THE ACCESSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA TO THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ITS COMMITMENTS TO THE ORGANIZATION
Matalia Voutova, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to Armenia (Erevan, Armenia)
The Republic of Armenia joined the Council of Europe on 25 January, 2001. The accession of Armenia to this Organization is recognition of the fact that this State shares common European values which the Council of Europe stands for and that the country is moving toward a strong democracy.
A. General Overview of the Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an intergovernmental pan-European organization set up in 1949 with currently 45 member States. The Council of Europe’s headquarters is in Strasbourg (France).
The aim of the Council of Europe is:
- to promote human rights, pluralist democracy and the rule of law;
- to help consolidate democratic stability in Europe by backing political, legislative and constitutional reform;
- to promote awareness and encourage the development of Europe’s cultural identity and diversity;
- to seek solutions to problems facing European society such as discrimination against minorities, xenophobia, intolerance, environmental protection, human cloning, Aids, drugs, organized crime, terrorism, migrations, etc.
The Council of Europe covers all major issues facing European society other than defense. Its work program includes the following fields of activity: human rights—identifying new threats to human rights and human dignity, promoting human rights awareness, education and professional training, promoting equality between women and men, combating racism and intolerance—media, legal co-operation, social cohesion, health, education, culture, heritage, sport, youth, local democracy and trans-frontier cooperation, protection of environment.
- The Committee of Ministers is the Council of Europe’s decision-making body, and is composed of the foreign affairs ministers of all the member States;
- The Parliamentary Assembly is the Organization’s deliberative body, the members of which are appointed by national parliaments;
- The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe is a consultative body representing local and regional authorities;
- The European Court of Human Rights is the judicial institution competent to deal with complaints filed by States and individuals regarding alleged violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter ECHR) by parties to it. The individual complaints might concern issues like torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary loss of liberty, lack of fair trial within reasonable time, deportation and extradition, freedom of the press, interference with property rights, dissolution of political parties, etc.
B. The Procedure of Accession of New Member States to the Council of Europe
Any European State can become a member of the Council of Europe provided it accepts and implements the principle of the rule of law and guarantees human rights and fundamental freedoms to everyone under its jurisdiction. When joining the Organization, the new member State commits itself to respect and apply these principles, to collaborate sincerely and effectively to achieve greater unity, and to facilitate their economic and social progress. Each member State is responsible for honoring these commitments, the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly ensuring that they do so.
Following the political events of 1989 in Eastern Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly decided to intensify its relations with States from Central and Eastern Europe with the view of contributing to their accession to the Council of Europe—a “special guest status” for the national legislative assemblies of these countries was created. This status is granted to the parliaments of these European States willing to join the Organization and able to apply the principles and standards which the Council of Europe promotes. When a European State applies for membership to the Council of Europe, the Committee of Ministers invites the Parliamentary Assembly to draw up an opinion to that request. This is the starting point of the accession procedure.
The Armenian Parliament obtained Special Guest status to the Parliamentary Assembly on 26 January, 1996. The Republic of Armenia applied to join the Council of Europe on 7 March, 1996 and subsequently the Committee of Ministers invited the Parliamentary Assembly to draw up an opinion to the application.
As part of the accession procedure, the Assembly appoints two rapporteurs: one from the Political Affairs Committee and another one from the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights. The rapporteurs follow the process of democratic reforms in the country and identify the areas where additional efforts are needed in order to ensure that the domestic legislation and practice are in accordance with the standards of the Council of Europe.
The reports of the rapporteurs are supplemented by the report of the “eminent lawyers”—judges at the European Court of Human Rights on the conformity of the applicant’s legal system with the standards of the Council of Europe.
Thus, in 1997, two “eminent lawyers” established a report, identifying the pieces of legislation and domestic practice that Armenia had to reform, in order to put them into conformity with the requirements of the ECHR.
A delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly observed the presidential elections in March 1998 and the general elections in July 1995 and May 1999, as free and fair elections are the conditio sine qua non for the functioning of a democratic political system.
The rapporteurs from the Political Affairs Committee and the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights visited Armenia several times.
