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Statements in International Organisations


United Nations CCPCJ: Agenda item 4(c) - Work of the UNODC in facilitating the ratification and implementation of the international instruments to prevent and combat terrorism (Vienna)

Statement of the Republic of Slovenia on behalf of the European Union at the 17th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice


Thank you, Mr. Chairman

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union (EU). The Candidate Countries Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia  and Turkey, the Countries of the Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Moldova and Ukraine, associate themselves with this statement.

2. Mr. Chairman, terrorism constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. Through its methods and practices, terrorism threatens the security and stability of all states and undermines democracy and the well-being of all peoples. Terrorism knows no bounds and is targeting people, irrespective of their nationality, culture and religion. Terrorism runs counter to the very values on which the UN as well as the EU are founded, such as the rule of law, respect of human rights, fundamental freedoms and the opportunity for all to achieve social and economic development. The EU therefore strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and strongly underlines that terrorist acts are under no circumstances justifiable by political, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other reasons of similar nature. In this context, the EU also underlines that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any particular nationality, civilisation, religion or ethnic group.

3. In that spirit, the EU underlines the importance of a joint, comprehensive and firm response to acts of terrorism, based on the respect for the international law, in particular human rights and fundamental freedoms, international humanitarian law and refugee law and remains determined to tackle this scourge. In December 2005 

the European Council adopted an EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy which sets out a framework for actions to prevent inter alia radicalization and the recruitment to terrorism, to protect citizens and infrastructure, to pursue and investigate terrorists and to improve our response to the consequences of attacks. Since then, the implementation of this strategy, which has been complemented by a detailed action plan revised in March 2007, is a main focus of EU's counter terrorism activities.

4. Within the EU the Council Framework Decision on combating terrorism represents the basis of the counter-terrorist policy. The achievement of a legal framework common to all Member States, and in particular, of a harmonized definition of terrorist offences, has allowed the counter–terrorism policy of the EU to develop and expand, subject to the respect of fundamental rights and the rule of law. Furthermore, the Hague Program underlines that effective prevention and combating terrorism is in full compliance with fundamental rights and requires Member States not to confine their activities to maintaining their own security, but to focus also on the security of the Union as a whole. In achieving the goal to expand the counter-terrorism policy, the European Commission also proposed to amend the Council framework decision on combating terrorism which foresees the criminalization of terrorist linked offences in order to contribute to the more general policy objective of prevention of terrorism.

5. Mr. Chairman, terrorism is one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and EU supports the terrorism prevention as one of the most important activities of the United Nations. The EU attaches great importance to universal adherence to, and full implementation of all international Counter-Terrorism Conventions and Protocols. The EU fully complies with the international legal instruments relating to terrorism and continues to support the vital work undertaken by the Security Council's Counter Terrorism Committee, its Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (whose re-organisation the EU welcomes) and the Al Qaida/Taliban Sanctions Committee in the framework of the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF).

6. The EU also welcomes the work of the UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) which is a key provider of technical assistance in the fight against terrorism within the United Nations system. Over the past years, a close relationship has developed between the TPB and the EU that has led to valuable cooperation projects. The Member States of the EU have actively supported the work of the TPB through financial and other contributions.

7. The EU welcomes the joint organization by UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch, the European Commission and the Presidency of the EU of a Euro-Mediterranean Workshop on international cooperation in criminal matters pertaining to counter-terrorism. The EU expresses its appreciation to the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco for hosting the Workshop, which is scheduled to take place in Rabat from 5 to 6 May 2008, and hopes that this joint activity will further enhance close cooperation between the TPB and the EU

8. The scope of specialized technical assistance in the legal and related capacity building areas provided by UNODC, in particular by its TPB, has grown consistently since 2003 in terms of geographical reach, the number of countries receiving assistance and the substantive content of the assistance provided. While significant progress has been made, much work remains to be done in order to reach universal ratification and full implementation of the international legal instruments relating to terrorism. The EU recognizes the need for UNODC, considering that less than 100 countries have ratified the first 12 instruments, to further enhance the provision of technical assistance for the ratification of the international legal instruments, focused on those countries lagging behind, as well as to strengthen the capacity of national criminal justice systems to implement and apply the provisions of these instruments, especially by providing specialized and systematic training to criminal justice officials. The technical assistance needs to be sustained and continued to ensure an effective and adequate follow-up to initial assistance efforts undertaken and thus to achieve long-term impact.

9. With the significantly increased number of requests for assistance in legal and related capacity building matters as well as the related expansion in operational activities and substantive initiatives to assist States with the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the EU recognizes that the enhancement of UNODC's technical assistance activities will require adequate funding.

10. The EU emphasises that any measures we undertake to prevent and combat terrorism must comply with our obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, refugee law and humanitarian law. We reiterate that the effective counter-terrorism measures and the protection of human rights and the rule of law are not conflicting but complementary and mutually reinforcing goals. In this context, the EU considers initiatives to facilitate intercultural dialogue, as well as the enhancement of the role of the UN in capacity-building and providing technical assistance to be among the most important elements of any counter-terrorism strategy.

11. In a broader context, the EU is strongly committed to the next review process of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The EU was from the very beginning one of the main supporters of the aforementioned strategy. Its unanimous adoption demonstrated the unity and resolve by all UN Member States in combating terrorism. The EU continues to fully support the work of the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force in enhancing co-operation among UN agencies and bodies and other international organisations involved in the field of counter-terrorism. The EU recognizes that, to assist Member States in their implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, UNODC, within its mandates, is required to make effective contributions to the work of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and welcomes UNODC's active involvement in the Task Force.

12. At the same time, the EU remains committed to reaching an agreement on the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism as soon as possible, in order to complement and build on existing UN counter-terrorism agreements and contribute to a deeper international consensus on the legal framework for the fight against terrorism.

13. In concluding, Mr. Chairman, I would like to reassure you that Counter-terrorism is one of key priorities for the EU and a key element in our dialogue and cooperation with third countries and regions, incorporated in the broader framework of our external policies. The EU therefore hopes to strengthen the exchange of experience and co-operation on counter-terrorism in our relations with others.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.


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Date: 07.05.2008