Ministers’ Deputies

CM Documents

CM(2011)49 final     7 April 2011



Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence



Preamble

The member states of the Council of Europe and the other signatories hereto,

Recalling the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ETS No. 5, 1950) and its Protocols, the European Social Charter (ETS No. 35, 1961, revised in 1996, ETS No. 163), the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (ETS No. 197, 2005) and the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (ETS No. 201, 2007);

Recalling the following recommendations of the Committee of Ministers to member states of the Council of Europe: Recommendation Rec(2002)5 on the protection of women against violence, Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)17 on gender equality standards and mechanisms, Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)10 on the role of women and men in conflict prevention and resolution and in peace building, and other relevant recommendations;

Taking account of the growing body of case law of the European Court of Human Rights which sets important standards in the field of violence against women;

Having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (“CEDAW”, 1979) and its Optional Protocol (1999) as well as General Recommendation No. 19 of the CEDAW Committee on violence against women, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and its Optional Protocols (2000) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006);

Having regard to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (2002);

Recalling the basic principles of international humanitarian law, and especially the Geneva Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1949) and the Additional Protocols I and II (1977) thereto;

Condemning all forms of violence against women and domestic violence;

Recognising that the realisation of de jure and de facto equality between women and men is a key element in the prevention of violence against women;

Recognising that violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between women and men, which have led to domination over, and discrimination against, women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women;

Recognising the structural nature of violence against women as gender-based violence, and that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men;

Recognising, with grave concern, that women and girls are often exposed to serious forms of violence such as domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape, forced marriage, crimes committed in the name of so-called “honour” and genital mutilation, which constitute a serious violation of the human rights of women and girls and a major obstacle to the achievement of equality between women and men;

Recognising the ongoing human rights violations during armed conflicts that affect the civilian population, especially women in the form of widespread or systematic rape and sexual violence and the potential for increased gender-based violence both during and after conflicts;

Recognising that women and girls are exposed to a higher risk of gender-based violence than men;

Recognising that domestic violence affects women disproportionately, and that men may also be victims of domestic violence;

Recognising that children are victims of domestic violence, including as witnesses of violence in the family;

Aspiring to create a Europe free from violence against women and domestic violence,

Have agreed as follows:

Chapter I – Purposes, definitions, equality and non-discrimination, general obligations

Article 1 – Purposes of the Convention

1. The purposes of this Convention are to:

a. protect women against all forms of violence, and prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence;

b. contribute to the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and promote substantive equality between women and men, including by empowering women;

c. design a comprehensive framework, policies and measures for the protection of and assistance to all victims of violence against women and domestic violence;

d. promote international co-operation with a view to eliminating violence against women and domestic violence;

e. provide support and assistance to organisations and law enforcement agencies to effectively co-operate in order to adopt an integrated approach to eliminating violence against women and domestic violence.

2. In order to ensure effective implementation of its provisions by the Parties, this Convention establishes a specific monitoring mechanism.

Article 2 – Scope of the Convention

1. This Convention shall apply to all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence, which affects women disproportionately.

2. Parties are encouraged to apply this Convention to all victims of domestic violence. Parties shall pay particular attention to women victims of gender-based violence in implementing the provisions of this Convention.

3. This Convention shall apply in times of peace and in situations of armed conflict.

Article 3 – Definitions

For the purpose of this Convention:

a. “violence against women” is understood as a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination against women and shall mean all acts of gender-based violence that result in, or are likely to result in, physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life;

b. “domestic violence” shall mean all acts of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence that occur within the family or domestic unit or between former or current spouses or partners, whether or not the perpetrator shares or has shared the same residence with the victim;

c. “gender” shall mean the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women and men;

d. “gender-based violence against women” shall mean violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately;

e. “victim” shall mean any natural person who is subject to the conduct specified in points a and b;

f. “women” includes girls under the age of 18.

Article 4 – Fundamental rights, equality and non-discrimination

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative and other measures to promote and protect the right for everyone, particularly women, to live free from violence in both the public and the private sphere.

2. Parties condemn all forms of discrimination against women and take, without delay, the necessary legislative and other measures to prevent it, in particular by:

    - embodying in their national constitutions or other appropriate legislation the principle of equality between women and men and ensuring the practical realisation of this principle;

    - prohibiting discrimination against women, including through the use of sanctions, where appropriate;

    - abolishing laws and practices which discriminate against women.

3. The implementation of the provisions of this Convention by the Parties, in particular measures to protect the rights of victims, shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, gender, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, state of health, disability, marital status, migrant or refugee status, or other status.

4. Special measures that are necessary to prevent and protect women from gender-based violence shall not be considered discrimination under the terms of this Convention.

Article 5 – State obligations and due diligence

1. Parties shall refrain from engaging in any act of violence against women and ensure that state authorities, officials, agents, institutions and other actors acting on behalf of the state act in conformity with this obligation.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative and other measures to exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate, punish and provide reparation for acts of violence covered by the scope of this Convention that are perpetrated by non-state actors.

Article 6 – Gender-sensitive policies

Parties shall undertake to include a gender perspective in the implementation and evaluation of the impact of the provisions of this Convention and to promote and effectively implement policies of equality between women and men and the empowerment of women.

Chapter II – Integrated policies and data collection

Article 7 – Comprehensive and co-ordinated policies

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative and other measures to adopt and implement state-wide effective, comprehensive and co-ordinated policies encompassing all relevant measures to prevent and combat all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention and offer a holistic response to violence against women.

2. Parties shall ensure that policies referred to in paragraph 1 place the rights of the victim at the centre of all measures and are implemented by way of effective co-operation among all relevant agencies, institutions and organisations.

