Open Letter to PACE concerning Russia

Foto: (c) Council of Europe/​Ellen Wuibaux

An Open Letter to the Parlia­men­tary Assembly of the Council of Europe: Please don’t deprive yourself of the right to impose sanctions on member states that are violating the statutes and the spirit of the European Community. We don’t want Russia to leave the Council of Europe, but PACE should defend its prin­ci­ples and not give in to extortion.

To the attention of the
Members of the Parlia­men­tary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)

Dear Sir or Madam

On 24 June the reso­lu­tion “Strength­ening the decision-making process of the Parlia­men­tary Assembly concerning creden­tials and voting” of the Committee on Rules of Procedure (3.6.2019) will be put to the vote in Stras­bourg. The intention of this reso­lu­tion is to have the attempts of the Committee of Ministers to keep Russia in the Council of Europe (A shared respon­si­bility for demo­c­ratic security in Europe, Helsinki 17.5.2019) approved by the Parlia­men­tary Assembly.

We support the efforts to enable Russia to remain in the Council of Europe. Member­ship of the Council of Europe offers Russian citizens the oppor­tu­nity to file complaints before the ECHR and has numerous important and positive effects in many areas of law and society. However, Russia’s member­ship of the Council of Europe will only be mean­ingful and bene­fi­cial if the Council of Europe can sanction non-compli­ance with its basic rules. We see this option threat­ened by the draft resolution.

The draft reso­lu­tion provides for an amendment of the Rules of Procedure (§ 10), according to which PACE would largely lose the possi­bility of sanc­tioning members who violate the prin­ci­ples of the Council of Europe. PACE would thus no longer be able to fulfil its oblig­a­tion to monitor compli­ance with the prin­ci­ples of the Council of Europe. The func­tioning and cred­i­bility of the Council of Europe would be seriously damaged. In the Council of Europe, the Council of Ministers would become empowered in favour of PACE, which would continue far beyond the current conflict over the Russian Federation.

In 2014, the Parlia­men­tary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted Reso­lu­tion No. 1990 by a large majority, thus not excluding the Russian dele­ga­tion from the Council of Europe, but depriving it of its voting rights and its right to elect the Secretary General and judges of the European Court of Human Rights until Russian troops have been withdrawn from Eastern Ukraine. Since then, there have been no positive devel­op­ments in the Minsk process. On the contrary — due to further military aggres­sion in the Sea of Azov, ongoing human rights viola­tions in Crimea, the illegal arrest of over 100 Ukrainian prisoners, and the distri­b­u­tion of Russian passports in Eastern Ukraine, the govern­ment of the Russian Feder­a­tion is further esca­lating the conflict and has not yet made any serious attempts to fulfil the require­ments of the PACE Reso­lu­tion 1990. Russia is now threat­ening to leave the Council of Europe to pre-empt its exclusion and is using the non-payment of its member­ship dues as a tool to exert pressure.

We are convinced that such a far-reaching limi­ta­tion of future PACE sanctions, as provided for in the draft reso­lu­tion, would in this situation undermine the cred­i­bility of the Council of Europe and perma­nently damage the repu­ta­tion and compe­tences of PACE.

We call on you to

- vote against the planned amendment of § 10 of the Rules of Procedure and thus to maintain the func­tion­ality and inde­pen­dence of PACE from the executive branch (Committee of Ministers)

- enable the Russian Feder­a­tion to remain in the Council of Europe by waiving the strict appli­ca­tion of § 9 of the Statutes of the Council of Europe (the exclusion of a member state for non-payment of contri­bu­tions) in its 1994 version (‘Decla­ra­tion of Compli­ance’) in this case

- work to ensure that the budget bottle­necks caused by the Russian Federation’s failure to make payments are offset by contri­bu­tions from third parties and that the Council of Europe’s ability to function fully is main­tained despite the lack of Russian contributions.

Yours sincerely,

Stefanie Schiffer, European Exchange

Marieluise Beck, Center for Liberal Modernity

Stefan Melle, DRA – German-Russian Exchange/​Berlin

Ralf Fücks, Center for Liberal Modernity

Marie Mendras, Sciences Po Univer­sity, Paris


Hat Ihnen unser Beitrag gefallen? Dann spenden Sie doch einfach und bequem über unser Spenden­tool. Sie unter­stützen damit die publizis­tische Arbeit von LibMod.

Wir sind als gemein­nützig anerkannt, entsprechend sind Spenden steuer­lich absetzbar. Für eine Spendenbescheini­gung (nötig bei einem Betrag über 200 EUR), senden Sie Ihre Adress­daten bitte an


Verwandte Themen

Newsletter bestellen

Mit dem LibMod-Newsletter erhalten Sie regelmäßig Neuigkeiten zu unseren Themen in Ihr Postfach.

Mit unseren Daten­schutzbes­tim­mungen
erklären Sie sich einverstanden.