CM(2004)22 13 February 2004
873 Meeting, 18 February 2004
2 Political questions
2.3 Monitoring Group (GT-SUIVI-AGO) – 4th Progress Report
[Item prepared by the GT-SUIVI-AGO]
1. At their 850th meeting (September 2003, item 2.4), the Deputies received the 3rd progress report on the GT-SUIVI.AGO's work on the honouring of commitments by Armenia and Azerbaijan. The report covered the period from July 2002 to July 2003.
2. On that occasion, the Deputies asked Armenia and Azerbaijan to speed up democratic reform and make significant progress towards complete fulfilment of the undertakings made nearly three years earlier on accession to the Council of Europe. They also asked them to take rapid measures to solve all the problems mentioned in the 3rd progress report, and asked the GT-SUIVI.AGO to continue its monitoring work and to present a new progress report in early 2004;
3. The Group continued its work under the chairmanship of the Italian ambassador, Mr P.E. AGO, with the same membership (Austria, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, the Russian Federation, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey) and employing the same methods (sending questionnaires on the commitments accepted, each questionnaire being prepared by groups of two rapporteurs. with the Secretariat's assistance; see Appendix I). Representatives of Armenia and Azerbaijan were invited to be present during part of the work.
4. During the reference period, the Group held 4 meetings. Two questionnaires were sent to the Armenian and Azerbaijan authorities, on 24 June 2003 and on 4 December 2003. The replies from the two countries to the latter questionnaire reached the Secretariat around 20 January 2004 and were used to prepare for the field visit which a delegation of the Group made to the region from 1 to 7 February 2004.
5. The delegation was composed of the Chair, Mr P.E. AGO, Permanent Representative of Italy, and Ambassadors Gilles CHOURAQUI (France), Johannes LANDMAN (Netherlands) and Gheorghe MAGHERU (Romania).
6. The delegation was in Azerbaijan from 1 to 4 February and in Armenia from 5 to 7 February 2004. It met representatives of each country's government and parliament, opposition parties, NGOs, ambassadors of Council of Europe member countries stationed there, and the OSCE representatives. In Azerbaijan, it was also able to speak with several political prisoners. For the programme of the two visits, see Appendix II.
7. The members of the delegation express their gratitude to the authorities of both countries for their hospitality and co-operativeness. The group's task was greatly facilitated by the helpful attitude and concern for transparency shown by leaders of both countries, and this at the highest level.
8. Lastly, they wish to thank the representatives of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Ms Voutova and Ms Aarnio-Lwolff and the latter's successor Mr Lindberg who, together with the chargés d'affaires a.i. of Italy in Armenia and Azerbaijan, co-ordinated the non-official meetings and in particular organised a lunch with ambassadors of Council of Europe member states posted in Yerevan.
II. GENERAL CONCLUSIONS
9. 2003 was a year when reforms marked time in the two countries, delaying the implementation of a significant number of undertakings. A succession of elections largely accounts for this: presidential and parliamentary elections and a referendum on the constitutional amendments in Armenia; presidential election in Azerbaijan. The same observation was made by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) in the 3 Resolutions which it adopted in the final week of January 2004.
10. The delegation's visit took place at a propitious time, both in relation to the Assembly's work and from the standpoint of evolution in the two countries' domestic policy. It afforded the opportunity to highlight the recommendations and the timetable laid down by the PACE with the added weight of the opinion of the Committee of Ministers' monitoring group.
11. The impending departure of the Chair of the Group, Ambassador Ago, prompted all its interlocutors to stress the decisiveness of the Group's work for the democratic development of their two countries and, in that context, to emphasise the usefulness of regular visits. The Presidents of the Republic of Armenia and Azerbaijan, who conferred at length with the delegation, considered that the constructive approach followed by the group, whose criticisms- often substantial and even severe in their terms though always moderate and friendly in their form – was viewed by the authorities as a positive commitment by the Committee of Ministers to their countries' progress and integration with Europe.