3. Measures taken pursuant to this article shall involve, where appropriate, all relevant actors, such as government agencies, the national, regional and local parliaments and authorities, national human rights institutions and civil society organisations.

Article 8 – Financial resources

Parties shall allocate appropriate financial and human resources for the adequate implementation of integrated policies, measures and programmes to prevent and combat all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention, including those carried out by non-governmental organisations and civil society.

Article 9 – Non-governmental organisations and civil society

Parties shall recognise, encourage and support, at all levels, the work of relevant non-governmental organisations and of civil society active in combating violence against women and establish effective co-operation with these organisations.

Article 10 – Co-ordinating body

1. Parties shall designate or establish one or more official bodies responsible for the co-ordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and measures to prevent and combat all forms of violence covered by this Convention. These bodies shall co-ordinate the collection of data as referred to in Article 11, analyse and disseminate its results.

2. Parties shall ensure that the bodies designated or established pursuant to this article receive information of a general nature on measures taken pursuant to Chapter VIII.

3. Parties shall ensure that the bodies designated or established pursuant to this article shall have the capacity to communicate directly and foster relations with their counterparts in other Parties.

Article 11 – Data collection and research

1. For the purpose of the implementation of this Convention, Parties shall undertake to:

a. collect disaggregated relevant statistical data at regular intervals on cases of all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention;

b. support research in the field of all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention in order to study its root causes and effects, incidences and conviction rates, as well as the efficacy of measures taken to implement this Convention.

2. Parties shall endeavour to conduct population-based surveys at regular intervals to assess the prevalence of and trends in all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention.

3. Parties shall provide the group of experts, as referred to in Article 66 of this Convention, with the information collected pursuant to this article in order to stimulate international co-operation and enable international benchmarking.

4. Parties shall ensure that the information collected pursuant to this article is available to the public.

Chapter III – Prevention

Article 12 – General obligations

1. Parties shall take the necessary measures to promote changes in the social and cultural patterns of behaviour of women and men with a view to eradicating prejudices, customs, traditions and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority of women or on stereotyped roles for women and men.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative and other measures to prevent all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention by any natural or legal person.

3. Any measures taken pursuant to this chapter shall take into account and address the specific needs of persons made vulnerable by particular circumstances and shall place the human rights of all victims at their centre.

4. Parties shall take the necessary measures to encourage all members of society, especially men and boys, to contribute actively to preventing all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention.

5. Parties shall ensure that culture, custom, religion, tradition or so-called “honour” shall not be considered as justification for any acts of violence covered by the scope of this Convention.

6. Parties shall take the necessary measures to promote programmes and activities for the empowerment of women.

Article 13 – Awareness-raising

1. Parties shall promote or conduct, on a regular basis and at all levels, awareness-raising campaigns or programmes, including in co-operation with national human rights institutions and equality bodies, civil society and non-governmental organisations, especially women’s organisations, where appropriate, to increase awareness and understanding among the general public of the different manifestations of all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention, their consequences on children and the need to prevent such violence.

2. Parties shall ensure the wide dissemination among the general public of information on measures available to prevent acts of violence covered by the scope of this Convention.

Article 14 – Education

1. Parties shall take, where appropriate, the necessary steps to include teaching material on issues such as equality between women and men, non-stereotyped gender roles, mutual respect, non-violent conflict resolution in interpersonal relationships, gender-based violence against women and the right to personal integrity, adapted to the evolving capacity of learners, in formal curricula and at all levels of education.

2. Parties shall take the necessary steps to promote the principles referred to in paragraph 1 in informal educational facilities, as well as in sports, cultural and leisure facilities and the media.

Article 15 – Training of professionals

1. Parties shall provide or strengthen appropriate training for the relevant professionals dealing with victims or perpetrators of all acts of violence covered by the scope of this Convention, on the prevention and detection of such violence, equality between women and men, the needs and rights of victims, as well as on how to prevent secondary victimisation.

2. Parties shall encourage that the training referred to in paragraph 1 includes training on co-ordinated multi-agency co-operation to allow for a comprehensive and appropriate handling of referrals in cases of violence covered by the scope of this Convention.

Article 16 – Preventive intervention and treatment programmes

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to set up or support programmes aimed at teaching perpetrators of domestic violence to adopt non-violent behaviour in interpersonal relationships with a view to preventing further violence and changing violent behavioural patterns.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to set up or support treatment programmes aimed at preventing perpetrators, in particular sex offenders, from re-offending.

3. In taking the measures referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2, Parties shall ensure that the safety of, support for and the human rights of victims are of primary concern and that, where appropriate, these programmes are set up and implemented in close co-ordination with specialist support services for victims.

Article 17 – Participation of the private sector and the media

1. Parties shall encourage the private sector, the information and communication technology sector and the media, with due respect for freedom of expression and their independence, to participate in the elaboration and implementation of policies and to set guidelines and self-regulatory standards to prevent violence against women and to enhance respect for their dignity.

2. Parties shall develop and promote, in co-operation with private sector actors, skills among children, parents and educators on how to deal with the information and communications environment that provides access to degrading content of a sexual or violent nature which might be harmful.

Chapter IV – Protection and support

Article 18 – General obligations

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to protect all victims from any further acts of violence.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures, in accordance with internal law, to ensure that there are appropriate mechanisms to provide for effective co-operation between all relevant state agencies, including the judiciary, public prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, local and regional authorities as well as non-governmental organisations and other relevant organisations and entities, in protecting and supporting victims and witnesses of all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention, including by referring to general and specialist support services as detailed in Articles 20 and 22 of this Convention.

