Ministers' Deputies / Rapporteur Groups
GR-H
Rapporteur Group on human rights

GR-H(2009)CB3 20 April 20091
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Synopsis
Meeting of 2 and 14 April 2009

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1. The Rapporteur Group on Human Rights (GR-H) met on 2 and 14 April March 2009 with Ambassador C. Oldenburg, Permanent Representative of Denmark, in the Chair. The following items were discussed:

Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

    a. Debate on the draft resolution on the implementation of the Convention by:

09/10 - Albania (CM(2009)…)

2. In the absence of a draft resolution, the Chair proposed to postpone the examination of this item to the next meeting of the group.

09/07 - Ukraine (CM(2009)33 rev – to be issued)

3. The Chair proposed to postpone this item given the fact that consultations with interested delegations were ongoing.

b. Election of an expert to the list of experts eligible to serve on the Advisory Committee – Candidates in respect of:

09/11 - Cyprus (CM(2009)44)
09/12 - the Russian Federation (CM(2009)35)

4. After debate, the Chairman noted that the delegation of Cyprus expressed a preference for the candidate Mr Yiannakis CHRYSOSTOMIS. No preference was expressed by the delegation of the Russian Federation. The GR-H agreed to transmit the lists to the Deputies with a view to the designation of experts by ballot at their 1055th meeting (22 April 2009).

09/13 Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH)

    a. Abridged report of the 68th meeting (Strasbourg, 24-27 March 2009)
    CM(2009)51 (document to be issued), CM(2009)51 add2

5. The Chair said that the full abridged report would be discussed at a forthcoming meeting of the GR-H and that the Group was invited to consider only the draft terms of reference of the Committee of Experts on the reform of the Court (DH-GDR) and the Committee of Experts on effective remedies for excessive length of proceedings (DH-RE).

6. In the draft terms of reference of the DH-GDR, a delegation suggested replacing the sentence "The Committee (18 members) will meet at least twice in 2009." on page 2 of document CM(2009)51 add2 by the sentence "The Committee (18 members) may meet up to twice in 2009." This proposal was widely endorsed.

7. After a discussion, the Group agreed to forward the draft decisions, as amended (see Notes on the agenda CM/Notes/1055/4.4c), to the Deputies for adoption of the relevant decisions at their 1055th meeting (22 April 2009).

    b. Guaranteeing the long-term effectiveness of the control system of the European Convention on Human Rights
    CM(2009)51 add prov, DD(2009)156, DD(2009)186, DD(2009)189, GR-H(2009)7

      i. Activity report “Guaranteeing the long-term effectiveness of the control system of the European Convention on Human Rights”

8. The Chair said that, due to lack of time, the exchange of views on the CDDH's Activity report, as set out in document CM(2009)51 add prov (see pages 7 et seq), would be deferred to the Group's next meeting.

      ii. CDDH final opinion on putting into practice certain procedures envisaged to increase the Court’s case-processing capacity

      iii. Opinion of the CAHDI (transmitted to the CDDH) on the public international law aspects of the advisability and modalities of inviting the European Court of Human Rights to put into practice certain procedures which are already envisaged to increase the Court’s case-processing capacity, in particular the new single judge and committee procedures
      CM(2009)56 add

9. During the first part of the GR-H meeting, on 2 April, the Group discussed in detail the three options envisaged in the CDDH report. The Chair observed that all the delegations agreed on the need to take steps to deal with the Court's excessive workload and that preference went to the option that would have the fastest impact and be the most effective.

10. Option 1 (an agreement on the provisional application of certain provisions of Protocol 14 to the Convention) required a consensus among the 47 Contracting Parties to the Convention, following which each Party would be free to make a declaration accepting the provisional application of certain provisions of Protocol 14 in so far as it was concerned. The Chair noted that the Group considered that Contracting Parties that were opposed to the consensus should be required to explain why they wanted to prevent the other Parties from making their own choices and agreeing to implement the relevant provisions of Protocol 14 in so far as they were concerned.

11. The Chair indicated that Option 2 (a Protocol 14 bis) did not a require consensus but could be adopted by a majority of two-thirds of the votes cast and a majority of representatives entitled to sit on the Committee (Article 20.d of the Council of Europe Statute).

12. The Chair concluded by saying that, regardless of whether the first or the second option was chosen, the result would be the same for all the Contracting Parties, namely the provisional application of certain procedural provisions of Protocol 14 when the Court examined applications filed against them. The reform would therefore merely introduce an additional procedural arrangement applicable to Contracting Parties that undertook provisionally to implement certain provisions of Protocol 14 – whether that undertaking entailed notifying the Secretary General of a declaration under the Agreement adopted by the conference of Parties (Option 1) or becoming a Party to Protocol 14 bis (Option 2). Contracting Parties that did not opt for either solution would continue to be subject to the procedure laid down in the existing text of the Convention.

