The Information Society and Action against Crime Directorate is responsible for the Council of Europe’s work on the media, information society and for action against crime. The Directorate’s activities comprise standard setting, monitoring and cooperation activities on a wide variety of issues, including freedom of expression, data protection, internet governance, cybercrime, criminal law, fighting economic crime, corruption and money laundering as well as action against drug trafficking and drug abuse. It also promotes transparency and understanding of the functioning of audiovisual industries in Europe from a legal and economic point of view.
Jan Kleijssen, Director
There is no true democracy without freedom of expression and without free and pluralist media. The right to freedom of expression also applies to new forms of mass communication. The Council of Europe keeps freedom of expression and media standards under constant review; it provides assistance to ensure their respect, in line with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Convention opened for signature on 28 January 1981 was the first legally binding international instrument in the data protection field. Parties to the convention are required to take the necessary steps in their domestic legislation to apply the principles it lays down in order to ensure respect in their territory for the fundamental human rights of all individuals with regard to processing of personal data.
The Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime – the only binding international instrument in the field – provides guidelines for any country developing comprehensive national legislation against Cybercrime and as a framework for international co-operation between States Parties to this treaty.
European Audiovisual Observatory
The Observatory was created in 1992 in order to collect and distribute information about the audiovisual industries in Europe. By making this information available, the Observatory aims at promoting greater transparency and a clearer understanding of the ways in which the audiovisual industries in Europe function, both from an economic and legal point of view.
Action against crime
The CDPC identifies priorities for intergovernmental legal co-operation, makes proposals to the Committee of Ministers on activities in the fields of criminal law and procedure, criminology and penology, and implements these activities.
The Council of Europe’s expertise in promoting more humane and socially effective prisons is unique. It has adopted a number of legal instruments, including the European Prison Rules and recommendations on education in prison, prison staff, healthcare in prison and prison overcrowding.
Treaties have been negotiated within the Council of Europe establishing a common basis for co-operation in criminal matters across Europe and sometimes beyond. They cover co-operation mechanisms such as extradition, mutual legal assistance and the transfer of persons serving prison sentences.
Through bilateral co-operation activities and projects, the Criminal Law Co-operation Unit plays a major role in assisting the beneficiary countries to integrate the Council of Europe standards in their penitentiary, probation and law enforcement institutions.
The Council of Europe is dedicated to upholding human rights, the rule of law and pluralist democracy, and is determined to combat terrorism, which rejects these three fundamental values. Its work in this field begain in the 1970s, but efforts have been stepped up since 2001, following the unprecedented terrorist attacks in the United States.
The Council of Europe’s approach consists of three interrelated elements: supporting the implementation of the relevant standards (treaty law and soft law), assisting and facilitating the implementation of recommendations from monitoring mechanisms (GRECO and MONEYVAL) and providing capacity-building based on country-specific needs and assessments.
Money laundering and financing of terrorism
The Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL) evaluates the implementation of relevant international and European standards to counter these crimes in 28 Council of Europe member states, Israel, the Holy See (including the Vatican City State) and the three UK Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
The Conference of the Parties set up under the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism (CETS No. 198) monitors the proper implementation of the Convention by the Parties and, at the request of a Party, expresses an opinion on any question concerning the interpretation and application of the Convention.
Fight against corruption
GRECO is the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body; its 49 members comprise 48 European States and the United States of America. Its objective is to improve member States’ capacity to fight corruption by assessing their compliance with Council of Europe anti-corruption standards through a process of mutual evaluation and peer pressure. It helps to identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption legislation and policies, prompting the necessary legislative, institutional and practical reforms.
Combating Drug Abuse and Trafficking
The core mission of the Pompidou Group is to contribute to the development of multidisciplinary, innovative, effective and evidence-based drug policies in its member states. It seeks to link Policy, Practice and Science and focuses especially on the realities of local implementation of drug programmes.
Source: Council of Europe
Editor in Chief