Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe ( PACE ) is the parliamentary arm of the Council of Europe , a 47-nation international organization dedicated to upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The Council of Europe is an older and wider group of nations than the 28-member European Union – it includes, for example, Russia and Turkey among its member states – and oversees the European Court of Human Rights .

The Assembly is made up of 324 parliamentarians from the national parliaments of the Council of Europe’s member states, and meets regularly for a year-long plenary sessions in Strasbourg . It is one of the two statutory bodies of the Council of Europe, along with the Committee of Ministers , with which it holds an ongoing dialogue. However, it is the Assembly which is usually considered as the „motor“ of the organization, holding governments to account for human rights issues,

The Assembly held its first session in Strasbourg on August 10, 1949, making it one of the oldest international assemblies in Europe. Among its main achievements are:

  • ending the death penalty in Europe
  • making possible, and shaping, the European Convention on Human Rights
  • high-profile reports exposing violations of human rights in the Council of Europe member states
  • assisting train Soviet countries to embrace democracy after 1989
  • inspiring and helping to shape many progressive new national laws
  • helping member states to overcome conflict or reach consensus on divisive political or social issues


Unlike the European Parliament (an institution of the European Union ), the Assembly does not-have the power to create binding laws. However, it speaks on behalf of 820 million Europeans and has the power to:
  • action by the 47 Council of Europe governments, who – acting through the organization’s executive body
  • probe human rights violations in any of the member states
  • Question Prime Ministers and Heads of State on any subject
  • send parliamentarians to observe elections and mediate over crises
  • The Council of Europe, through its power of veto
  • inspire, propose and help to shape new national laws
  • request legal evaluations of the statutes and constitutions of member states
  • sanction a member state by recommending its exclusion or suspension

Of the European Court of Human Rights , the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights and its Secretary General , and the members of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture .

In general the Assembly meets the times in Strasbourg at the Palace of Europe for a week-long plenary sessions. The standing committees of the Assembly meet in their respective fields of expertise.

The Assembly sets its own agenda, but its debates and reports are primarily focused on defending human rights , promoting democracy , protecting minorities and upholding the rule of law .

Election of Judges to the European Court of Human Rights

Judges of the European Court of Human Rights are elected by the European Convention on Human Rights . A 20-member committee – meeting in camera – interview all candidates for judging and voting. [1] . Judges are elected for a period of nine years and may not be re-elected. The terms of office of judges expire when they reach the age of 70 but they must stay in post until replaced. A judge may not be dismissed from the office of the other judge by a majority of two-thirds that the judge has fulfilled the required conditions. [2]

Although the European Convention does not require a resolution, it is necessary to make a number of recommendations. each sex „unless there are exceptional circumstances. [3] As a result, one of the three leading judges of the world , making the Court a leader among international courts on gender balance.


The Assembly has a total of 648 members – 324 senior members and 324 substitutes [4] – who are appointed or elected by the parliaments of each member state . Delegations must reflect the balance in the national parliament While not full members, the parliaments of Kyrgyzstan , Jordan , Morocco and Palestine hold „Partner for Democracy“ status with the Assembly, and there are also observers from the Canadian , Israeli and MexicanParliaments. The population of each country is determined by the number of votes. This is in contrast to the Committee of Ministers, the Council of Europe’s executive body, where each country has one vote.

Some notable train members of PACE include:

  • form Sir Winston Churchill , train German Chancellor Helmut Kohl , train Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi , train Turkish President Abdullah Gül , train Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides , train Finnish President Tarja Halonen , train Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili , Albanian President Sali Berisha , and many others. [5]
  • Dick Marty ( Switzerland ), appointed in late 2005 as rapporteur to investigate the CIA extraordinary renditions scandal and organ theft in Kosovo by the Kosovo Liberation Army from the Kosovo war , in 1998-2001 [6]
  • Marcello Dell’Utri ( Italy ), convicted for complicity in conspiracy with the Mafia ( Italian : concorso in associazione mafiosa ), a crime for which he was found guilty on appeal and sentenced to 7 years in 2010. [7]

