Monday 30 March 2009

Legal issues in fighting terrorism in the EU: A response from the member states

The Commission has published a compilation document named
Synthesis of the replies from the Member States to the Questionnaire on criminal law, administrative law/procedural law and fundamental rights in the fight against terrorism
One of the main quotes from this document is the following (page 5):
[T]he absence of problems can be explained by a very low rate of terrorist activity. Some national authorities have not encountered any problem in prosecuting terrorist suspects because they have not been confronted with terrorist activities taking place in their territories.
In other words: Terrorism is not a problem in most countries of the European Union, while it is constantly overestimated by those actors who want to decrease the freedoms of citizens.

Very interesting is the table on page 15, listing the number of prosecutions and convictions for terrorist activities in the member states since 2001, with France and Spain showing peaks in convictions while the UK peaks for prosecutions (paranoia?!) among very low figures in other member states.

Further down in the text, we learn that "Cases of violations of data protection rules in relation to the fight against terrorism were ... reported by two Member States", namely Belgium and Germany.

Altogether, the document gives a nice little insight into how member states' legal systems are handling terrorism - anyone interested in the field will get useful details.