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COE gives strict recommendations to Russia in its new resolution on monitoring

By Ana Robakidze
Friday, October 5
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has opened its autumn session and debates on the Russian Federation honoring its various international commitments have been renewed. On Tuesday PACE adopted a very critical resolution regarding Russia’s honoring its PACE obligations and commitments in the past seven years (2005-2012).

Despite PACE noting that some positive changes have been made by Russian leaders on the path to democratization, the resolution carries a very critical tone.

Considering that none of the previous recommendations have been considered by the Russian Federation, it is still uncertain whether the new requirements of the Council of Europe (COE) are going to be carried out.

In the new resolution PACE draws attention to legislative changes in the country, also criticizing the judiciary system and human rights violations.

COE views the Russian judiciary system as democratically regressive. “Legislative amendments to the laws in the Constitutional Court have been widely viewed as democratically regressive and indicative of the growing lack of judicial independence in Russia. For example, the conviction of Mr. Khodorkovsky, in December 2010, to six more years of prison and the conviction of the punk artists Pussy Riots in August 2012 were largely perceived as a sign that the judiciary in Russia remains subject to political pressure and the influence of the executive.”

In its resolution PACE also cites Russia having failed to meet the requirements set by COE for the ceasefire that ended the war between Georgia and Russia in 2008.

PACE once again called on the Kremlin to fulfill previous ceasefire resolutions adopted in 2008 – 2009.

“With regard to the consequences of the war between Georgia and Russia, the Assembly reiterates its Resolutions 1633 (2008), 1647 (2008) and 1683 (2009), and recalls the conclusions of the report of the International Independent Fact-Finding mission on the Conflict in Georgia, established by the European Union and led by Ambassador Tagliavini. The Assembly reaffirms the decision of the Monitoring Committee of January 2011 on the modalities of how to further proceed with this matter.” the resolution reads.

The Georgian government finds the resolution very important as this is the first time the August war has been mentioned in a monitoring report issued by PACE. The Russian-Georgian conflict has been previously mentioned in single resolutions.

The COE also condemns the Russian government giving Russian passports to residents of the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are recognized as part of Georgia. It adds that it is completely unacceptable that during the last presidential elections in Russia, polling stations were opened in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the International Committee of the Russian State Duma finds the resolution totally unacceptable and even accuses COE in trying to intervene in the sovereignty of the country. “We respect the rapporteurs but no sovereign state could be expected to follow recommendations about its judicial system from an outside body. It is an unacceptable subject. Russia is a sovereign state, and the Council of Europe seems to forget it. I don’t think we are going to find a common language on these subjects.” Pushkov stated on October 2nd.

The resolution has been assessed as anti-Russian and was voted down by State Duma members.

The Russian government has generally ignored COE resolutions in the past.