12. In their political situation at home and their mutual relations, the two countries are at a significant stage of their development. With a re-elected or newly elected President, Armenia and Azerbaijan, now that all major electoral pressure is off, can resume their internal democratic restructuring. This is already proceeding in Armenia where the latest election dates back to May 2003 and several fundamental reforms have been introduced over the last 6 months including the ratification of a number of Council of Europe conventions and the adoption or amendment of certain pieces of domestic legislation (see appendix III). In Azerbaijan the presidential election dates back three months and, apart from the extensive pardon of 29 December which restored their freedom to a large number of political prisoners, little progress has been made as yet apart from the ratification of a number of Council of Europe conventions and the adoption or amendment of certain pieces of domestic legislation (see appendix IV). However, the delegation was struck by the new tone and the extremely positive discourse which it heard from nearly all its contacts. It took this as a serious pledge of progress.
13. Nonetheless the delegation was also able to gauge the negative effects of elections that were not up to European standards and badly shook the confidence of the electorate in the democratic process. In Armenia as well as Azerbaijan, the opposition and the NGOs conveyed their feelings of rejection towards elected persons whose legitimacy they contest. They also displayed great frustration at the slowness of progress, and some disappointment over what was considered a “limp” reaction by the international community. “The Council of Europe and the OSCE find that the elections were flawed but do nothing,” it is said. The example of Georgia is held up – in different perspectives – on both the opposition and the government side.
14. The delegation pointed out that where the presidential elections were concerned, the results would probably have been identical even without fraud, a point of view which is contested by the opposition. The compulsive practice of manipulation out of a principle of precaution highlights the problem of political succession and the impossibility for the ruling power in certain former communist countries to contemplate authority changing hands. This leads to dangerous contestation and weakening of the ruling power, resulting in violent street protests and arrests in Azerbaijan, and, in Armenia, an attempt to have a referendum of confidence in the President and a partial boycott of parliamentary proceedings by the opposition members.
15. This democratic immaturity explains - at least as much as deficiencies in the electoral code and structures (particularly the membership of the Electoral Commissions) - the very disappointing results of what is always the first – and most important - test of democracy, namely the holding of free, transparent and fair elections. The delegation impressed on both countries the need to take serious and effective measures in this respect before the next scheduled election dates. It is indeed obvious that without democratic elections political dialogue remains problematic, with the risk of radicalisation for the opposition and exhaustion of constituents' patience.
16. Yet restoration of confidence and the opening of real political dialogue with the opposition forces are plainly indispensable if the institutions are to function and the citizens are to support the policy pursued.
17. This is still more important considering the difficulty which civil society has in emerging and organising in both countries. This dearth of political culture, which compounds the difficulties of day-to-day life in countries where wealth is very unevenly distributed, considerably hampers democratic progress and transformation of society. Speedy measures directed at social progress, shared prosperity and political transparency are imperative. Determination to work towards this and to fight corruption has been shown at the highest level in both countries.
18. Lastly, the strength of both countries' desire for integration with Europe was plainly perceptible to the delegation. This firmly European stance is evidenced at the highest level currently by participation in the Council of Europe, then by interest in the European Union initiative – “Wider Europe – a New Neighbourhood”, and ultimately by the prospects for a possible accession to the European Union. It forms a powerful incentive to democratic development.
19. In its last report the Group was obliged to conclude that virtually no progress had been made over the past year. The authorities had nonetheless given indications that once the elections passed, the reform could resume, and in September they submitted a work programme (“roadmap”) accompanied by a timetable for the undertakings yet to be fulfilled.
20. Over the last 6 months significant progress has in fact been made and the measures set out in the roadmap have actually been taken, within the specified times. Capital punishment has been abolished, all the Conventions mentioned in Opinion No. 221 have been ratified, a new Penal Code and laws on the Ombudsman, the mass media and alternative service have been adopted, and the law on radio and TV has been revised. The delegation conveyed to the Armenian authorities the group's appreciation for the extent of progress achieved, which augurs well for the honouring of the outstanding commitments.
