26 January 2000
Credentials of the delegation of the Russian Federation
Committee on Rules of Procedure and Immunities
Rapporteur: Mr Rudolf Vis, United Kingdom, Socialist Group
I. Conclusions of the committee
The Committee on Rules of Procedure and Immunities is of the opinion that the proposals contained in the report of the Political Affairs Committee on the credentials of the Russian delegation are in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly and the Statute of the Council of Europe.
II. Explanatory memorandum by Mr Vis
1. At the opening of the present part-session on Monday 24 January 2000, Mr van der Linden and nine other members of the Assembly belonging to five national delegations raised objections to the credentials submitted by the authorities of the Russian Federation for their delegation contained in Doc. 8622. In accordance with Rule 8, paragraph 3 of the Rules of Procedure, the President ruled that the credentials should be referred, without debate, to the Political Affairs Committee for report and to the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights and the Committee on Rules of Procedure and Immunities for opinion.
A. Credentials of the delegation
2. The relevant parts of Rule 8, paragraphs 1 and 2 provide as follows:
“The unratified credentials of a national delegation as a whole may be challenged on the substantial grounds set out in paragraph 2 by at least ten members of the Assembly present in the chamber, belonging to at least five national delegations...
The substantial grounds on which credentials may be challenged are:
“a. serious violation of the basic principles of the Council of Europe mentioned in Article 3 of, and the Preamble to2, the Statute; or
b. persistent failure to honour obligations and commitments and lack of co-operation with the Assembly’s monitoring procedure.”
3. In challenging the credentials presented by the authorities of the Russian Federation, it was stated that the actions of the Russian Federation in Chechnya violated both the basic principles of the Council of Europe as enshrined in the Statute and the obligations and commitments entered into at the time of accession.
4. Following a declaration made by the President after the challenge of credentials, the Assembly agreed to deal with the report and opinions on the credentials of the Russian Federation on Thursday, 27 January 2000.
5. The committee, meeting on 26 January 2000, considered the report adopted by the Political Affairs Committee on 25 January (Doc. 8633, Rapporteur: Mr Davis) and the Preamble and Article 3 of the Statute. Its discussions focused on whether the proposals contained in the report were in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and the Statute. In particular, Rule 8.5 circumscribes the type of recommendations which can be contained in such a report, limiting them to three:
- ratification of the credentials, or
- non-ratification of the credentials, or
- depriving or suspending the exercise of the some of the rights of participation or representation of members of the delegation concerned in the activities of the Assembly and its bodies.
6. The main proposal of the Political Affairs Committee is to recommend the ratification of the credentials, thus making a clear choice between the options given by Rule 8.5. In addition, the report includes a proposal to follow closely the implementation of requirements contained in the Recommendation to be adopted within the framework of the debate on the conflict in Chechnya (Doc. 8630, Rapporteur: Lord Judd). Furthermore, the report makes proposals about the consequences at a next part-session if the requirements are not met. Such a declaration of future intention is also in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and has several precedents.
7. The committee therefore considered that the requirements of Rule 8 had been fulfilled by the report. In addition, there are no provisions of the Statute which would prohibit the type of recommendations contained in the report.
8. Having examined these considerations, the Committee on Rules of Procedure and Immunities was of the unanimous opinion that the report by the Political Affairs Committee was in accordance with the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure and with the Statute of the Council of Europe.
Committee responsible for the opinion: Committee on Rules of Procedure and Immunities
Budgetary implications for the Assembly: none
Reference to committee: Assembly's decision of 24 January 2000
Draft opinion adopted by the committee on 26 January 2000
Members of the committee Mrs Pulgar, (Chairperson), MM. Gjellerod, Mozetic, Kresák (Vice-Chairpersons), MM. Andreoli, Angourakis, Averchev (Alternate : Mr Shaklain*), Bal, Besostri, Bianchi, Bilinski (Alternate : Libicki), Ceder, Debono Grech, Dias, Enright, Gehrecke, Goldberg, Goulet, Gross, Haupert, Kandare, Kittis, Kostytsky, Kroupa, Laakso, Magnusson, Maltsev, Mrs Markovic-Domova, MM. Michels, Minarolli, Nastase, Mrs Ojuland, Mr Pokol, Mrs Ragnarsdottir, Mrs van't Riet, MM. Rusu, Salaridze, Schieder, Simonsen, Sinka, Vis.
N.B. The names of members who took part in the vote are printed in italics.
* In accordance with Rule 8.6 of the Rules of Procedure, the members of the delegation of the Russian Federation were not allowed to participate in the vote.
Secretary of the committee: Mr Schade.
1 See Doc. 8633
2 Preamble of the Statute, third paragraph: “Reaffirming their devotion to the spiritual and moral values which are the common heritage of their peoples and the true source of individual freedom, political liberty and the rule of law, principles which form the basis of all genuine democracy.”
Article 3 of the Statute: “Every member of the Council of Europe must accept the principles of the rule of law and of the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and collaborate sincerely and effectively in the realisation of the aim of the Council as specified in Chapter I.”