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The News (Site updated Wednesday, February 11, 2004 | 18:00)

Committee of Ministers to consider a Declaration on freedom of political debate in the media

[10/02/04 18:00:00] During the meeting on Thursday 12 February the Commissioner for Human Rights, Alvaro Gil Robles, will present the Ministers’ Deputies with a series of reports on the human rights situation in the new European Union Member States and candidate countries. The agenda for this meeting also includes political discussions on Georgia, Moldova, Chechnya and Ukraine, together with an initial exchange of views on the Organisation's priorities for 2005. The Deputies are expected to adopt a Declaration on freedom of political debate in the media.
Draft agenda

New Committee of Ministers resolution in case concerning Italy
[11/02/04 15:00:00] The Committee of Ministers adopted an interim resolution concerning the Dorigo v. Italy case at its Human Rights meeting. The resolution strongly urges the Italian authorities, without further delay, to ensure the adoption of measures allowing for the consequences for the applicant in this case to be erased. The applicant was convicted and imprisoned following a trial the Committee found in 1999 to be unfair.

Committee of Ministers to supervise the execution of the Human Rights Court's judgments
[10/02/04 18:00:00] On 10 and 11 February 2004, the Committee of Ministers is holding the first of its Human Rights meetings in 2004 to supervise the execution of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights especially the payment of just satisfaction in some 552 cases, the adoption - in some 47 cases - of other important individual measures and the adoption of general measures in some 61 cases. The Committee will furthermore start examining 66 new judgments of the Court and will consider 15 draft final resolutions concluding that States have complied with the Court's judgments. (more ...)

Eurimages has made a significant contribution to the emergence of cinema aimed at a European audience
[09/02/04 11:00:00] Six films supported by the Council of Europe's European Support Fund for the co-production of cinematographic works are competing at the 54th Berlin Festival, which finishes on 15 February. Jacques Toubon, President of Eurimages, believes that this reflects the Fund’s unfailing commitment to the European cinema over the past 15 years. But he emphasises that this is not enough…

Helsinki : Conference on the role of Baltic local authorities in combating major oil spills
[06/02/04 15:30:00] Risks of oil spills have lately been the crux of controversy in the riparian countries of the Baltic Sea. Many tankers ply this ecologically sensitive zone, and some do not meet modern safety standards. The Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is organising a conference on 9 and 10 February 2004 in conjunction with the Finnish Association of Local and Regional Authorities to discuss ways of reducing the risk of major oil spills and the steps to be taken in the event of disaster. The salient points of the proceedings include co-ordination, mutual assistance and inter-municipal and cross-border transmission of information in emergency situations.
Finnish Association of Local and Regional Authorities

A challenge to local authorities : Financing the equipment itemised in their contingency plan for fighting oil spills
[06/02/04 17:00:00] While taking part in the conference held by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe on the role of local authorities in combating major oil spills in the Baltic Sea, Kalervo Jolma from the Finnish Environmental Institute explains in an interview the preventive measures needed in a region where fossil fuel transport has tripled in less than 10 years.

''Working for and with those threatened by poverty''
[06/02/04 11:00:00] Poverty and social exclusion are a threat to freedom, peace and stability in Europe, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio said on 6 February in Warsaw. Which is why social rights and efforts to reinforce social cohesion in our societies are one of the Council of Europe priorities. The Deputy Secretary General was addressing a meeting organised by ATD Fourth World on the theme 'Acting together for a Europe of Dignity for All'. She reminded her audience of the Council of Europe's standard setting activities and described a number of very practical measures taken in various European countries. (more ...)

Iceland signs the Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level and ratifies the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption
[11/02/04 10:00:00] (more ...)
Denmark signs the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime
[10/02/04 10:00:00] (more ...)
Albania ratifies European Convention on Nationality
[11/02/04 10:00:00] (more ...)
Azerbaijan ratifies four Council of Europe treaties
[11/02/04 10:00:00] (more ...)

Human Rights Commissioner to present his reports on EU new member States
[10/02/04 12:00:00] On Thursday 12 February, Alvaro Gil-Robles will conclude the presentation to the Committee of Ministers of a series of reports on the human rights situation in the new European Union Member States and candidate countries. He will give a press conference on that occasion in Room 1 of the Palais de l’Europe at 2.30 pm. The video record of the conference will be available at 5 p.m. online. (more ...)