21. These are still many and depend on the constitutional reform, and on that score the delegation cannot help but express its concern. In fact this reform affects fundamental sectors of democratic reform such as independence of the judiciary and the media, the procedure for appointing the ombudsman, and local democracy. Even if provisional measures can be taken in the meantime, all that can lastingly mould the structures of Armenian democracy is reform of the Constitution.
22. In this respect, though, the President mentioned the difficulties which he foresees in marshalling the requisite number of votes in favour (50% of those voting and 1/3 of the persons registered) to push through the reform. He said he was limited in his efforts to have the constitutional reform adopted by the law on referendums according to which the ruling power could not campaign in support of the amendments proposed by it, and stated his intention to amend that law.
23. The delegation placed strong emphasis on the necessity of this constitutional reform, on proper preparation of the ballot, and on an extensive campaign to explain it to the public. It also stressed the advantage of preparing the amendments with the involvement of all the political forces, and recalled the timetable indicated by the Parliamentary Assembly. It received confirmation from the leader of the parliamentary delegation to the Council of Europe, Mr Torosyan, that the timetable would be kept.
24. Regarding the consultations with the opposition, the prospects seem difficult; on arrival, the delegation discovered a crisis in parliament, the 24 members of the parliamentary opposition having proclaimed a boycott after the parliament's decision not to pass the amendment to the law on the referendums permitting a “referendum of confidence” in the President to be held.
25. These events follow from the Constitutional Court's decision of 16 April 2003 on the appeal of Stepan Demirchyan, a candidate in the second round of the presidential elections challenging the results thereof . In its decision, the Constitutional Court recommends that to lower tensions the authorities organise within a year a referendum of confidence in the President. Subsequently, at the beginning of October 2003, the President of the Court held that the idea had become less worthwhile, but the parties in opposition tabled a bill in parliament to that effect. Owing to the relative strengths (24 out of 131 members) the bill was not passed. The delegation impressed the need for dialogue on both the authorities and the opposition, to whom it suggested verifying with the Venice Commission the effect of the Constitutional Court's decision.
26. This distrust and contestation of the President's legitimacy by the opposition parties and the NGOs arise from the major irregularities that flawed the two Armenian elections and highlight the compelling need to act upon the recommendations of the international election monitoring mission. The authorities have firmly undertaken to do so, particularly regarding revision of the Electoral Code provisions on membership of the electoral commissions, role of observers, transparency of vote counting and prompt publication of results for each polling station. As to penalties for persons who infringed the Electoral Code, the Group awaits information.
27. In this context, the delegation requested the publication of the census results. The President stated that the results were published, and the group asked to receive them.
28. The breaking-off of the dialogue between the opposition and the government also affects the transitional procedure for appointment of the Ombudsman. The President has proposed a female candidate whom he regards as giving every assurance of independence, but the opposition withholds comment on this person, demanding a prior agreement on a consensual procedure of appointment.
29. In the areas governed by the Constitution and calling for transitional measures, the delegation emphasised independence of the judiciary which, according to the PACE, should materialise in concrete measures by the end of 2004. The President undertook to make the necessary adjustments to the procedure for appointing the Judicial Council and judges.
30. As regards local self-government, which, despite an ambitious programme, has barely made any progress, the relevant minister said that he would respect the timetable set by the PACE for the laws on local self-government, territorial administration, municipal civil service and the status of Yerevan. With regard to the latter, account will have to be taken of the limitations of the Constitution, but he has undertaken to submit a timetable for the various stages of the reform in late March, after the seminar which is to be held in Yerevan on 2 and 3 March 2004.
31. As regards conscientious objectors, the delegation asked the President to grant a pardon to the 26 Jehovah's Witnesses still in prison and to assure that Jehovah's Witnesses were no longer arrested before the entry into force of the law on alternative service in July 2004. President Kocharian said he would follow up the Group's request.
32. The question of the independence of the media is undeniably one of the most hotly debated issues, particularly following the fourth refusal to allocate a frequency to A1+ and Noyan Tapan. NGOS have complained about the lack of plurality of information sources in the electronic media. Although freedom of information clearly exists in the press, it is severely restricted on public and private television channels. The latter only have access to newsblocks controlled by the government. The NGOs believe that the A1+ channel's independence and willingness to speak its mind, encouraged other channels to do likewise, and explains why it is now forbidden to broadcast.