Composition by parliamentary delegation

Parliament seats Accession date
 albania 4 1995
 andorra 2 1994
 armenia 4 2001
 austria 6 1956
 azerbaijan 6 2001
 belgium 7 1949
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 5 2002
 bulgaria 6 1992
 croatia 5 1996
 cyprus 3 1961 – 1964, 1984
 Czech Republic 7 1991
 denmark 5 1949
 estonia 3 1993
 finland 5 1989
 la France 18 1949
 georgia 5 1999
 germany 18 1951
 Greece 7 1949
 hungary 7 1990
 iceland 3 1959
 Ireland 4 1949
 italy 18 1949
 latvia 3 1995
 liechtenstein 2 1978
 lithuania 4 1993
 luxembourg 3 1949
 Macedonia 3 1995
 malta 3 1965
 moldova 5 1995
 Monaco 2 2004
 Montenegro 3 2007 [8]
 Netherlands 7 1949
 norway 5 1949
 poland 12 1991
 Portugal 7 1976
 romania 10 1993
 russia 18 [9] 1996
 San Marino 2 1988
 serbia 7 2003
 Slovakia 5 1993 [10]
 Slovenia 3 1993
 spain 12 1977
 Sweden 6 1949
 switzerland 6 1963
 turkey 18 1949
 Ukraine 12 1995
 United Kingdom 18 1949

The special guest status of the National Assembly of Belarus was suspended on 13 January 1997.

Parliaments with Partner for Democracy status

Parliaments with Partner for Democracy The status of some of the basic values ​​of the Council of Europe. In return, they are able to send delegations to take part in the work of the Assembly and its committees, but without the right to vote.

Parliament seats Dated
 Morocco 6 2011
 Palestine 3 2011 [11]
 kyrgyzstan 3 2014 [12]
 jordan 3 2016 [13]

Parliaments with observer status

Parliament seats Dated
 Canada 6 1996 [14]
 Israel 3  ?
 mexico 6 1999

Parliamentarians with observer status

Parliamentarians seats Dated
Turkish Cypriot Community 2 2004 [15] [16] [17] [18]

Composition by political group

The Assembly has six political groups. [19]

Group Chairman Members
Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group Michele Nicoletti 200
European People’s Party 191
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Rik Daems 77
European Conservatives Group Ian Liddell-Grainger 61
Unified European Left Group Tiny Kox 37
Free Democrats Group Adele Gambaro 20


The official languages ​​of the Council of Europe are English and French , but the Assembly also uses German , Italian , Russian and Turkish as working languages. [20]


The Presidents of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have been:

period name Country Party
1949 Édouard Herriot (interim)  la France Radical Party
1949-1951 Paul-Henri Spaak  belgium Socialist Party
1952-1954 François de Menthon  la France Popular Republican Movement
1954-1956 Guy Mollet  la France Socialist Party
1956-1959 Fernand Dehousse  belgium Socialist Party
1959 John Edwards  United Kingdom Labor Party
1960-1963 Per Federspiel  denmark Venstre
1963-1966 Pierre Pflimlin  la France Popular Republican Movement
1966-1969 Geoffrey de Freitas  United Kingdom Labor Party
1969-1972 Olivier Reverdin switzerland Liberal Party
1972-1975 Giuseppe Vedovato  italy Christian Democracy
1975-1978 Karl Czernetz  austria Social Democratic Party
1978-1981 Hans de Koster  Netherlands People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy
1981-1982 José María de Areilza  spain Union of the Democratic Center
1983-1986 Karl Ahrens  germany Social Democratic Party
1986-1989 Louis Jung  la France Center of Social Democrats
1989-1992 Anders Björck  Sweden Moderate Party
1992 Geoffrey Finsberg  United Kingdom Conservative Party
1992-1995 Miguel Ángel Martínez Martínez  spain Socialist Workers‘ Party
1996-1999 Leni Fischer  germany Christian Democratic Union
1999-2002 Russell Johnston  United Kingdom Liberal Democrats
2002-2004 Peter Schieder  austria Social Democratic Party
2005-2008 René van der Linden  Netherlands Christian Democratic Appeal
2008-2010 Lluís Maria de Puig  spain Socialist Workers‘ Party
2010-2012 Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu  turkey Justice and Development Party
2012-2014 Jean-Claude Mignon  la France Union for a Popular Movement
2014-2016 Anne Brasseur  luxembourg Democratic Party
2016-2017 Pedro Agramunt  spain People’s Party
2017- Stella Kyriakides  cyprus Democratic Rally

The Assembly elected Wojciech Sawicki ( Poland )  [21]  as its Secretary General in 2010 for a five-year term of office which began in February 2011. In 2015 he was re-elected for a second-year term, which began in February 2016.