Anti-Torture Committee visits Andorra
[11/02/04 14:30:00] During a four-day visit to Andorra, the Council of Europe Anti-Torture Committee focused on developments in respect of the situation of persons detained by the police and in prison establishments since its 1998 visit. (more ...)

New visit of Anti-Torture Committee to a Prison in Moldova
[11/02/04 10:00:00] The Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture explores ways of ending the current deadlock concerning Prison No 8 in Bender. This establishment has been cut off from running water and electricity supplies since 10 July 2003 by decision of the Bender municipal authorities. Photo: AFP (more ...)

Secretary General meets German MPs in Bundestag
[10/02/04 09:00:00] On 9 February, during a 5-day official visit to Berlin, Walter Schwimmer met a group of German MPs, including Head of German Parliamentary Delegation to the Council of Europe Rudolf Bindig. The main topic of conversation was the effects of EU enlargement on the Council of Europe’s role as a pan-European organisation. It was in the EU’s interest to live in a democratic environment and strengthen co-operation with Greater Europe, Mr Schwimmer said. (more ...)

Human Rights, terrorism and biomedicine under discussion between Walter Schwimmer and Brigitte Zypries
[06/02/04 14:30:00] During his official visit to Germany, the Secretary General, Walter Schwimmer, met on Friday 6 February Germany's Minister of Justice, Brigitte Zypries. Ms Zypries expressed interest in the possible accession of the European Union to the Council of Europe's European Convention on Human Rights. Discussing the reform of the European Court of Human Rights, the Minister mentioned the recent Court hearing in a case relating to land expropriation in Germany. Other questions raised included the Convention on Terrorism and the Convention on Biomedicine, the latter being a subject of immense interest in Germany.

A new multilingual website for Council of Europe treaties
[05/02/04 18:00:00] The Council of Europe's official treaty website becomes a multilingual web site (English, French, German, Italian and Russian). All information will be provided into these five languages, with the following exceptions : the texts of treaties and explanatory reports which are not available in German, Italian or Russian will be displayed in English (with a link towards the French version) until their replacement by a translation into these languages; the texts of reservations and declarations are shown in English or French only, according to the user's choice. (more ...)

Fight against terrorism and trafficking in human beings of special importance to Council of Europe/OSCE cooperation, says Ivan Naydenov
[05/02/04 12:30:00] Presenting today before the Committee of Ministers the priorities of the new Bulgarian Chairmanship of the OSCE, Ambassador Ivan Naydenov, special representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-office, stressed the importance of reviewing common activities with the Council of Europe to improve co-operation in such fields as fighting terrorism and trafficking in human beings, combating racism and xenophobia, conflict prevention, and human rights protection.

Hearing in a case of freedom of expression
[10/02/04 10:00:00] The Court held a Chamber hearing today, Tuesday 10 February 2004 in the cases of Selistö v. Finland and Karhuvaara and Iltalehti v. Finland. The first applicant, a journalist on the regional daily newspaper Pohjalainen and the seconds, a publishing company which publishes the national daily tabloid newspaper Iltalehti and the publishing company’s editor-in-chief, complain of a violation of freedom of expression after having been convicted of defamation.
Forthcoming judgments
[09/02/04 12:00:00] The Court will be notifying in writing six Chamber judgments on Tuesday 10 February concerning Estonia, France, Rumania, the United Kingdom and Ukraine and one on Thursday 12 February concerning France. The Court will also be holding a public hearing in the Human Rights Building, on Thursday 12 February at 11 a.m. to deliver a judgment in the case of Perez v. France that concern proceedings in the Court of Cassation.
Hearings in February 2004
[03/02/04 15:30:00] The Court will hold hearings in cases concerning Finland (on 10th, at 9.30) and Turkey (on 12th, at 9.30). (more ...)

5-9 Feb: Secretary General visit to Berlin
Nov 2003 - May 2004: The Netherlands chairs the Committee of Ministers
Book of the month
Ethical eye: Euthanasia - Volume II, national and European perspectives (2004)

The Secretary General's colloquies
Goodwill Ambassadors
Council of Europe debates