance of mutual assistance in providing capabilities for combating cross-border crime and terrorism. Since capabilities in the EU Member States and other developed countries are limited, the future of developmental assistance also lies in public-private partnership.

Also on the agenda was a discussion on the state of affairs in combating sexual abuse of children, notably child sex tourism, which consists of criminal offences committed by persons travelling to another country to engage in sexual activity with children. Sexual abuse of children takes place in different forms, including forced prostitution, abuse of trust, and presentation, manufacture and possession of pornographic material. Furthermore, the increase in the volume of child pornography on the Internet is also a cause for concern. In Europe, this burning problem is regulated by various instruments, such as the Council of Europe Convention on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, the Council Framework Decision on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings, the Council Framework Decision on combating trafficking in human beings, and the Council Framework Decision on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, which was presented at the meeting by State Secretary Marolt. He particularly underlined the alarming increase in the number of cases of ‘grooming’, which is the solicitation of children for abuse through the Internet. “The EU is endeavouring to fight all forms of child exploitation. With a view to preventing this phenomenon, we are also engaged in activities that are being undertaken by other international organisations,” stated State Secretary Marolt.

At the end of the meeting, the ministers adopted the concluding declaration and approved the Roma-Lyon Group report, which is the main forum for G8 cooperation in fighting terrorism and organised crime. The Roma-Lyon Group formulates common positions within the G8 to be used at other international forums, and has several specialised ad-hoc sub-groups which are involved in preparing G8 ministerial meetings.


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Date: 13.06.2008