3. Parties shall ensure that measures taken pursuant to this chapter shall:

    - be based on a gendered understanding of violence against women and domestic violence and shall focus on the human rights and safety of the victim;

    - be based on an integrated approach which takes into account the relationship between victims, perpetrators, children and their wider social environment;

    - aim at avoiding secondary victimisation;

    - aim at the empowerment and economic independence of women victims of violence;

    - allow, where appropriate, for a range of protection and support services to be located on the same premises;

    - address the specific needs of vulnerable persons, including child victims, and be made available to them.

4. The provision of services shall not depend on the victim’s willingness to press charges or testify against any perpetrator.

5. Parties shall take the appropriate measures to provide consular and other protection and support to their nationals and other victims entitled to such protection in accordance with their obligations under international law.

Article 19 – Information

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that victims receive adequate and timely information on available support services and legal measures in a language they understand.

Article 20 – General support services

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that victims have access to services facilitating their recovery from violence. These measures should include, when necessary, services such as legal and psychological counselling, financial assistance, housing, education, training and assistance in finding employment.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that victims have access to health care and social services and that services are adequately resourced and professionals are trained to assist victims and refer them to the appropriate services.

Article 21 – Assistance in individual/collective complaints

Parties shall ensure that victims have information on and access to applicable regional and international individual/collective complaints mechanisms. Parties shall promote the provision of sensitive and knowledgeable assistance to victims in presenting any such complaints.

Article 22 – Specialist support services

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to provide or arrange for, in an adequate geographical distribution, immediate, short- and long-term specialist support services to any victim subjected to any of the acts of violence covered by the scope of this Convention.

2. Parties shall provide or arrange for specialist women’s support services to all women victims of violence and their children.

Article 23 – Shelters

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to provide for the setting-up of appropriate, easily accessible shelters in sufficient numbers to provide safe accommodation for and to reach out pro-actively to victims, especially women and their children.

Article 24 – Telephone helplines

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to set up state-wide round-the-clock (24/7) telephone helplines free of charge to provide advice to callers, confidentially or with due regard for their anonymity, in relation to all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention.

Article 25 – Support for victims of sexual violence

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to provide for the setting up of appropriate, easily accessible rape crisis or sexual violence referral centres for victims in sufficient numbers to provide for medical and forensic examination, trauma support and counselling for victims.

Article 26 – Protection and support for child witnesses

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that in the provision of protection and support services to victims, due account is taken of the rights and needs of child witnesses of all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention.

2. Measures taken pursuant to this article shall include age-appropriate psychosocial counselling for child witnesses of all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention and shall give due regard to the best interests of the child.

Article 27 – Reporting

Parties shall take the necessary measures to encourage any person witness to the commission of acts of violence covered by the scope of this Convention or who has reasonable grounds to believe that such an act may be committed, or that further acts of violence are to be expected, to report this to the competent organisations or authorities.

Article 28 – Reporting by professionals

Parties shall take the necessary measures to ensure that the confidentiality rules imposed by internal law on certain professionals do not constitute an obstacle to the possibility, under appropriate conditions, of their reporting to the competent organisations or authorities if they have reasonable grounds to believe that a serious act of violence covered by the scope of this Convention, has been committed and further serious acts of violence are to be expected.

Chapter V – Substantive law

Article 29 – Civil lawsuits and remedies

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to provide victims with adequate civil remedies against the perpetrator.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to provide victims, in accordance with the general principles of international law, with adequate civil remedies against state authorities that have failed in their duty to take the necessary preventive or protective measures within the scope of their powers.

Article 30 – Compensation

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that victims have the right to claim compensation from perpetrators for any of the offences established in accordance with this Convention.

2. Adequate state compensation shall be awarded to those who have sustained serious bodily injury or impairment of health, to the extent that the damage is not covered by other sources such as the perpetrator, insurance or state-funded health and social provisions. This does not preclude Parties from claiming regress for compensation awarded from the perpetrator, as long as due regard is paid to the victim’s safety.

3. Measures taken pursuant to paragraph 2 shall ensure the granting of compensation within a reasonable time.

Article 31 – Custody, visitation rights and safety

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that, in the determination of custody and visitation rights of children, incidents of violence covered by the scope of this Convention are taken into account.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the exercise of any visitation or custody rights does not jeopardise the rights and safety of the victim or children.

Article 32 – Civil consequences of forced marriages

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that marriages concluded under force may be voidable, annulled or dissolved without undue financial or administrative burden placed on the victim.

Article 33 – Psychological violence

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the intentional conduct of seriously impairing a person’s psychological integrity through coercion or threats is criminalised.

Article 34 – Stalking

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the intentional conduct of repeatedly engaging in threatening conduct directed at another person, causing her or him to fear for her or his safety, is criminalised.

Article 35 – Physical violence

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the intentional conduct of committing acts of physical violence against another person is criminalised.

Article 36 – Sexual violence, including rape

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the following intentional conducts are criminalised:

a. engaging in non-consensual vaginal, anal or oral penetration of a sexual nature of the body of another person with any bodily part or object;

b. engaging in other non-consensual acts of a sexual nature with a person;

c. causing another person to engage in non-consensual acts of a sexual nature with a third person.

2. Consent must be given voluntarily as the result of the person’s free will assessed in the context of the surrounding circumstances.

3. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the provisions of paragraph 1 also apply to acts committed against former or current spouses or partners as recognised by internal law.

Article 37 – Forced marriage

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the intentional conduct of forcing an adult or a child to enter into a marriage is criminalised.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the intentional conduct of luring an adult or a child to the territory of a Party or state other than the one she or he resides in with the purpose of forcing this adult or child to enter into a marriage is criminalised.

Article 38 – Female genital mutilation

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the following intentional conducts are criminalised:

a. excising, infibulating or performing any other mutilation to the whole or any part of a woman’s labia majora, labia minora or clitoris;

b. coercing or procuring a woman to undergo any of the acts listed in point a;

c. inciting, coercing or procuring a girl to undergo any of the acts listed in point a.