33. The delegation pointed out that it was important that both legislation and actual practice guarantee a plurality of sources and the media's independence. In the past the President had given assurances that the allocation of frequencies would respect this principle. The delegation therefore expressed its surprise that A1+ - which had symbolic value in the eyes of NGOs and of the opposition – had again been refused a frequency in the latest call for tenders. The President said that this refusal was due to the technical and financial shortcomings of the company in question and that he was prepared to submit the opinion of the board responsible for allocating frequencies for appraisal by international experts. He considered more generally that freedom of the media in Armenia should not only be evaluated through the granting of a licence to A1+ and he suggested that the Council of Europe might monitor electronic media in order to assess its pluralism of expression. The delegation said that it attached great importance to this matter, to which it would return.
34. Finally, the President informed the delegation that he intended to launch a vast anti-corruption programme and to ratify the relevant Council of Europe conventions.
35. The Group expects the Armenian authorities to continue the reforms at the same pace as over the previous 6 months to respect the timetable set by the PACE. A new ”roadmap”, which updates the deadlines – some of which the delegation had been unable to discuss, eg the reform of the administrative code or the defamation clause and that on the non-reduction of sentences for certain offences included in the new criminal code – will be sent to the Group at the end of the month. In this context precise indications on the measures to be taken for the organisation of the constitutional referendum should be specified.
36. The presidential elections took place in Azerbaijan three months ago. They were contested and followed by a certain amount of unrest, street demonstrations and arrests. This negative trend was characterised by elections that failed to comply with European standards and the lack of democratic progress made in 2003. This impression was however mitigated by a presidential pardon at the end of the year, leading to the release of a large number of political prisoners, including I. Gamidov, one of the emblematic prisoners.
37. Apart from this, no substantial progress has been made in important fields such as the separation of powers, freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly and respect for human rights, as the PACE noted in Resolution 1358 (2004). Several political prisoners are still in prison. Nearly 80 people are still in detention 3 months after the demonstrations and unrest that followed the elections on 15 October 2003. Cases of torture and ill-treatment have also been reported by NGOs and opposition parties.
38. The climate between the government and the opposition is still very tense as the latter challenges the new President's legitimacy and claims that it is the victim of harassment and persecution. NGOs complained about deterioration of the situation since the elections which was due, so they alleged, to the authorities' desire to silence the opposition and firmly establish the authority of llham Aliyev.
39. The delegation raised all of these questions with the officials it met and was struck by the radically new tone adopted by not only the parliamentary delegation to the Council of Europe but also the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Justice, the presidential administration and particularly the new President. The tendency to deny that there are problems and to reject some demands as unfounded has been replaced by a constructive approach, revealing a genuine desire to solve problems.
40. All these officials declared that they intended to take action in response to the PACE recommendations in the two texts it had adopted and within the time-limits set. This concerns the revision of the electoral code, the reform of the judicial system and the independence of the judiciary, the law on lawyers, the law on public radio and television, the implementation of local self-government and the fight against corruption. The Minister of Justice also assured the delegation that the analysis of the compatibility of Azerbaijani legislation with Articles 6§2 and 6§3 of the European Convention on Human Rights would be available before the end of the month.
41. The delegation took note of these declarations of good intentions and firmly hopes that substantial progress will be made. It has asked the authorities to submit a roadmap for the implementation of this programme, indicating time-limits. The government has agreed to this.
42. The delegation had the opportunity to talk to the new President for almost two hours and was impressed by his determination. He referred to the historical role of President Heydar Aliyev whom he considered the Father of the Nation which was echoed by the presence of his portrait everywhere in the streets and official buildings in Baku. Although he declared that he intended to pursue his father's European course, Ilham Alyiev showed a willingness to move towards a new discourse and new political choices.