Following the visits of its rapporteur, in June 2000 the Political Affairs Committee concluded: “Since the beginning of the accession procedure, Armenia has made considerable progress, whether in setting up a pluralistic political system, establishing the rule of law, or observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms… However, there remains room for further improvement in all these spheres. The legislative and judicial reforms need putting to the test of everyday application. Even more is needed to be done to prevent abuses and arbitrary decisions by State bodies, in particular the executive. Certain reforms which have been embarked upon, need to be completed…”
Subsequently to the visits of the rapporteur of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, in June 2000 the latter concluded that “…in the field of legal affairs and human rights, Armenia has reached the minimum standard required for membership of the Council of Europe, though reforms have to be continued. The Committee thus favors Armenia’s accession to the Council of Europe, on the condition that Armenia enters into commitments and obligations…”
On the basis of the opinions of the two Committees, on 28 June, 2000, the Parliamentary Assembly adopted Opinion No. 221 (2000), recommending the Committee of Ministers to invite the Republic of Armenia to become a member of the Council of Europe. The same Opinion defined the commitments this State had to undertake as regards the reform of the domestic legislation and practice in order to put it in accordance with the standards of the Council of Europe. The list of commitments was established in consultation with the Armenian authorities.
C. The Monitoring Mechanisms of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers over the Commitments of Member States to the Organization
Armenia is represented in the Parliamentary Assembly by a delegation of 8 members from the National Assembly, made up in a way to ensure a fair representation of political parties or groups (such parliamentary delegation already existed before the accession, when Armenia was enjoying the special guest status). The Armenian delegation is entitled to participate in the Parliamentary Assembly’s debates and in the meetings of its various standing committees.
The Government of the Republic of Armenia is represented in the Committee of Ministers by its Minister of Foreign Affairs or by the Permanent Representative of the State to this organ.
After Armenia joined the Organization, a monitoring procedure of the Assembly was instituted over Armenia in regard to its fulfillment of the commitments.1 Within its procedure of monitoring, the Parliamentary Assembly is entitled to bring new requirements to member States in order to ensure that all parts of their legislation and practice are reformed in accordance with the standards of the Council of Europe. In the case of Armenia, in September 2002, the Assembly adopted Resolution 1304 identifying new areas of reforms. A further visit to Armenia by the rapporteurs of the monitoring Committee was scheduled for August 2003 and a report on the pace of the implementation of the commitments will be presented later on.
As already mentioned above, the Committee of Ministers is also monitoring the compliance of its member States with the standards of the Organization and in particular the fulfillment of their commitments. In the case of Armenia and Azerbaijan, a group of Ambassadors to the Council of Europe, currently headed by Ambassador Ago (Italy) is monitoring the process of implementation by these two countries of their obligations. The Ago group regularly sends questionnaires to the authorities of these two countries on the process of implementation of their commitments. The group also visits both countries to discuss these issues with the public sector and the civil society. The Group reports to the Committee of Ministers on the implementation by Armenia and Azerbaijan of their obligations to the Council of Europe.
D. The Commitments of Armenia to the Council of Europe and Their Implementation
Upon its accession, Armenia undertook the commitments on the one hand to sign and ratify the most important Council of Europe instruments and on the other to reform its legislation to put it in accordance with the European standards. In order to facilitate the fulfillment of the commitments, the Organization is carrying out programs of cooperation with Armenia—training for judges, prosecutors, lawyers on the European Convention on Human Rights, assistance for the creation of training centers for judges and prosecutors, training of staff of the penal system, expert opinions on draft pieces of legislation, contribution to the capacity building of NGOs, etc.
Since 25 January, 2001, Armenia has signed and ratified a series of Council of Europe instruments, has adopted a new Criminal Code, a new law on political parties, a new law on nongovernmental organizations, a law on the civil service, has amended the Electoral Code, the penal system has been transferred from the Ministry of Interior to the Ministry of Justice.
However, the fulfillment of a number of obligations is still pending. This article is mainly focused on some of the commitments undertaken by Armenia.
I. Signature and Ratification of Council of Europe Instruments
Armenia has already ratified several Council of Europe instruments.2 The Armenian authorities must ratify the European Social Charter before 25 January, 2004 (the state of signature and ratification by Armenia is reproduced in appendix I).
However, it should be underlined that Armenia has not yet ratified two very important documents of the Organization. The first one is Protocol 6 to the ECHR abolishing the death penalty in time of peace. Armenia should have ratified this Protocol by 25 January, 2002. Now, the new Criminal Code does not contain the death penalty as such. However, Armenia has not abolished de jure the capital punishment as the law on putting the criminal code into force provides in its Article 3 paragraph 4 that “people who have committed murder in aggravating circumstances, a terrorist act or rape of a minor girl before the entry into force of this law can be sentenced to death penalty.”
