Two reports submitted by German parliamentarian Christopher Strasser to the Committee of Legal Affairs and Human Rights during the PACE summer session became the most controversial and disputed documents. Member of the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE Rafael Huseynov prepared a special document concerning these reports. The document entitled “The necessity of observing procedures and increasing responsibilities during elaboration, discussion and adoption of reports” was prepared in the form of written declaration.
The document says that PACE is guided by the rule of law, democratic values and human rights, but the incident happened on June 26, 2012 at the Assembly’s Committee of Legal Affairs and Human Rights, causes serious concern as an undesirable precedent. “The Council of Europe has never before at the supreme moment when the time scheduled by the Assembly for the elaboration of repots expires, hurriedly and under pressure adopted two reports prepared by the same person, without submitting and preliminarily discussing those documents at the committee. The reports had to address the problem, which parameters have not been determined by the law, and to specify criteria of the “political prisoner” concept, but those were tabled without any examination and didn’t meet its obligations. The report didn’t explain the essence of the problem and didn’t describe criteria of the “political prisoner” concept, which could be accepted by everyone.”
The document noted that implementation of criteria of “political prisoner” concept proposed by the report, which is not discussed or adopted by the Assembly, in regard to concrete country and elaboration of another independent report in parallel are violation of law: “First these criterions have no legal effect without approval by the Assembly and it mustn’t be applied, the second – if there are universal criterions, they must be applied not to a concrete country, but to all countries, where existence of problem is expected.” That’s why we insist to send a report on “Criterions of political prisoner”, which was submitted for discussion in the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, to the various relevant international organizations for examination and to discuss in the Committee in detail again with the participation of experts in accordance with the practices of the Council of Europe after receiving relevant opinions. The report can be adopted in the Assembly after passing these necessary stages and it can be possible to carry out investigations for concrete countries on a basis of legal criterions. We consider the report as incomplete and unacceptable for not carrying out the task and diffuse principles there as a result of injustice and non-objective approach with double standards to a concrete country, at the same time to Azerbaijan. We also declare the impossibility of acceptance of report on “pursuing work on the issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan” based on the unconfirmed criterions by the Assembly, which is biased in many moments and full of false and distorted facts. We call the Assembly to take serious measures non-reiteration of such cases, which damage the authority of the Council of Europe and responsible approach of the committee secretariats to their works.
Despite, there were signatures of deputies of several countries in the document, the declaration is open for new signatures and should work to expand the circle of associates. In general, written declarations have been remaining open for new signature for a long time according to the new rules adopted in the Council of Europe after publication.