Article 39 – Forced abortion and forced sterilisation

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the following intentional conducts are criminalised:

a. performing an abortion on a woman without her prior and informed consent;

b. performing surgery which has the purpose or effect of terminating a woman’s capacity to naturally reproduce without her prior and informed consent or understanding of the procedure.

Article 40 – Sexual harassment

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment, is subject to criminal or other legal sanction.

Article 41 – Aiding or abetting and attempt

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to establish as an offence, when committed intentionally, aiding or abetting the commission of the offences established in accordance with Articles 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38.a, and 39 of this Convention.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to establish as offences, when committed intentionally, attempts to commit the offences established in accordance with Articles 35, 36, 37, 38.a and 39 of this Convention.

Article 42 – Unacceptable justifications for crimes, including crimes committed in the name of so-called “honour”

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that, in criminal proceedings initiated following the commission of any of the acts of violence covered by the scope of this Convention, culture, custom, religion, tradition or so-called “honour” shall not be regarded as justification for such acts. This covers, in particular, claims that the victim has transgressed cultural, religious, social or traditional norms or customs of appropriate behaviour.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that incitement by any person of a child to commit any of the acts referred to in paragraph 1 shall not diminish the criminal liability of that person for the acts committed.

Article 43 – Application of criminal offences

The offences established in accordance with this Convention shall apply irrespective of the nature of the relationship between victim and perpetrator.

Article 44 – Jurisdiction

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to establish jurisdiction over any offence established in accordance with this Convention, when the offence is committed:

a. in their territory; or

b. on board a ship flying their flag; or

c. on board an aircraft registered under their laws; or

d. by one of their nationals; or

e. by a person who has her or his habitual residence in their territory.

2. Parties shall endeavour to take the necessary legislative or other measures to establish jurisdiction over any offence established in accordance with this Convention where the offence is committed against one of their nationals or a person who has her or his habitual residence in their territory.

3. For the prosecution of the offences established in accordance with Articles 36, 37, 38 and 39 of this Convention, Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that their jurisdiction is not subordinated to the condition that the acts are criminalised in the territory where they were committed.

4. For the prosecution of the offences established in accordance with Articles 36, 37, 38 and 39 of this Convention, Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that their jurisdiction as regards points d and e of paragraph 1 is not subordinated to the condition that the prosecution can only be initiated following the reporting by the victim of the offence or the laying of information by the state of the place where the offence was committed.

5. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to establish jurisdiction over the offences established in accordance with this Convention, in cases where an alleged perpetrator is present on their territory and they do not extradite her or him to another Party, solely on the basis of her or his nationality.

6. When more than one Party claims jurisdiction over an alleged offence established in accordance with this Convention, the Parties involved shall, where appropriate, consult each other with a view to determining the most appropriate jurisdiction for prosecution.

7. Without prejudice to the general rules of international law, this Convention does not exclude any criminal jurisdiction exercised by a Party in accordance with its internal law.

Article 45 – Sanctions and measures

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the offences established in accordance with this Convention are punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions, taking into account their seriousness. These sanctions shall include, where appropriate, sentences involving the deprivation of liberty which can give rise to extradition.

2. Parties may adopt other measures in relation to perpetrators, such as:

    - monitoring or supervision of convicted persons;

    - withdrawal of parental rights, if the best interests of the child, which may include the safety of the victim, cannot be guaranteed in any other way.

Article 46 – Aggravating circumstances

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the following circumstances, insofar as they do not already form part of the constituent elements of the offence, may, in conformity with the relevant provisions of internal law, be taken into consideration as aggravating circumstances in the determination of the sentence in relation to the offences established in accordance with this Convention:

a. the offence was committed against a former or current spouse or partner as recognised by internal law, by a member of the family, a person cohabiting with the victim or a person having abused her or his authority;

b. the offence, or related offences, were committed repeatedly;

c. the offence was committed against a person made vulnerable by particular circumstances;

d. the offence was committed against or in the presence of a child;

e. the offence was committed by two or more people acting together;

f. the offence was preceded or accompanied by extreme levels of violence;

g. the offence was committed with the use or threat of a weapon;

h. the offence resulted in severe physical or psychological harm for the victim;

i. the perpetrator had previously been convicted of offences of a similar nature.

Article 47 – Sentences passed by another Party

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to provide for the possibility of taking into account final sentences passed by another Party in relation to the offences established in accordance with this Convention when determining the sentence.

Article 48 – Prohibition of mandatory alternative dispute resolution processes or sentencing

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to prohibit mandatory alternative dispute resolution processes, including mediation and conciliation, in relation to all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that if the payment of a fine is ordered, due account shall be taken of the ability of the perpetrator to assume his or her financial obligations towards the victim.

Chapter VI – Investigation, prosecution, procedural law and protective measures

Article 49 – General obligations

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that investigations and judicial proceedings in relation to all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention are carried out without undue delay while taking into consideration the rights of the victim during all stages of the criminal proceedings.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures, in conformity with the fundamental principles of human rights and having regard to the gendered understanding of violence, to ensure the effective investigation and prosecution of offences established in accordance with this Convention.

Article 50 – Immediate response, prevention and protection

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the responsible law enforcement agencies respond to all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention promptly and appropriately by offering adequate and immediate protection to victims.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the responsible law enforcement agencies engage promptly and appropriately in the prevention and protection against all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention, including the employment of preventive operational measures and the collection of evidence.

Article 51 – Risk assessment and risk management

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that an assessment of the lethality risk, the seriousness of the situation and the risk of repeated violence is carried out by all relevant authorities in order to manage the risk and if necessary to provide co-ordinated safety and support.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the assessment referred to in paragraph 1 duly takes into account, at all stages of the investigation and application of protective measures, the fact that perpetrators of acts of violence covered by the scope of this Convention possess or have access to firearms.