13. Given that the first option required a consensus, unlike the second, several delegations said it would be preferable to adopt the third option referred to by the CDDH in its report (CM(2009)51 add prov, § 19), which entailed making both options available in parallel and leaving each Contracting Party free to decide which of Options 1 and 2 was better suited to its domestic constitutional and legal system.

14. During the second part of the meeting, on 14 April, the Group held a discussion on a "non-paper" distributed at the request of the Russian Federation (see DD(2009)189). It also considered the following documents: a draft Protocol 14 bis (Option 2), as set out in Appendix 2 to document DD(2009)156, a revised, simplified draft Agreement (Option 1), as set out in document DD(2009)186, and an information note setting out the content of "Option 3", its consequences and the arrangements needed to put into practice (see GR-H(2009)7).

15. The Group agreed to make a number of amendments to draft Protocol 14 bis and to ask the Deputies to forward the draft to the Parliamentary Assembly, inviting it to give an urgent opinion on the text even though it was still in a drafting process. In accordance with current practice, a draft explanatory report would also be forwarded to the Assembly for information. The Secretariat was requested to produce a consolidated version of draft Protocol 14 bis and the explanatory report as soon as possible.

16. Following the discussion, the Chair observed that the three documents that the Group had examined and partly revised now provided a solid basis on which to work. The procedure suggested in the "non-paper" distributed at the request of the Russian Federation introduced a "political" stage prior to the "legal" stages envisaged by the CAHDI, the CDDH and in the GR-H(2009)7 information note. The question of whether this "political" stage made it possible to meet the legal requirement to which the CAHDI had drawn attention in its opinion ("Accordingly, a decision by consensus and absence of disagreement by any negotiating state would be a legally sound basis for an agreement on provisional application.", see § 34) had yet to be settled. Finally, it was agreed that at its next meeting, on 24 April, the GR-H would resume its discussions on this item and examine Options 1 and 3 as well as the draft explanatory report to draft Protocol 14 bis.

09/14 European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) – Examination of proposals for the nomination of a member and a deputy member in respect of France and of a member in respect of Liechtenstein
Resolution Res(2002)8, DG-HL(2009)1

17. The GR-H held an informal exchange of views on the curricula vitae of the proposed member and deputy member in respect of France and member in respect of Liechtenstein. The Chairman noted that the CV’s would be submitted to the Deputies at their 1055th meeting (22 April 2009) with the recommendation that the appropriate decisions be taken without further debate (item placed in the box).

09/15 European Social Charter – European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) – Procedure for the election of a member
GR-H(2009)5

18. The Group considered the details for the procedure regarding the election of one member of the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR), as contained in document GR-H(2009)5, and agreed to transmit this information to the Deputies for adoption of the relevant decisions without further debate (item placed in the box) at their 1055th meeting on 22 April 2009.

09/16 Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services (CDMC)
CM(2009)…

a. Abridged report of the 9th meeting (25-26 March 2009)
b. Draft terms of reference for subsidiary groups to the CDMC:

    - Committee of Experts on New Media (MC-NM)
    - Ad hoc Advisory Group on Public Service Media Governance (MC-S-PG)
    - Ad hoc Advisory Group on Cross-border Internet (MC-S-CI)
    - Ad hoc Advisory Group on the Protection of Neighbouring Rights of Broadcasting Organisations (MC-S-NR)

19. This item was postponed to a forthcoming meeting.

08/33 “Assessment of transit and processing centres as a response to mixed flows of migrants and asylum seekers” – Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1808 (2007)

    REC_1808 (2007), CM/AS(2009)Rec1808 prov, CM/AS(2009)Rec1808 prov2, CM/AS(2009)Rec1808 prov3

20. The Chair said that, due to lack of time, it would be necessary to defer discussion of this item to a forthcoming meeting.

09/17 “Member states’ duty to co-operate with the European Court of Human Rights” – Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1809 (2007)
REC_1809 (2007), CM/AS(2009)Rec1809 prov

21. The Chair said that, due to lack of time, it would be necessary to defer discussion of this item to the next meeting.

09/18 “Indicators for media in a democracy” – Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1848 (2008)
REC_1848 (2008), CM/AS(2009)Rec1848 prov

22. The Chair said that, due to lack of time, it would be necessary to defer discussion of this item to the next meeting.

- Any other business

23. The Secretariat informed delegations that the reports by the European Committee of Social Rights concerning collective complaints, which were forwarded to them in accordance with the Additional Protocol to the European Social Charter Providing for a System of Collective Complaints, would in future be marked "confidential" and not "secret". This change met the requirements of Article 8.2 of the Protocol, which provided: "The report shall be transmitted to the Committee of Ministers. It shall also be transmitted to the organisation that lodged the complaint and to the Contracting Parties to the Charter, which shall not be at liberty to publish it. It shall be transmitted to the Parliamentary Assembly and made public at the same time as the resolution referred to in Article 9 or no later than four months after it has been transmitted to the Committee of Ministers."

- Date of the next meeting

Friday, 24 April 2009 at 10 a.m.

1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue; it will be declassified in accordance with Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.


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