Every effort should be undertaken by the Armenian authorities to abolish de jure capital punishment and to ratify Protocol 6 to the ECHR as the State is now part of a “death penalty free zone,” the Council of Europe. The European Court of Human Rights in its recent ruling in the Ocalan v/ Turkey case (12/03/2003), ruled that “it can be said that capital punishment in peacetime has come to be regarded as an unacceptable, if not inhuman, form of punishment which is no longer permissible under Article 23 of the Convention” (paragraph 196).
The Council of Europe is now hoping that the newly elected Parliament of Armenia will speedily cancel Article 3 paragraph 4 of the law on the putting into force the criminal code and will ratify Protocol 6 to the ECHR. It should be recalled that in many European countries, the decision to abolish the death penalty was taken by parliament and government against the public opinion—the public opinion only following several years later.
The recent decision of the Constitutional Court of Armenia on the conformity of Protocol 6 with the Constitution of Republic of Armenia (15 July, 2003) paved the way to the ratification by Armenia.
The Council of Europe has gone further and has adopted a Protocol to the ECHR abolishing the death penalty in all circumstances (i.e., also in wartime), Protocol 13. This Protocol entered into force on 1 July, 2003 and thus the Council of Europe became the only part of the world not applicable anymore, in all circumstances. The Council of Europe is now expecting all member States to sign and ratify this instrument. The signature and ratification by Armenia of Protocol 13 to the ECHR would be a clear signal of the genuine political will of the Armenian authorities to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
The Council of Europe considers that economic and organized criminality is a major threat to democratic stability in Europe and the protection of human rights. Therefore, the Organization has adopted several Conventions and agreements directed toward the fight against this type of crime. The signature and ratification by new member States of the Council of Europe Convention on laundering, search, seizure and confiscation of the proceeds from crime has become an obligation. This is the second document which Armenia should have had ratified by now. The Convention requires the establishment of a comprehensive national mechanism for the prevention and fight against money laundering. Before ratifying it, the State has to put its domestic legislation and practice in compliance with the provisions of the Convention. The Armenian authorities have undertaken efforts in this direction which should be intensified in order to speed up the ratification of the Convention on laundering, search, seizure and confiscation of the proceeds from crime.
The fight against corruption is a major issue for the Organization. The Council of Europe has adopted several instruments in that respect—the 20 guiding principles against corruption, the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and its additional Protocol, the Civil Law Convention on Corruption, the Model Code of Conduct for Public Officials. A monitoring mechanism—GRECO (Group of States against Corruption) was established and currently 35 member and nonmember States of the Council of Europe are parties to this mechanism. The GRECO is monitoring through mutual evaluations and peer pressure how the members are implementing the standards of the Organization in this field.
Armenia has signed the Criminal Law Convention but has not ratified it, nor signed the Civil Law Convention. The Parliamentary Assembly invited the Armenian authorities to sign and ratify the Council of Europe’s Criminal and Civil Law Conventions on Corruption (Resolution 1304). The authorities could also envisage joining the GRECO, which would be an additional sign of their political will to prevent and fight corruption.
II. Reform of the Legislation
1. To Reform the Constitution
The reform of the Constitution is not among the commitments of Armenia. However, a number of obligations to the Council of Europe could not be implemented without the fundamental law of the State being amended. Constitutional reforms in Armenia should be carried out not only because they are a precondition for the implementation of the commitments. Indeed, there is a genuine need for the Armenian Constitution to be reviewed in order to strengthen the protection of the fundamental rights of people, to ensure the independence of the judiciary system, to reform the system of local governance, to ensure a better balance of power, etc.
In 2001, the Commission for Democracy through Law, widely known as the Venice Commission, cooperated with representatives of the Armenian authorities on draft amendments to the Constitution. However, the draft discussed with the Venice Commission differs from the one which was subsequently adopted by the Parliament and unsuccessfully put on referendum on 25 May, 2003.
Now, that the electoral period is over (presidential elections in February and March 2003 and general elections in May 2003), it is critical to pursue the preparation of new constitutional reforms. When the new draft amendments are finalized, the public should be largely informed about the different amendments to be introduced into the Constitution, the necessity of these amendments and what would be the advantages for each and every Armenian citizen.