Article 52 – Emergency barring orders

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the competent authorities are granted the power to order, in situations of immediate danger, a perpetrator of domestic violence to vacate the residence of the victim or person at risk for a sufficient period of time and to prohibit the perpetrator from entering the residence of or contacting the victim or person at risk. Measures taken pursuant to this article shall give priority to the safety of victims or persons at risk.

Article 53 – Restraining or protection orders

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that appropriate restraining or protection orders are available to victims of all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the restraining or protection orders referred to in paragraph 1 are:

    - available for immediate protection and without undue financial or administrative burdens placed on the victim;

    - issued for a specified period or until modified or discharged;

    - where necessary, issued on an ex parte basis which has immediate effect;

    - available irrespective of, or in addition to, other legal proceedings;

    - allowed to be introduced in subsequent legal proceedings.

3. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that breaches of restraining or protection orders issued pursuant to paragraph 1 shall be subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal or other legal sanctions.

Article 54 – Investigations and evidence

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that, in any civil or criminal proceedings, evidence relating to the sexual history and conduct of the victim shall be permitted only when it is relevant and necessary.

Article 55 – Ex parte and ex officio proceedings

1. Parties shall ensure that investigations into or prosecution of offences established in accordance with Articles 35, 36, 37, 38 and 39 of this Convention shall not be wholly dependant upon a report or complaint filed by a victim if the offence was committed in whole or in part on its territory, and that the proceedings may continue even if the victim withdraws her or his statement or complaint.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure, in accordance with the conditions provided for by their internal law, the possibility for governmental and non-governmental organisations and domestic violence counsellors to assist and/or support victims, at their request, during investigations and judicial proceedings concerning the offences established in accordance with this Convention.

Article 56 – Measures of protection

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to protect the rights and interests of victims, including their special needs as witnesses, at all stages of investigations and judicial proceedings, in particular by:

a. providing for their protection, as well as that of their families and witnesses, from intimidation, retaliation and repeat victimisation;

b. ensuring that victims are informed, at least in cases where the victims and the family might be in danger, when the perpetrator escapes or is released temporarily or definitively ;

c. informing them, under the conditions provided for by internal law, of their rights and the services at their disposal and the follow-up given to their complaint, the charges, the general progress of the investigation or proceedings, and their role therein, as well as the outcome of their case;

d. enabling victims, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of internal law, to be heard, to supply evidence and have their views, needs and concerns presented, directly or through an intermediary, and considered;

e. providing victims with appropriate support services so that their rights and interests are duly presented and taken into account;

f. ensuring that measures may be adopted to protect the privacy and the image of the victim;

g. ensuring that contact between victims and perpetrators within court and law enforcement agency premises is avoided where possible;

h. providing victims with independent and competent interpreters when victims are parties to proceedings or when they are supplying evidence;

i. enabling victims to testify, according to the rules provided by their internal law, in the courtroom without being present or at least without the presence of the alleged perpetrator, notably through the use of appropriate communication technologies, where available.

2. A child victim and child witness of violence against women and domestic violence shall be afforded, where appropriate, special protection measures taking into account the best interests of the child.

Article 57 – Legal aid

Parties shall provide for the right to legal assistance and to free legal aid for victims under the conditions provided by their internal law.

Article 58 – Statute of limitation

Parties shall take the necessary legislative and other measures to ensure that the statute of limitation for initiating any legal proceedings with regard to the offences established in accordance with Articles 36, 37, 38 and 39 of this Convention, shall continue for a period of time that is sufficient and commensurate with the gravity of the offence in question, to allow for the efficient initiation of proceedings after the victim has reached the age of majority.

Chapter VII – Migration and asylum

Article 59 – Residence status

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that victims whose residence status depends on that of the spouse or partner as recognised by internal law, in the event of the dissolution of the marriage or the relationship, are granted in the event of particularly difficult circumstances, upon application, an autonomous residence permit irrespective of the duration of the marriage or the relationship. The conditions relating to the granting and duration of the autonomous residence permit are established by internal law.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that victims may obtain the suspension of expulsion proceedings initiated in relation to a residence status dependent on that of the spouse or partner as recognised by internal law to enable them to apply for an autonomous residence permit.

3. Parties shall issue a renewable residence permit to victims in one of the two following situations, or in both:

a. where the competent authority considers that their stay is necessary owing to their personal situation;

b. where the competent authority considers that their stay is necessary for the purpose of their co-operation with the competent authorities in investigation or criminal proceedings.

4. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that victims of forced marriage brought into another country for the purpose of the marriage and who, as a result, have lost their residence status in the country where they habitually reside, may regain this status.

Article 60 – Gender-based asylum claims

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that gender-based violence against women may be recognised as a form of persecution within the meaning of Article 1, A (2), of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and as a form of serious harm giving rise to complementary/subsidiary protection.

2. Parties shall ensure that a gender-sensitive interpretation is given to each of the Convention grounds and that where it is established that the persecution feared is for one or more of these grounds, applicants shall be granted refugee status according to the applicable relevant instruments.

3. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to develop gender-sensitive reception procedures and support services for asylum-seekers as well as gender guidelines and gender-sensitive asylum procedures, including refugee status determination and application for international protection.

