Council of Europe: ICJ and AI observations on draft foreign fighters protocol negotiations

The ICJ and Amnesty International have submitted public observations on the terms of reference to draft an Additional Protocol supplementing the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism.

In the letter containing their observations, the ICJ and AI outlined before the Committee on Foreign Terrorist Fighters and Related Issues (COD-CTE) of the Council of Europe the general principles of human rights law related to the issue of foreign fighters and the implementation of Security Council resolution 2178(2014) and made observations on specific acts the criminalization of which was explicitly mandated by the Committee of Ministers. The two human rights organisations expressed their concern at the lack of publicity of the negotiations and public availability of the draft protocol which impeded a punctual and effective process of consultations and observations on the negotiated text.

The letter outlines positions and concerns with relation to:

  • The lack of definition of central concepts like “terrorism”, “terrorist acts”, and “foreign fighters”
  • The risk of introducing criminal offences lacking the clarity, accessibility and foreseeability required by the principle of legality
  • The risk of conflation of of different legal regimes, notably of international humanitarian law and ordinary criminal law
  • The need to investigate and prosecute existing crimes under international law
  • The need to ensure that any criminalisation of acts or omissions must have a close connection to the commission of the principal criminal offence, with a real risk that such a principal criminal act would in fact take place
  • The proposed criminal offences of being recruited and receiving training for terrorism, and their ancillary offences.

CouncilofEurope-Letter-ForeignFighters-Advocacy-Legal Submission-2015-ENG (download the observations)

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