43. He claims that the three years he spent as member of the PACE were a valuable experience and that he believes that if Azerbaijan wishes to achieve European integration, it must make significant democratic progress. Such progress includes not only the honouring of Azerbaijan's commitments to the Council of Europe but also a significant improvement in the living standards of its people and greater social justice. Azerbaijan's promising economic prospects must benefit all its citizens. He therefore intends to root out corruption and ensure that his people can enjoy decent living conditions. This includes the hundreds of thousands of refugees, for whom he intends to provide housing by using the “Oil Fund”, whose transparent management will be supervised by international experts.
44. The President assured the delegation that action would be taken on the PACE recommendations in Resolutions 1358 and 1359 (2004). As for the issue of political prisoners1, the delegation has requested the release of all those who the Secretary General's experts consider political prisoners and those who were imprisoned after the list was drawn up and are referred to in PACE Report 10026. It also asked that all those arrested after 15 October 2004 be released or tried without further delay.
45. President Ilham Aliyev does not consider all the persons mentioned by the PACE and the Group as political prisoners. Nevertheless, he agrees that this is a problem of the past and that that it is time to turn the page. In a spirit of reconciliation, he said he was prepared to wipe the slate clean and release the prisoners before September. However, he would not accept new lists being presented to him at every opportunity. Thus persons arrested in October for disturbance of the peace will either be released or put on trial if they have broken the law.
46. The delegation also referred to the acts of torture which had allegedly been committed following the October arrests and particularly in the detention areas of the Ministry of the Interior. The President said that this matter would be investigated and that if acts of ill-treatment had taken place, the perpetrators would be punished.
47. The delegation, which visited two prisons - Gobustan and Colony N° 9 – heard allegations of torture from the mother of an ordinary prisoner. The delegation saw the prisoner in question in Gobustan and informed the Deputy Minister of Justice, General Qasimov, of its concern. The latter launched an investigation and the delegation wishes to thank him for the willingness to co-operate, that he once more demonstrated. It is undeniably thanks to his professional attitude and the integrity of his approach that such acts do not seem to have taken place to date on premises under his authority. The delegation trusts that this will continue to be the case.
48. The new president's approach has also changed with regard to Nagorno-Karabakh. President Ilham Aliyev said that he was prepared to continue negotiations, but as he has only just taken up office he indicated that he is in no hurry and wanted to leave time for discussion. Meanwhile his priority is to improve his fellow citizens' living conditions. Nevertheless, he did point out that at the end of this term of office, ie in 5 years' time, he would have to render account to those who voted for him and explain what he has done to settle this matter, which is a national cause for his people. With regard to the development of the negotiations, he said he preferred an “Oslo”-type formula, beginning with confidence-building measures and setting aside the question of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh - he could accept neither its independence nor its annexation to Armenia - until the end. He had informed the co-chairs of the Minsk Group of his position.
49. In Armenia the President, his representative and the Minister of Foreign Affairs said they were prepared to continue to discuss the issue and, where appropriate, to consider possibilities other than those discussed in Paris and Key West, provided that these possibilities include a clear indication on the final status of Nagorno Karabakh.
50. The delegation repeated that it was not within the remit of the Council of Europe to solve the conflict but recalled that its is a common commitment for the two countries. It stressed that the Parliamentary Assembly had pointed out in its two Resolutions that as long as the undertaking made by both countries had not been respected and there was no peaceful solution to the conflict, the two countries could not be considered to have honoured their commitments and the monitoring procedure could not be terminated. The Group expressed the hope that, after more than one year, negotiations might be resumed and lead to a settlement. It therefore reiterated that the Venice Commission was willing to provide assistance if the solution could be facilitated by a legal technical approach.
VI. FINAL REMARKS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
51. The Group believes that after 3 years as members of the Council of Europe, Armenia and Azerbaijan have reached a turning point. Substantial progress was made after their accession, particularly during the first year, but since the elections, the democratic reform process has been flagging badly. The elections are now over and important progress was made in Armenia during the first 6 months following the last election. The Group hopes that, thanks to the impetus provided by the new President, progress will soon be made in Azerbaijan. In both countries further reforms and courageous decisions will be required before a modern democracy, guaranteeing a genuine separation of powers and based on the rule of law and respect for human rights, can be established. The Group expects that these steps will be rapidly taken by the highest authorities of both countries.