Article 61 – Non-refoulement

1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to respect the principle of non-refoulement in accordance with existing obligations under international law.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that victims of violence against women who are in need of protection, regardless of their status or residence, shall not be returned under any circumstances to any country where their life would be at risk or where they might be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Chapter VIII – International co-operation

Article 62 – General principles

1. Parties shall co-operate with each other, in accordance with the provisions of this Convention, and through the application of relevant international and regional instruments on co-operation in civil and criminal matters, arrangements agreed on the basis of uniform or reciprocal legislation and internal laws, to the widest extent possible, for the purpose of:

a. preventing, combating and prosecuting all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention;

b. protecting and providing assistance to victims;

c. investigations or proceedings concerning the offences established in accordance with this Convention;

d. enforcing relevant civil and criminal judgments issued by the judicial authorities of Parties, including protection orders.

2. Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that victims of an offence established in accordance with this Convention and committed in the territory of a Party other than the one where they reside may make a complaint before the competent authorities of their state of residence.

3. If a Party that makes mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, extradition or enforcement of civil or criminal judgments imposed by another Party to this Convention conditional on the existence of a treaty receives a request for such legal co-operation from a Party with which it has not concluded such a treaty, it may consider this Convention to be the legal basis for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, extradition or enforcement of civil or criminal judgments imposed by the other Party in respect of the offences established in accordance with this Convention.

4. Parties shall endeavour to integrate, where appropriate, the prevention and the fight against violence against women and domestic violence in assistance programmes for development provided for the benefit of third states, including by entering into bilateral and multilateral agreements with third states with a view to facilitating the protection of victims in accordance with Article 18, paragraph 5.

Article 63 – Measures relating to persons at risk

When a Party, on the basis of the information at its disposal, has reasonable grounds to believe that a person is at immediate risk of being subjected to any of the acts of violence referred to in Articles 36, 37, 38 and 39 of this Convention on the territory of another Party, the Party that has the information is encouraged to transmit it without delay to the latter for the purpose of ensuring that appropriate protection measures are taken. Where applicable, this information shall include details on existing protection provisions for the benefit of the person at risk.

Article 64 – Information

1. The requested Party shall promptly inform the requesting Party of the final result of the action taken under this chapter. The requested Party shall also promptly inform the requesting Party of any circumstances which render impossible the carrying out of the action sought or are likely to delay it significantly.

2. A Party may, within the limits of its internal law, without prior request, forward to another Party information obtained within the framework of its own investigations when it considers that the disclosure of such information might assist the receiving Party in preventing criminal offences established in accordance with this Convention or in initiating or carrying out investigations or proceedings concerning such criminal offences or that it might lead to a request for co-operation by that Party under this chapter.

3. A Party receiving any information in accordance with paragraph 2 shall submit such information to its competent authorities in order that proceedings may be taken if they are considered appropriate, or that this information may be taken into account in relevant civil and criminal proceedings.

Article 65 – Data Protection

Personal data shall be stored and used pursuant to the obligations undertaken by the Parties under the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (ETS No. 108).

Chapter IX – Monitoring mechanism

Article 66 – Group of experts on action against violence against women and domestic violence

1. The Group of experts on action against violence against women and domestic violence (hereinafter referred to as “GREVIO”) shall monitor the implementation of this Convention by the Parties.

2. GREVIO shall be composed of a minimum of 10 members and a maximum of 15 members, taking into account a gender and geographical balance, as well as multidisciplinary expertise. Its members shall be elected by the Committee of the Parties from among candidates nominated by the Parties for a term of office of four years, renewable once, and chosen from among nationals of the Parties.

3. The initial election of 10 members shall be held within a period of one year following the entry into force of this Convention. The election of five additional members shall be held following the 25th ratification or accession.

4. The election of the members of GREVIO shall be based on the following principles:

a. they shall be chosen according to a transparent procedure from among persons of high moral character, known for their recognised competence in the fields of human rights, gender equality, violence against women and domestic violence, or assistance to and protection of victims, or having demonstrated professional experience in the areas covered by this Convention;

b. no two members of GREVIO may be nationals of the same state;

c. they should represent the main legal systems;

d. they should represent relevant actors and agencies in the field of violence against women and domestic violence;

e. they shall sit in their individual capacity and shall be independent and impartial in the exercise of their functions, and shall be available to carry out their duties in an effective manner.

5. The election procedure of the members of GREVIO shall be determined by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, after consulting with and obtaining the unanimous consent of the Parties, within a period of six months following the entry into force of this Convention.

6. GREVIO shall adopt its own rules of procedure.

7. Members of GREVIO, and other members of delegations carrying out the country visits as set forth in Article 68, paragraphs 9 and 14, shall enjoy the privileges and immunities established in the appendix to this Convention.

Article 67 – Committee of the Parties

1. The Committee of the Parties shall be composed of the representatives of the Parties to the Convention.

2. The Committee of the Parties shall be convened by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. Its first meeting shall be held within a period of one year following the entry into force of this Convention in order to elect the members of GREVIO. It shall subsequently meet whenever one third of the Parties, the President of the Committee of the Parties or the Secretary General so requests.

3. The Committee of the Parties shall adopt its own rules of procedure.

Article 68 – Procedure

1. Parties shall submit to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, based on a questionnaire prepared by GREVIO, a report on legislative and other measures giving effect to the provisions of this Convention, for consideration by GREVIO.

2. GREVIO shall consider the report submitted in accordance with paragraph 1 with the representatives of the Party concerned.

3. Subsequent evaluation procedures shall be divided into rounds, the length of which is determined by GREVIO. At the beginning of each round GREVIO shall select the specific provisions on which the evaluation procedure shall be based and send out a questionnaire.

4. GREVIO shall define the appropriate means to carry out this monitoring procedure. It may in particular adopt a questionnaire for each evaluation round, which shall serve as a basis for the evaluation procedure of the implementation by the Parties. This questionnaire shall be addressed to all Parties. Parties shall respond to this questionnaire, as well as to any other request of information from GREVIO.

5. GREVIO may receive information on the implementation of the Convention from non-governmental organisations and civil society, as well as from national institutions for the protection of human rights.

