Citing Crimea, PACE suspends voting rights of Russian delegation and excludes it from leading bodies

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), declaring that Russia’s annexation of Crimea was “in clear contradiction with the Statute of the Council of Europe” and the commitments Russia made when it joined the organisation in 1996, has decided to suspend the voting rights of the Russian delegation, as well as its right to be represented in the Assembly’s leading bodies, and its right to participate in election observation missions, effective until the end of the 2014 session (26 January 2015).

In a resolution adopted by 145 votes in favour, 21 against and 22 abstentions, after a three-hour debate, the Assembly said the military occupation of Ukrainian territory, threat of military force, recognition of the illegal so-called referendum and annexation of Crimea “constitute, beyond any doubt, a grave violation of international law”.

The resolution, based on a report by Stefan Schennach (Austria, SOC), reads: “In consequence, in order to mark its condemnation and disapproval of the Russian Federation’s actions with regard to Ukraine, the Assembly resolves to suspend the following rights of the delegation of the Russian Federation until the end of the 2014 session:

• voting rights;
• right to be represented in the Bureau of the Assembly, the Presidential Committee, and the Standing Committee;
• right to participate in election observation missions.”

However, the Assembly also declared that “political dialogue should remain the most privileged way to find compromise, and there should be no return to the pattern of the Cold War. Suspension of the credentials of the Russian delegation would make such a dialogue impossible, while the Assembly constitutes a good platform for keeping the Russian delegation accountable on the basis of the Council of Europe’s values and principles.”

It added: “The Assembly reserves the right to annul the credentials of the Russian delegation, if the Russian Federation does not de-escalate the situation and reverse the annexation of Crimea.”

The full text of the Assembly’s resolution, and the result of the vote, will be posted on the website of the Assembly as soon as possible after the vote.