52. Meanwhile, the Group recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
I. with regard to Armenia:
· ask the authorities to pursue democratic reforms and continue to make significant progress towards fully honouring all the commitments entered into three years ago on Armenia's accession to the Council of Europe;
· ask the authorities to implement the measures recommended in Resolution 1361 (2004) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe within the time-limits provided for and to submit a new roadmap (work programme and schedule for the implementation of the recommended measures) before the end of February 2004;
· underline the importance of adopting the constitutional reform within the time-limits agreed on with the Venice Commission, after consulting the political forces and conducting a genuine campaign to inform citizens, as well as the need to reform the electoral code and electoral practices in accordance with the recommendations of the International Election Observation Mission;
II. with regard to Azerbaijan
· ask the authorities to pursue democratic reforms and continue to make significant progress towards fully honouring all the commitments entered into three years ago on Azerbaijan's accession to the Council of Europe;
· ask the authorities to implement the measures recommended in Resolutions 1358 and 1359 (2004) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe within the time-limits provided for and to submit a roadmap (work programme and schedule for the implementation of the recommended measures) before the end of February 2004;
· underline the need to settle the problem of political prisoners, reform the electoral code and electoral practices in accordance with the recommendations of the International Election Observation Mission and to take effective steps to promote judicial reform, the independence of the judiciary and the media and local democracy;
III. ask both Armenia and Azerbaijan
· to honour their joint undertaking to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, made on accession to the Council of Europe in conformity with the commitments undertaken both with the Committee of Ministers2 and with the Parliamentary Assembly. In this context reference is made to Opinions 221 (2000) and 222 (2000) and also to Resolutions 1358 and 1361 (2004) of the Parliamentary Assembly.
IV. instruct GT-SUIVI-AGO
· to continue its monitoring activities on the honouring of Armenia's and Azerbaijan's commitments and present a new progress report in autumn 2004;
V. to forward this report to the Parliamentary Assembly as part of dialogue between the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly on monitoring the honouring of commitments.
Distribution of Work within the GT-SUIVI.AGO
No. Theme Rapporteurs
I. Elections and Electoral law Greece
II. Functioning of democratic institutions Russian Federation
(political parties, relations between the Legislature, Austria
and Executive, Ombudsman, local democracy)
III. Constitutional reform, legislation and ratification Georgia
of the legal instruments of the Council of Europe Latvia
IV. Functioning of the judicial system, Switzerland
penitentiary system and conditions of detention Germany
V. Freedom of the media, freedom of NGOs Sweden
and freedom of religion Italy
VI. Political Prisoners The Netherlands
VII. Nagorno Karabakh France
PROGRAMME OF THE WORKING VISIT
OF A DELEGATION OF THE
GT-SUIVI.AGO MONITORING GROUP TO
AZERBAIJAN and ARMENIA
(1-7 February 2004)
Sunday, 1 February
13:30 Flight from Frankfurt to Baku
20:55 Arrival at Bina Airport, Baku
22:00 Arrival at hotel
Monday, 2 February
Morning Meetings with NGOs, political parties and ambassadors, arranged by the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe
(Royal Netherlands Embassy, 7th floor, ISR Plaza):
09:00 Meeting with Azerbaijan Federation of Human Rights
09:35 Meeting with Monitoring Group of Human Rights Organisations
10:15 Meeting with Political Parties
11:30 Meeting with Ambassadors of Council of Europe member countries
15:00 Meeting with HE Mr V Guliyev, Minister for Foreign Affairs
16:00 Meeting with HE Mr F Mammadov, Minister of Justice
19:00 Dinner hosted by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Tuesday, 3 February
10:00 Meeting with the members of the Parliamentary Delegation of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the PACE
11:00 Meeting with HE Mr M Alasgarov, Chairman of the Milli Majlis
