Sunday, July 19, 2015

EUROPOL July 2015 counteterrorism report (Excerpts)


In 2014, seven EU Member States reported a total of 201 terrorist attacks, which resulted in the death of four people and the injury of six. The total number of terrorist incidents continued to decrease in all EU countries except the United Kingdom, where they tripled since 2013. The UK attacks represent more than half of the total number of terrorist incidents in the EU for the reporting period. Spain and Italy experienced an increase in the number of arson attacks, compared to last year in which criminal damage accounted for the majority of incidents. The number of attacks targeting critical infrastructure increased from one to eight. One attack classified as religiously inspired terrorism was reported by Belgium. Four people were killed in the incident. One other religiously inspired attack was reported by France. Terrorist attacks linked to separatist terrorism continued to decrease for the third consecutive year, falling from 167 in 2012, to 84 in 2013 and to 67 in 2014. All incidents for the reporting period occurred in Spain and France (17 and 50 respectively).

 A total of 13 attacks related to left wing and anarchist terrorism occurred in 2014. The number is the lowest since 2006. The incidents were reported by Greece (6), Italy (6) and Spain (1). As in previous years (except 2013), arson remains the most frequent modus operandi for left wing and anarchist terrorist groups. One attack classified as single-issue terrorism has been reported by Italy and no right-wing terrorist incident has occurred in 2014.


774 individuals were arrested for terrorism related offences in 16 EU Member States. This was a 43% increase compared to 2013 (535 arrests). Most arrests were reported by France (238), Spain (145) and the United Kingdom (132). The  number of arrests for religiously inspired terrorism continued to rise, a trend that has been observed since 2011, whereas arrests for separatist terrorism continued to decrease. „ Almost half of the arrests (48%) were for membership of a terrorist organisation, whereas 22% was related to travelling to conflict zones, 13% for carrying out attacks, and 9% for terrorist propaganda. „ Arrests for religiously inspired terrorism continue to represent the largest proportion of the total arrests in the EU. Their number rose from 159 (2012), to 216 (2013), to 395 (2014). The rise was due to the increased number of arrests for terrorist offences related to travelling to conflict zones, mainly to Syria. Of the total number of arrestees for religiously inspired terrorism, 90% were younger than 40 years old. The majority of them (44% or 172) were under 25 years of age, a number almost twice as large as that of the arrestees under 25 years in 2013. 

There was also a dramatic increase in the number of women arrested for religiously inspired terrorism. In 2014, there were 52 female arrestees compared to only six in 2013. „ The number of arrests for ethno-nationalist and separatist terrorism continued to decrease from 257 in 2012, to 180 in 2013, to 149 in 2014. The age of the majority of the arrestees was between 41 and 50. In 2014, 28 women were arrested for separatist terrorism compared to 18 in 2013. „ A total of 54 individuals were arrested for anarchist and left-wing terrorism offences in 2014 in four EU Member States (Spain, Greece, Italy and France). There was an increase compared to previous years, from 24 in 2012, to 49 in 2013 and to 54 in 2014. The number of arrests in Spain increased significantly from 15 in 2013 to 36 in 2014. People arrested for anarchist and left-wing propaganda accounted for 35% of the total number of arrestees. „ Arrests related to right-wing terrorism increased from 10 in 2012, to 3 in 2013 and to 34 in 2014.

ANNEX 3: CONVICTIONS AND PENALTIES (EUROJUST) Number of individuals in concluded court proceedings for terrorist offences per EU Member State in 2012, 2013, 23 and 2014,24 as reported to Eurojust

„ In 2014, 15 EU Member States reported to have concluded a total of 180 court proceedings on terrorism-related charges. „ The relevant court proceedings concluded in 2014 involved 444 individuals. Six of those individuals appeared in court several times for different offences. As a result, the total number of verdicts pronounced for terrorism-related offences in 2014 amounts to 452. „ In 2014, there were 72 female defendants in the concluded court proceedings for terrorist offences. „ In 2014, Spain was the Member State with the highest number of concluded court proceedings for terrorist offences. Spain remains also the country where the majority of terrorism verdicts were rendered. In 2014, there was also an increase in the number of individuals convicted or acquitted for terrorist offences by the courts of Belgium, Denmark, Spain and the United Kingdom; this number on the other hand decreased in France and the Czech Republic. For the first time in 2014 Croatia, Finland and Slovakia reported a terrorism-related court decision to Eurojust.

„ In 2014 separatist terrorism continued to be the dominant type of terrorism in the concluded court proceedings. „ The vast majority of separatist terrorism verdicts were pronounced in Spain. „ As in 2013, all court decisions pronounced in Austria and the Czech Republic in 2014 concerned religiously inspired terrorism. Also the verdicts pronounced in the Netherlands and Finland in 2014 concerned religiously inspired terrorism only. In Greece all relevant verdicts related to leftwing terrorism, while Belgium and France were the only Member States that reported right-wing terrorism verdicts. „ A large part of the female defendants in the concluded court proceedings in 2014 appeared in court in relation to separatist terrorism acts, which confirms a tendency observed in recent years. „ Left-wing terrorism verdicts in 2014 received the highest average prison sentence (14 years). This average decreased compared to 2013 (18 years). The average prison sentence given for separatist and religiously inspired terrorist offences in 2014 remained the same as in 2013 (13 years and four years respectively).

„ In 2014, all reported terrorism-related prosecutions in Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece and the Slovak Republic resulted in convictions. „ Germany is the only Member State that has reported no acquittals in the period 2010-2014. With an acquittal rate of 5%, France could also be considered as having very successful prosecutions for terrorist offences. „ In 2014 acquittals constituted 24% of all verdicts pronounced for terrorist offences.27 27 In one case in Lithuania the Supreme Court reverted the 2013 acquittal ruled by the Court of Appeal and returned the case for trial at the Court of Appeal. The verdict is included in the numbers as an acquittal pending re-trial at the Court of Appeal. „ Twenty-eight of the 72 female defendants in the concluded court proceedings reported in 2014 were acquitted. The majority of the acquitted females  were brought to court on charges related to separatist terrorist acts. „ The verdicts in relation to separatist terrorism in 2014 had the highest acquittal rate (46%) unlike in previous years, when the highest acquittal rate was reported for verdicts related to left-wing terrorism. In 2014, the prosecutions related to left-wing terrorism were the most successful as the relevant verdicts did not contain any acquittals.