6. GREVIO shall take due consideration of the existing information available from other regional and international instruments and bodies in areas falling within the scope of this Convention.

7. When adopting a questionnaire for each evaluation round, GREVIO shall take due consideration of the existing data collection and research in the Parties as referred to in Article 11 of this Convention.

8. GREVIO may receive information on the implementation of the Convention from the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, the Parliamentary Assembly and relevant specialised bodies of the Council of Europe, as well as those established under other international instruments. Complaints presented to these bodies and their outcome will be made available to GREVIO.

9. GREVIO may subsidiarily organise, in co-operation with the national authorities and with the assistance of independent national experts, country visits, if the information gained is insufficient or in cases provided for in paragraph 14. During these visits, GREVIO may be assisted by specialists in specific fields.

10. GREVIO shall prepare a draft report containing its analysis concerning the implementation of the provisions on which the evaluation is based, as well as its suggestions and proposals concerning the way in which the Party concerned may deal with the problems which have been identified. The draft report shall be transmitted for comments to the Party which undergoes the evaluation. Its comments shall be taken into account by GREVIO when adopting its report.

11. On the basis of all the information received and the comments by the Parties, GREVIO shall adopt its report and conclusions concerning the measures taken by the Party concerned to implement the provisions of this Convention. This report and the conclusions shall be sent to the Party concerned and to the Committee of the Parties. The report and conclusions of GREVIO shall be made public as from their adoption, together with eventual comments by the Party concerned.

12. Without prejudice to the procedure of paragraphs 1 to 8, the Committee of the Parties may adopt, on the basis of the report and conclusions of GREVIO, recommendations addressed to this Party (a) concerning the measures to be taken to implement the conclusions of GREVIO, if necessary setting a date for submitting information on their implementation, and (b) aiming at promoting co-operation with that Party for the proper implementation of this Convention.

13. If GREVIO receives reliable information indicating a situation where problems require immediate attention to prevent or limit the scale or number of serious violations of the Convention, it may request the urgent submission of a special report concerning measures taken to prevent a serious, massive or persistent pattern of violence against women.

14. Taking into account the information submitted by the Party concerned, as well as any other reliable information available to it, GREVIO may designate one or more of its members to conduct an inquiry and to report urgently to GREVIO. Where warranted and with the consent of the Party, the inquiry may include a visit to its territory.

15. After examining the findings of the inquiry referred to in paragraph 14, GREVIO shall transmit these findings to the Party concerned and, where appropriate, to the Committee of the Parties and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe together with any comments and recommendations.

Article 69 – General recommendations

GREVIO may adopt, where appropriate, general recommendations on the implementation of this Convention.

Article 70 – Parliamentary involvement in monitoring

1. National parliaments shall be invited to participate in the monitoring of the measures taken for the implementation of this Convention.

2. Parties shall submit the reports of GREVIO to their national parliaments.

3. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe shall be invited to regularly take stock of the implementation of this Convention.

Chapter X – Relationship with other international instruments

Article 71 – Relationship with other international instruments

1. This Convention shall not affect obligations arising from other international instruments to which Parties to this Convention are Parties or shall become Parties and which contain provisions on matters governed by this Convention.

2. The Parties to this Convention may conclude bilateral or multilateral agreements with one another on the matters dealt with in this Convention, for purposes of supplementing or strengthening its provisions or facilitating the application of the principles embodied in it.

Chapter XI – Amendments to the Convention

Article 72 – Amendments

1. Any proposal for an amendment to this Convention presented by a Party shall be communicated to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and forwarded by her or him to the member states of the Council of Europe, any signatory, any Party, the European Union, any state invited to sign this Convention in accordance with the provisions of Article 75, and any state invited to accede to this Convention in accordance with the provisions of Article 76.

2. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe shall consider the proposed amendment and, after having consulted the Parties to this Convention that are not members of the Council of Europe, may adopt the amendment by the majority provided for in Article 20.d of the Statute of the Council of Europe.

3. The text of any amendment adopted by the Committee of Ministers in accordance with paragraph 2 shall be forwarded to the Parties for acceptance.

4. Any amendment adopted in accordance with paragraph 2 shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of one month after the date on which all Parties have informed the Secretary General of their acceptance.

Chapter XII – Final clauses

Article 73 – Effects of this Convention

The provisions of this Convention shall not prejudice the provisions of internal law and binding international instruments which are already in force or may come into force, under which more favourable rights are or would be accorded to persons in preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

Article 74 – Dispute settlement

1. The Parties to any dispute which may arise concerning the application or interpretation of the provisions of this Convention shall first seek to resolve it by means of negotiation, conciliation, arbitration or by any other methods of peaceful settlement accepted by mutual agreement between them.

2. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe may establish procedures of settlement to be available for use by the Parties in dispute if they should so agree.

Article 75 – Signature and entry into force

1. This Convention shall be open for signature by the member states of the Council of Europe, the non-member states which have participated in its elaboration and the European Union.

2. This Convention is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval. Instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

3. This Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date on which 10 signatories, including at least eight member states of the Council of Europe, have expressed their consent to be bound by the Convention in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 2.

4. In respect of any state referred to in paragraph 1 or the European Union, which subsequently expresses its consent to be bound by it, the Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of the deposit of its instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval.

Article 76 – Accession to the Convention

1. After the entry into force of this Convention, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe may, after consultation of the Parties to this Convention and obtaining their unanimous consent, invite any non-member state of the Council of Europe, which has not participated in the elaboration of the Convention, to accede to this Convention by a decision taken by the majority provided for in Article 20.d of the Statute of the Council of Europe, and by unanimous vote of the representatives of the Parties entitled to sit on the Committee of Ministers.