15:00 Meeting with HE Mr R Mehdiyev, Head of the Executive Office of the President of the Republic and Heads of the relevant Divisions of the Executive Office:
17.00 Meeting with HE Mr Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan
19:00 Dinner hosted by the Milli Majlis
Wednesday, 4 February
Morning Visits to Gobustan prison and Colony No. 9
18:30 Departure for station
Thursday, 5 February
11:55 Arrival at “Zvartnots” International Airport, Yerevan
12:20 Departure for the hotel “Yerevan”
13:10 Departure for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
13:20-14:00 Meeting with H. E. Mr. Tatoul Markarian, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
14.05-14.55 Meeting with H. E. Mr. V. Oskanian, Minister of Foreign Affairs
16:35 Departure for the National Assembly
16:45-17:25 Meeting with the representatives of the political parties represented in the National Assembly
17:30-18:10 Meeting with the members of the Armenian delegation to the PACE
18:15-18:45 Meeting with Mr. Artur Baghdasarian, Chairman of the National Assembly
18:50 Departure for the hotel, rest
19:50 Departure for the restaurant “Belagio”
20:00 Dinner hosted by Mr. Tigran Torossian, Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly
… Departure for the hotel
Friday, 6 February
08:15 Departure for Tsakhkadzor
09:15-10:15 Meeting with H. E. Mr. Robert Kocharian, President of the Republic of Armenia
11:40 Departure for Yerevan
12:30 Meeting with the representatives of NGOs organised by
Ms. N. Voutova, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the CoE in Yerevan (Hotel “Yerevan”)
13:30 Lunch with the Ambassadors of the CoE member states accredited in Armenia hosted by Mr. Marco Clemente, Ambassador of Italy in Armenia
15:15 Departure for the Government House
15:35-16:15 Meeting with Mr. Hovik Abrahamian, Minister of for Regional Administration and Coordinating the Operation of Infrastructures
16.20 Departure for the National Assembly
16.30-17.10 Meeting with opposition party “National Unity” represented in Parliament
17:10 Departure for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
17:20-17:50 Press conference
17:50 Departure for hotel
19:50 Departure for Sergey Parajanov's museum
20:00 Official dinner hosted by H. E. Mr. Vartan Oskanian, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Departure for the hotel
Saturday, 7 February
05:35 Departure for “Zvartnots” International Airport, Yerevan
06:55 Flight to Frankfurt
Developments in the implementation of convention- and legislation-related commitments
(from 01.08.2003 to 10.02.2004)
Ratification of Conventions
1. Protocol n° 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights (29.09.2003),
2. European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation and its two protocols (31.10.2003),
3. Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime (24.11.2003),
4. Revised European Social Charter (22.01.2004).
Adoption of laws
1. Penal Code adopted on 18.04.2003 and entered into force on 01.08.2003,
2. Law on the Ombudsman (21.10.2003),
3. Law on alternative service (21.12.2003),
4. Law on mass media (12.12.2003),
5. Law amending the law on radio and television broadcasting (3.12.2003).
1. Accession to GRECO on 20 January 2004, and adoption of the National Anti-corruption Strategy and of an action plan for its implementation,
2. Repeal of Order 551A of the Ministry for the Interior of Armenia, on 13 January 2004.
Developments in the implementation of convention- and legislation-related commitments
(from July 2003 to date)
Ratification of conventions
- The European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities and Authorities and its additional Protocols (signed 05/01/04, ratified 09/01/04)
- The European Social Charter (signed 18/10/01, ratified 06/01/04)
- The Criminal law Convention on Corruption (signed 21/05/03, ratified 30/12/03)
- The Civil Law Convention on Corruption (signed 21/05/03, ratified 30/12/03)
- The European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism (ratified 09/12/03)
- The Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (ratified 30/12/03)
- The Civil Law Convention on Corruption (ratified 30/12/03)
- The Additional Protocol to the Anti-Doping Convention (ratified 09/12/03)
Adoption of Laws
- Law on Combating Corruption (adopted January 2004)
- Law on Public Television and Radio Broadcasting (adopted January 2004)
- Law on State Registration and State Register of Legal Persons (adopted December 2003)
- Law on the Constitutional Court (adopted December 2003)