Doc. 10403

17 January 2005

Immunities of members of the Parliamentary Assembly

Recommendation 1602 (2003)

Reply from the Committee of Ministers

adopted at the 911th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (12 January 2005)

1.       The Committee of Ministers recalls that it replied to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1602 (2003) on immunities of members of the Parliamentary Assembly on 21 January 2004 at its 869th meeting. In its reply it recognised the importance of the issues referred to in the Recommendation and considered parliamentary immunity as one of the important guarantees of the independence of the legislative power.

2.       The Committee of Ministers had communicated the Assembly Recommendation inter alia to the Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law (CAHDI) for information and possible comments. It had received a preliminary opinion from CAHDI. In its reply, the Committee of Ministers indicated that CAHDI would continue its consideration of the issues raised in the Assembly Recommendation and of the appropriateness and necessity of adopting a position concerning the interpretation of the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe. The Committee of Ministers would keep the Assembly informed of future developments in this area, and in case of adoption of any further decision on the matter it would be communicated to the Assembly.

3.       CAHDI pursued its consideration of Recommendation 1602 (2003) and agreed to propose to the Committee of Ministers to ask member states, where national legislation permits, to acknowledge unilaterally as an official document the laissez-passer issued by the competent Council of Europe authorities to the members of the Parliamentary Assembly. At their 904th meeting (17 November 2004), the Committee of Ministers decided to follow CAHDI’s proposal. It instructed the Secretary General to transmit the invitation to member states.