2. In respect of any acceding state, the Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of deposit of the instrument of accession with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

Article 77 – Territorial application

1. Any state or the European Union may, at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, specify the territory or territories to which this Convention shall apply.

2. Any Party may, at any later date, by a declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, extend the application of this Convention to any other territory specified in the declaration and for whose international relations it is responsible or on whose behalf it is authorised to give undertakings. In respect of such territory, the Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of receipt of such declaration by the Secretary General.

3. Any declaration made under the two preceding paragraphs may, in respect of any territory specified in such declaration, be withdrawn by a notification addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. The withdrawal shall become effective on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of receipt of such notification by the Secretary General.

Article 78 – Reservations

1. No reservation may be made in respect of any provision of this Convention, with the exceptions provided for in paragraphs 2 and 3.

2. Any state or the European Union may, at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, by a declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, declares that it reserves the right not to apply or to apply only in specific cases or conditions the provisions laid down in:

    - Article 30, paragraph 2;

    - Article 44, paragraphs 1.e, 3 and 4;

    - Article 55, paragraph 1 in respect of Article 35 regarding minor offences;

    - Article 58 in respect of Articles 37, 38 and 39;

    - Article 59.

3. Any state or the European Union may, at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, by a declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, declares that it reserves the right to provide for non-criminal sanctions, instead of criminal sanctions, for the behaviours referred to in Articles 33 and 34.

4. Any Party may wholly or partly withdraw a reservation by means of a declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. This declaration shall become effective as from its date of receipt by the Secretary General.

Article 79 – Validity and review of reservations

1. Reservations referred to in Article 78, paragraphs 2 and 3, shall be valid for a period of five years from the day of the entry into force of this Convention in respect of the Party concerned. However, such reservations may be renewed for periods of the same duration.

2. Eighteen months before the date of expiry of the reservation, the Secretariat General of the Council of Europe shall give notice of that expiry to the Party concerned. No later than three months before the expiry, the Party shall notify the Secretary General that it is upholding, amending or withdrawing its reservation. In the absence of a notification by the Party concerned, the Secretariat General shall inform that Party that its reservation is considered to have been extended automatically for a period of six months. Failure by the Party concerned to notify its intention to uphold or modify its reservation before the expiry of that period shall cause the reservation to lapse.

3. If a Party makes a reservation in conformity with Article 78, paragraphs 2 and 3, it shall provide, before its renewal or upon request, an explanation to GREVIO, on the grounds justifying its continuance.

Article 80 – Denunciation

1. Any Party may, at any time, denounce this Convention by means of a notification addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

2. Such denunciation shall become effective on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary General.

Article 81 – Notification

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall notify the member states of the Council of Europe, the non-member states which have participated in its elaboration, any signatory, any Party, the European Union, and any state invited to accede to this Convention of:

a. any signature;

b. the deposit of any instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession;

c. any date of entry into force of this Convention in accordance with Articles 75 and 76;

d. any amendment adopted in accordance with Article 72 and the date on which such an amendment enters into force;

e. any reservation and withdrawal of reservation made in pursuance of Article 78;

f. any denunciation made in pursuance of the provisions of Article 80;

g. any other act, notification or communication relating to this Convention.

In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorised thereto, have signed this Convention.

Done at …, this …, in English and in French, both texts being equally authentic, in a single copy which shall be deposited in the archives of the Council of Europe. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall transmit certified copies to each member state of the Council of Europe, to the non-member states which have participated in the elaboration of this Convention, to the European Union and to any state invited to accede to this Convention.

Appendix – Privileges and immunities (Article 66)

1. This appendix shall apply to the members of GREVIO mentioned in Article 66 of the Convention, as well as to other members of the country visit delegations. For the purpose of this appendix, the term “other members of the country visit delegations” shall include the independent national experts and the specialists mentioned in Article 68, paragraph 9, of the Convention, staff members of the Council of Europe and interpreters employed by the Council of Europe accompanying GREVIO during its country visits.

2. The members of GREVIO and the other members of the country visit delegations shall, while exercising their functions relating to the preparation and the carrying out of country visits, as well as the follow-up thereto, and travelling in connection with those functions, enjoy the following privileges and immunities:

a. immunity from personal arrest or detention and from seizure of their personal baggage, and immunity from legal process of every kind in respect of words spoken or written and all acts performed by them in their official capacity;

b. exemption from any restrictions on their freedom of movement on exit from and return to their country of residence, and entry into and exit from the country in which they exercise their functions, and from alien registration in the country which they are visiting or through which they are passing in the exercise of their functions.

3. In the course of journeys undertaken in the exercise of their functions, the members of GREVIO and the other members of the country visit delegations shall, in the matter of customs and exchange control, be accorded the same facilities as those accorded to representatives of foreign governments on temporary official duty.

4. The documents relating to the evaluation of the implementation of the Convention carried by members of GREVIO and other members of the country visit delegations shall be inviolable insofar as they concern the activity of GREVIO. No stoppage or censorship shall be applied to the official correspondence of GREVIO or to official communications of members of GREVIO and other members of the country visit delegations.

5. In order to secure for the members of GREVIO and the other members of the country visit delegations complete freedom of speech and complete independence in the discharge of their duties, the immunity from legal process in respect of words spoken or written and all acts done by them in discharging their duties shall continue to be accorded, notwithstanding that the persons concerned are no longer engaged in the discharge of such duties.

6. Privileges and immunities are granted to the persons mentioned in paragraph 1 of this appendix in order to safeguard the independent exercise of their functions in the interests of GREVIO and not for their personal benefit. The waiver of immunities of the persons mentioned in paragraph 1 of this appendix shall be made by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in any case where, in his or her opinion, the immunity would impede the course of justice and where it can be waived without prejudice to the interests of GREVIO.



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