Credentials of the delegation of Ukraine


Doc. 7993

26 January 1998

Committee on Rules of Procedure

Rapporteur: Mrs Marcelle Lentz-Cornette (Luxembourg, Group of the European People’s Party)



1. At the opening of the present part-session on Monday 26 January 1998, Mr McNamara (United Kingdom, SOC) raised objections to the credentials submitted by the authorities of Ukraine for their delegation. In accordance with Rule 6, paragraph 7.a of the Rules of Procedure, the credentials were referred, without debate, to the Committee on Rules of Procedure.

2. Rule 6, paragraph 7.a furthermore provides that "in every case where there is an objection or credentials are contested, the reasons shall be stated and shall be based upon one or more of the relevant provisions of the Statute (in particular Articles 3, 25 and 26), including the democratic principles set out in the preamble to the Statute.

3. In challenging the credentials presented by the authorities of Ukraine, Mr McNamara drew attention to the report presented by the Committee of Legal Affairs and Human rights during the current part-session (Rapporteur: Ms Wohlwend, Liechtenstein, EPP/CD, Doc.7974) on the introduction by Ukraine of a moratorium on executions and the abolition of the death penalty. Therein, it was recalled that upon accession to the Council of Europe in November 1995, Ukraine had committed itself to put into place, with immediate effect from the day of accession; a moratorium on executions. Nevertheless, executions have continued, including in 1997. In addition, because all information regarding executions constitute a state secret in Ukraine; it has been very difficult to obtain reliable information. Paragraphs 12 and 13 of the draft resolution in that report then read as follows:

"12. Ukraine was clearly warned in Resolution 1112(1997) of the consequences any further executions after 29 January 1997 could have. Recalling that executions continued at least until 11 March 1997, the Assembly, in the absence of an official notification by the President and the Speaker of Parliament of Ukraine notifying to the council of Europe the imposition of a de jure moratorium on executions; decides not to ratify the credentials of the Ukrainian parliamentary delegation.

13. The credentials of the delegation may only be ratified at a later date when the Ukrainian authorities have lifted the secrecy surrounding executions an have furnished further documentary and undeniable proof that a moratorium on executions has been established in Ukraine."

4. Following a declaration made by the President after the challenge of credentials, the Assembly agreed to have a joint debate at its sitting on Tuesday morning 27 January 1998, on the report by the Committee on Rules of Procedure and the report by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights referring to Ukraine. After the debate, the Assembly would vote first on the report by the Committee on Rules of Procedure and then on the draft text by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights.

5. The Committee on Rules of Procedure, meeting on the evening of 26 January 1998, considered the Preamble and Articles 3, 25 and 26 of the Statute and Doc. 7974, particularly paragraphs 12 and 13, and heard a statement by Ms Wohlwend.

6. As regards the formal conditions for the submission of credentials contained in Articles 25 and 26 of the Statute, the Committee considered that all the requirements had been fulfilled by the Ukrainian delegation.

7. Concerning the Preamble and Article 3 of the Statute; several members of the Committee attached importance to the fact that the Ukrainian delegation had been warned three times by the Assembly over a period of two years what consequences further violation of its commitment would have. They agreed with the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights that simply to issue another warning would endanger the Assembly's credibility. They therefore rejected the option to defer the ratification of credentials as this would be tantamount to allowing the delegation to sit provisionally with the same rights as other Representatives and Substitutes. These members were furthermore concerned about the secrecy surrounding the procedure of how death sentences were confirmed and carried out.

8. Other members drew attention to the fact that the death penalty was not illegal under the European Convention on Human Rights and that its abolition was not a formal obligation under the Statute or the Convention. It was only the subject of a political commitment upon accession and of Optional Protocol 6 to the Human Rights convention (which Ukraine had signed but not ratified). Furthermore, a moratorium on executions was within the powers of the Ukrainian governmental authorities and it would therefore be counterproductive to punish the parliamentary delegation by withholding ratification of their credentials. These members of the Committee also pointed out that it was possible under Rule 6, paragraph 9 of the Rules of Procedure to reconsider ratified credentials in the course of the same session if a motion for a resolution was tabled with a view to annulling the ratification.

9. Having examined these considerations, and recalling the possibility to have recourse to other sanctions, the Committee on Rules of Procedure, by 16 votes in favour, 2 against and 2 abstentions, proposed that the Assembly should ratify the credentials of the Ukrainian delegation



Reporting committee: Committee on Rules of Procedure

Budgetary implications for the Assembly: none

Reference to committee:Assembly's decision of 26 January 1998

Draft resolution adopted by the committee on 26 January 1998

Members of the committee: Mrs Lentz-Cornette (Chairperson), Mrs Pulgar, M.Gjellerod (Vice-Chairpersons), MM. Averchev, Besostri, Bianchi (Alternate: Speroni), Bilinski, Cardona, Dias, Enright, Goovaerts (Alternate: Clerfayt), Kandare, Kittis, Korakas, Kostytsky, Laakso, Laurinkus, Magnusson, Maltsev, Marten, M�sz�ros, Minarolli, Mozetic, Nastase, Mrs Novakova, Mrs Ojuland, MM. Pavlov, Pickles, Mrs Ragnarsdottir, MM. Sandrier, Schieder, Schloten, Seiler, Silay, Simonsen, Sinka, Slobodnik, Tahiri, Vin�on, Vis (Alternate: Lord Russel Johnston).

Secretary of the committee: Horst Schade.