Η ανάγκη προστασίας των θυμάτων της τρομοκρατίας (Συμβούλιο της Ευρώπης, 02.10.2019)

Thank you Mrs. Chairwoman.

I’d like to congratulate my dear colleague and compatriot,
Marietta Karamanli, for her excellent work in drafting the
report and the resolution at hand. Mrs. Karamanli has
based her work on both an account of the existing
bibliography on the subject and a series of fact-finding
missions in member-states and specific case-studies.
My country, Greece, has a long and painful experience of
suffering from terrorism. I am proud to present to you for
your further consideration the recently published work,
The Oxford Handbook on Terrorism, by two stellar Greek
academics, and dear colleagues and friends, Andreas
Gofas and Stathis Kalyvas, which serves as the basis of
my intervention here today.

Terrorism is a serious security threat for our societies and
one, if not the most serious form of political violence for
our advanced democracies today. Protecting and
supporting the victims of terrorism is an essential moral
obligation of our states and an important part of any anti-
terrorism strategy.

Why is that? Terrorism is fundamentally a communicative
act whereby the recipients of the violence, whomever they
may be or whomever they may represent by virtue of their
individual or social identity, serve as a conduit for
communicating the terrorist act.

However, the victims of terrorism, the messengers for the
violent act, are rarely the focus of our investigative and policy efforts. Victims of terrorism are a party to terrorist
violence, as are their families, their communities and, at
times, their governments; and therefore understanding the experience of victimhood in this context is vital if we are to
comprehend the entirety of the complexity of terrorism.
Being a victim of terrorism is both a very private traumatic
event but also a very public and political experience. In the
aftermath of a terrorist attack, society often equates the
strength or resilience of a nation to deal with terrorism with
the recovery of its victims.

If terrorists move in a world of abstraction and radical
ideas, the victims of terrorism can play a vital role in
humanizing the high costs of terrorism and thus
delegitimize terrorism and its underlying radical ideology.
In sum, protecting the victims is good for the victims themselves but it is good for all of us as well.Therefore,
the protection of victims is in the wider public interest and
should be part of state policy in all member-states of our
Council. Adopting the conclusions of the report and the
resolution at hand is a necessary first step in the regard.

One final point: The threat of terrorism is likely to persist.
Our fight against terrorism is a marathon not a sprint. At
each step, we need to consider what the long-term effect
of our own actions will be and refuse to take steps that will
in the longer term play into the terrorist’s hands. While
every attack is an outrage, and for victims the impact can
be horrific, we should not give terrorists the gratification of
believing that their actions will ultimately destabilise or
threaten our fundamental our values. This means that we
resolutely continue to take the necessary steps to counter
terrorism but we also refuse to sensationalise or glamorise
what terrorists are doing.


Thank you