It is the Council of Europe’s firm view that, pending the finalization of a new constitutional package and its adoption by a second referendum, a number of reforms can and must be adopted through other ways. Discussions with the Armenian authorities are under progress.
2. To Adopt a Law on the Ombudsman4
The Council of Europe holds the view that in order to ensure better protection and wider promotion of human rights, member States must support the creation of the institution of the Ombudsman or Human Rights Defender. The status and functions of Ombudsmen or Human Rights Defenders differs from State to State. However, all of them have the same common feature—they constitute an alternative to the “classical” means of protecting human rights, through courts which while being indispensable may not be sufficient for ensuring the full respect of fundamental rights. The creation of the institution of Ombudsman or Human Rights Defender and its proper operation contribute to the smooth functioning of the judicial system as the applications to the judiciary on alleged human rights violations can be reduced.
The Council of Europe has provided the Armenian authorities with expert opinions on the draft law on the Ombudsman. After the adoption of the law it is vital that the holder of this position presents all the guarantees of competence and independence so the newly created institution can fulfill its mandate and enjoy the confidence of the public.
3. To Adopt a New Law on the Media5
The freedom of expression is enshrined in Article 106 of the ECHR. The Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers have recalled repeatedly the importance of this right, provided it is exercised within certain limits necessary to the functioning of a democratic society. There can be no genuine freedom of expression without free media. For these reasons, the Council of Europe has been following carefully the drafting process of the new law on the media of Armenia. According to the opinion of the experts of the Organization, delivered in May 2002, “the draft of April 2002 is a considerable improvement on earlier versions and now strikes an appropriate balance between the promotion of freedom of speech and the rights and interests of others in the Armenian context. The removal of provisions relating to licensing and State control are especially welcome. It is also better to have no reference to the ethical obligations of journalists, which will presumably be covered by self-regulation, nor to freedom of information, which should be regulated in a separate law. In addition, the most “controversial” definitions were removed, whilst the ones remaining were significantly improved. However, some other elements require further consideration.”
The Council of Europe will continue to observe the process of preparation and adoption of the draft law.
4. To Turn the National Television Channel into a Public Channel Managed by an Independent Administrative Board
The reform has been put into effect with the adoption in 2000 of the law on television and radio broadcasting and several amendments to the law in 2001. The Council of Europe is not satisfied with the law and the authorities have been requested to amend the law. The law has been contested mainly because the members of the two bodies created—the Public Television and Radio Council, responsible for regulating the public broadcasting, on the one hand, and the National Television and Radio Commission, responsible for regulating the private broadcasting, on the other—are appointed by the President of the State. According to the Council of Europe expert Eve Solomon: “It should be possible for the Republic of Armenia to publish a policy note on the making of public appointments to the Commission and the Council. Ideally, the policy should demonstrate that the appointment procedure is open and subject to a transparent process. It could be open to the main political parties and NGOs to recommend possible candidates who would then be interviewed and considered before the President made his choice. This should be possible to introduce within the current restrictions of the Constitution without requiring any legislative change.” (Expert opinion on the draft law of Republic of Armenia on changes and amendments to the law on television and broadcasting, 24 October, 2002.)
5. To Ensure the Full Independence of the Judiciary and to Reform the Judicial Council in Order to Increase Its Independence7
The judiciary of each member State has to be independent and function properly in order to ensure that the requirements of Article 58 (the right to liberty and security of individuals) and Article 69 (the right to a fair trial) of the ECHR are respected and implemented. The European Court of Human Rights has worked out an extensive case law, interpreting the different provisions of these two Articles. This case law is dynamic as it is the response to the developments of modern societies and changes in them. It constitutes the guiding principles for all member States on the implementation of their domestic legislation and the reforms to be carried on.
The Committee of Ministers is also anxious to contribute to the reinforcement of the judiciary in the member States and therefore has laid down a series of standards, based on the Articles quoted above and the case law of the Court. The first document containing these principles is Recommendation R(94)12 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on “The Independence, Efficiency and Role of Judges” and the second one is Recommendation R(2000)19 on “The Role of Public Prosecution in the Criminal Justice System.” The European Charter on the Statute of Judges (1998) and the opinions of the Council of Europe’s Consultative Council of European Judges also contain several European standards in this field.
