Logo Assembly Logo Hemicycle

Justice by algorithm – the role of artificial intelligence in policing and criminal justice systems

Reply to Recommendation | Doc. 15395 | 25 October 2021

Committee of Ministers
Adopted at the 1415th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (20 October 2021). 2022 - First part-session
Reply to Recommendation
: Recommendation 2182 (2020)
1. The Committee of Ministers has examined Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 2182 (2020) “Justice by algorithm – the role of artificial intelligence in policing and criminal justice systems” and communicated it to the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC), the Ad hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI) and the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) for information and possible comments.
2. The Committee of Ministers reaffirms that all member States’ policing and criminal justice systems should operate under and within the same basic standards of human rights and the rule of law, as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5) and as interpreted in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. The Committee shares the view of the Parliamentary Assembly, as set out in its accompanying Resolution 2342 (2020), that the use of artificial intelligence in policing and criminal justice systems may have significant benefits if it is properly regulated, but it risks having a particularly serious impact on human rights if it is not. Specific concerns include fundamental aspects of the right to non-discrimination, to privacy, and to a fair trial.
3. In this context, the Committee of Ministers recalls the contribution already made by the Council of Europe to standard-setting in this field and to providing assistance to member States by identifying principles for meeting these new challenges. It refers to its decisions on human rights in the digital age taken at the 131st Ministerial Session in Hamburg on 21 May 2021, in which it encouraged implementation in particular of its Recommendation CM/Rec(2020)1 on the human rights impacts of algorithmic systems and the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice’s European Ethical Charter on the use of artificial intelligence in judicial systems and their environment, among others.
4. Furthermore, and precisely to avoid “regulatory patchworks” – varying standards in different countries –the Committee of Ministers decided to give priority to the work on an appropriate legal framework for the development, design and application of artificial intelligence based on the Council of Europe’s standards on human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and conducive to innovation. It invited its Deputies, while examining the full range of possible options, to focus particularly on a possible legal framework which can be composed of a binding legal instrument of a transversal character, including notably general common principles, as well as additional binding or non-binding instruments to address challenges relating to the application of artificial intelligence in specific sectors. Negotiations on the transversal instrument should be started by the next Ministerial Session in May 2022.