Doc. 9326

21 January 2002

Honouring of obligations and commitments by Ukraine

Recommendation 1538 (2001)

Reply from the Committee of Ministers

adopted at the 780th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (16 January 2002)

1.       The Committee of Ministers takes note of the Assembly’s Recommendation 1538 (2001) on honouring of obligations and commitments by Ukraine, which recognises the substantial progress made by Ukraine towards the honouring of its obligations and commitments before the Council of Europe. The Committee of Ministers welcomes the positive evaluation of Ukraine’s progress and particularly notes the adoption of the new Civil Code. It also takes note of the submission of the new electoral law to the Venice Commission as well as the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s assessment of the new electoral law.

2.       On 7 and 8 December 2001, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Mr Antanas Valionis, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, visited Kyiv, where he had discussions with the highest authorities in Ukraine. The report of the visit and its main conclusions are reproduced in document CM/Inf(2002)4 which has been brought to the attention of the Assembly.

3.       The Committee of Ministers recalls its reply to Assembly Recommendation 1513 (2001) on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Ukraine, the report of the Secretariat mission to Ukraine, 26-29 August 2001 (document SG/Inf(2001)27), and the general conclusions and specific proposals for future action listed in paragraph 15 of the Secretariat Report. The Committee of Ministers stresses to the Ukrainian authorities the need to implement the new democratic regulations across all branches and at all levels of government. The Committee of Ministers encourages the Ukrainian authorities to strengthen co-operation with the Council of Europe and ensure full compatibility of Ukrainian legislation and practice with the Organisation’s principles and standards. The Committee of Ministers will follow closely the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Secretariat report as well as the conduct of the March parliamentary elections, particularly with regard to guaranteeing the freedom of the media.

4.       As regards paragraph 3 (ii) of Assembly Recommendation 1538 (2001), the Committee of Ministers wishes to inform the Parliamentary Assembly that it continues to follow closely the investigation into the disappearance and death of Mr Georgiy Gongadze. Further progress in this investigation is essential. The Committee of Ministers reiterates to the Ukrainian authorities the importance of conducting a full and transparent investigation of the case and reminds member states governments of their call for international assistance in this regard. The Committee of Ministers appreciates the additional information provided by Ukraine in connection with paragraph 3(ii) of Assembly Recommendation 1538 (2001) and understands that Ukrainian law does not provide for the establishment of an independent international commission of enquiry to investigate this case. At the same time, it welcomes the Ukrainian authorities’ readiness to consider steps they might take to facilitate practical implementation of the proposal contained in paragraph 3 (ii) of Assembly Recommendation 1538 (2001).

5.       As regards co-operation programmes between the Council of Europe and Ukraine, and more specifically, sub-paragraph 3 (iii) of Assembly Recommendation 1538 (2001) concerning the action plan for the media, the Committee of Ministers wishes to inform the Parliamentary Assembly that, funding of the plan now being secured, the first activities have been successfully initiated. The Committee of Ministers will follow closely the implementation of the Action Plan in order to secure its speedy and efficient development with the full co-operation of the Ukrainian authorities.

6.       The Committee of Ministers welcomes progress towards concluding the proposed European Commission/Council of Europe Joint Programme with Ukraine, which will contain the following elements: Strengthening the protection of social and human rights (ECHR, Revised European Social Charter, Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, gender equality), Strengthening the rule of law and local democracy, and Education for democratic society. It expresses the hope that the Joint Programme will commence in early 2002.

7.       The Committee of Ministers reiterates its recognition of the progress made by Ukraine towards honouring its obligations and commitments before the Council of Europe and will continue to offer full support to the process of reform in Ukraine.”