According to the Council of Europe experts, the Armenian legislation on the status and functioning of the judiciary is by and large in conformity with European requirements. However, in Armenia, the executive may interfere in the functioning of the judiciary as the President appoints the judges, the prosecutors and the members of the High Judicial Council. The executive even has certain powers of inspection over the functioning of the judicial institutions. Therefore, the role of the executive in this respect should be reviewed in order to ensure a genuine independence of the judiciary, in particular in the field of selection, career development and issues related to disciplinary procedure. The reform of the judiciary largely depends on the constitutional reform. However, as mentioned above, the Council of Europe, together with the Armenian authorities will look into the possibilities of reinforcing the independence of the judiciary and improve its functioning within the existing Constitution.
As training and retraining of members of the judiciary contributes to the proper functioning of the judiciary, the experts of the Organization have identified the need to create a comprehensive system of vocational training for them. The Parliamentary Assembly also urged the authorities to “open a training center for judges, operating under the supervision of the Judicial Service Commission” (Resolution 1304).
6. To Ensure that All Churches or Religious Communities, in Particular those Referred to as “Non Traditional” May Practice Their Religion without Discrimination10
This is a requirement of Opinion 221 (2000). The Parliamentary Assembly in its Resolution 1304 “urged the authorities to register the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a religious organization.” The foundation for these requirements is Article 911 of the ECHR. According to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights “...the freedom of thought, conscience and religion” (Article 9) is one of the foundations of a “democratic society” within the meaning of the Convention… The pluralism indissociable from a democratic society, which has been dearly won over the centuries, depends on it. While religious freedom is primarily a matter of individual conscience, it also implies, inter alia, freedom to manifest one’s religion… According to Article 9, freedom to manifest one’s religion is not only exercisable in community with others, “in public” and within the circle of those whose faith one shares, but can also be asserted “alone” and “in private”; furthermore, it includes in principle the right to try to convince one’s neighbor, for example through “teaching”, failing which, moreover, “freedom to change one’s religion or belief,” enshrined in Article 9, would be likely to remain a dead letter (Kokkinakis case, 31 paragraph, 25/05/1993). The “Metropolitan Church of Besssarabia and others” case (13/12/2001) confirmed a well-established principle: respecting and preserving pluralism (religious or intellectual) in a tolerant spirit is a sine qua non of a democratic society.
At present, the Jehovah’s Witnesses community is not registered as a religious group by the Armenian authorities on the ground that their charter is not in line with the domestic law. There are two main arguments for the refusal: active proselytism conducted by members of the community and forbidden by Article 8 of the Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations and the systematic refusal of male Jehovah’s Witnesses to perform military service.
7. To Adopt a Law on the Alternative Service12
Armenia has undertaken the obligation “to adopt, within three years of accession, a law on alternative service in compliance with European standards and, in the meantime, to pardon all conscientious objectors sentenced to prison terms or service in disciplinary battalions, allowing them instead to choose, when the law on alternative service has come into force, to perform nonarmed military service or alternative civilian service.” In its Resolution 1304, the Parliamentary Assembly “regretted that the authorities continue to prosecute and sentence young conscientious objectors.”
As the right to a conscientious objection is not protected by the ECHR, the conscientious objector who is called up for military service cannot allege a violation of Article 4.2, which prohibits forced and compulsory labor.13
Therefore, States party to the Convention are not under the obligation to recognize the right to conscientious objection to compulsory military service.
However, the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe consider that the right to be a conscientious objector is a fundamental human right and therefore each of them has adopted a document though setting up the European standards in that field:
In its Recommendation No. R(87)8 to member States regarding conscientious objection to compulsory military service the Committee of Ministers laid out, inter alia, the following principles:
“...9. Alternative service, if any, shall be in principle civilian and in the public interest. Nevertheless, in addition to civilian service, the State may also provide for unarmed military service, assigning to it only those conscientious objectors whose objections are restricted to the personal use of arms;
“10. Alternative service shall not be of a punitive nature. Its duration shall, in comparison to that of military service, remain within reasonable limits;
“11. …Legislative provisions or regulations which relate to the taking into account of military service for employment, career of pension purposes shall apply to alternative service…”
In its Recommendation 1518 (2001) the Parliamentary Assembly recommended to the Committee of Ministers to invite those member States that have not yet done so to introduce into their legislation: “...iv. a genuine alternative service of a clearly civilian nature, which should be neither deterrent nor punitive in character.” The Assembly also recommended the Committee of Ministers to recognize the right to conscientious objection by incorporating it in the ECHR.
The process of adoption of a law on the alternative service is underway in Armenia. The future law has to be in strict accordance with the principles stated above in order for the law to get the approval of the Council of Europe.
In the absence of a law on the alternative service in Armenia the practice of prosecution and sentence to imprisonment of conscientious objectors refusing to perform their military service has not been discontinued. Those refusing to serve are offered to be integrated into nonarmed units within the army, but they do not have the possibility to perform an alternative service of a clearly civilian nature.
8. It was the Assembly’s strong belief that the accession of both Armenia and Azerbaijan could help to establish the climate of trust necessary for a solution to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh underlying that the OSCE’s Minsk Group is the optimum framework for the negotiation of a peaceful settlement of the conflict. When joining the CoE, both States undertook the obligation to pursue efforts to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by peaceful means only. In its Resolution 1304, the Assembly “recalled that it can envisage closing the monitoring procedure only if the state concerned has honored all its main commitments which, in the case of Azerbaijan and Armenia, include an agreement on the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict—including the question of the occupied territories and other issues dealt with by the Minsk Group.” In order to contribute to the fulfillment of this obligation by Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly has appointed its rapporteur on the conflict dealt with by the OSCE Minsk Conference.
9. It is also worth mentioning some additional requirements the Parliamentary Assembly put forward in its Resolution 1304:
“The Assembly urges the Armenian authorities
“to revise the Code of Criminal Procedure without delay, bringing it into line with the Council of Europe standards;
“to amend the law on police, in order to clarify the roles of the different judicial bodies in terms of investigation and arrest...
“to revise the Administrative Code without delay. It urges them to abolish the provisions concerning administrative detention and to refrain from applying them in the interim.”
In 1994, the Parliamentary Assembly underlined that Armenia, together with the other two South Caucasian states were part of Europe and they were welcome to join the Council of Europe, provided they indicated their will to be considered as part of Europe. Armenia has shown that will.
Following its accession to the Council of Europe, the Republic of Armenia has continued the large-scale process of reforms in order to put its legislation and practice in accordance with European standards—a State based on the rule of law which provides all the necessary guarantees for the protection and respect of human rights. Armenia’s commitments to the Council of Europe constitute the road map for these reforms. The main goal of the monitoring procedures of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers is not to impose sanctions but to assist Armenia in its efforts to carry out the reforms.
1 According to Resolution 1115 of the Parliamentary Assembly on its monitoring mechanism, the Assembly may sanction persistent failure to honor obligations and commitments accepted, and/or lack of cooperation in its monitoring process, by adopting a resolution and/or recommendation or by the nonratification of the credentials of a national parliamentary delegation… Should the member State continue not to respect the commitments, the Assembly may address a recommendation to the Committee of Ministers requesting it to take the appropriate action provided for in Articles 8 and 9 of the Statute of the Council of Europe.
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 realization of the aim of the Council.”
Article 8 of the Statute: “Any member of the Council of Europe which has seriously violated Article 3 may be suspended from its rights of representation and requested by the Committee of Ministers to withdraw… If such member does not comply with this request, the Committee may decide that it has ceased to be a member of the Council as from such date as the Committee may determine.
Article 9 of the Statute: “The Committee of Ministers may suspend the right of representation on the Committee and on the Consultative Assembly (the Parliamentary Assembly) of a member which has failed to fulfill its financial obligation during such period as the obligation remains unfulfilled.
2 The European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocols 1, 4 and 7, the European Convention on the Prevention of Torture and its protocols, the European Convention on Extradition, the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, the European Charter of Local Self-Government.
3 Article 2: “1. Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.”
4 A commitment of Armenia to the Council of Europe.
5 A commitment of Armenia to the Council of Europe.
6 Article 10: “1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers…”
7 A commitment of Armenia to the Council of Europe.
8 Article 5: “1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:
“(a) the lawful detention of a person after conviction by a competent court;
“(c) the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so;
“3. Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1(c) of this article shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial...
“4. Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful.”
9 Article 6: “1. In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law…”
10 A commitment of Armenia to the Council of Europe.
11 Article 9: “1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”
12 A commitment of Armenia to the Council of Europe.
13 Paragraph 3 of the same Article provides: “For the purpose of this article the term ‘forced or compulsory labor’ shall not include: …any service of military character or, in case of conscientious objectors in countries where they are recognized, service exacted instead of compulsory military service.”