The European Convention on Human Rights

At its very first meeting, in the summer of 1949, the Parliamentary Assembly adopted the essential blueprint of what has become the European Convention on Human Rights . The Council of Europe’s Ministerial Body , with some changes, was adopted by the Council of Europe in 1953. Today, more than sixty years later, the European Court of Human Rights- shape and form during the post-war debates – is considered as a global standard-bearer for justice, protecting the rights of citizens in the European Union and beyond, and paving the way for the gradual convergence of human rights practice across the continent. The Assembly continues to elect the judges of the Court.

Exposing torture in secret CIA prisons in Europe: the „Marty reports“

In two overs for the Assembly in 2006 and 2007, Swiss Senator and train Prosecutor Marty Revealed convincing evidence [1] That terror suspects being white Were transported to or held-and tortured in CIA-run „secret prisons“ on European soil. The evidence in his first report [2] in 2006 – gathered with the help of investigative journalists and plane-spotters among others – suggested that a number of Council of Europe members states had permitted CIA „rendition flights“ across their airspace, enabling the secret transfer of terror suspects without any legal rights. In a second report [3]In 2007, Marty showed how two member states – Poland and Romania – had been secreted in allowing „secret prisons“ to be established on their territory, where torture took place. His main conclusions – more confirmed in a series of rulings by the European Court of Human Rights , a more comprehensive US Senate report – threw the first real light on a dark chapter in US and European history in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, kicked off a series of national probes, and


Sanctions against the Russian delegation

In April 2014, after the Russian parliament’s backing for the occupation of Crimea and Russian military intervention in Ukraine , the Assembly decided to suspend the Russian delegation to the rights of members of the Assembly in election observation missions. However, the Russian delegation remains members of the Assembly. The sanctions applied throughout the remainder of the 2014 session and was renewed for a full year in January 2015, lapsing in January 2016.

In response, the Russian parliamentary delegation suspended its co-operation with PACE in June 2014, and in January 2016 – despite the lapsing of the sanctions – the Russian parliament decided not to submit its delegation credentials for ratification, effectively leaving its empty seats. It was so again in January 2017, leaving empty seats in the Assembly for a further year.

The sanctions applied only to Russian parliamentarians in PACE, the Council of Europe ’s parliamentary body. Russia continues to be a full member of the Council of Europe, and retains full rights in the organization’s other bodies, including its statutory executive body, the Committee of Ministers .  [22]

Alleged corruption

In 2013, the  New York Times  reported that „some council members, notably Central Asian states and Russia, have tried to influence the organization’s parliamentary assembly of lavish gifts and trips“.  [23]  According to the report, this member states also has the right to criticize their human rights records.  [24]  German news magazine  Der Spiegel  had previously revealed details about the strategies of Azerbaijan’s government to influence the voting behavior of members of the Parliamentary Assembly.  [25]

In January 2017, following a series of critical reports by the European Stability Initiative (ESI) NGO, and concerning the Assembly of the Assembly, independent, external investigation body. In May 2017, Sir Nicholas Bratza , President of the European Court of Human Rights ; Jean-Louis Bruguière , a French trained anti-terrorist judge and investigator; and Elisabet Fura, to form the Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsman and Judge on the Strasbourg Court.  [26] The investigation body, which has appealed for anyone with information to its mandate to come forward , was originally due to report the end of 2017, but this deadline has been extended to 15 April 2018.

Cultural divisions

Although the Council of Europe is a human rights watchdog and a guardian against discrimination, it is widely regarded as being part of a larger society. .  [27]  In 2007, this became apparent when the Parliamentary Assembly was debated by Liberal Democrat Anne Brasseur on the rise of Christian creationism , bolstered by right-wing and populist parties in Eastern Europe.  [27]

See also

  • Council of Europe
  • Committee of Ministers
  • European Human Rights Prize


  1. Jump up^  PACE creates a special committee for the election of judges to the European Court of Human Rights, 24/06/2014.
  2. Jump up^  „European Court on Human Rights“ (PDF) .  .  External link in( help ) 
  3. Jump up^  Adelaide Remiche (August 12, 2012),Election of the new Belgian Judge to the ECtHR: An all-male short list Demonstrates questionable commitment to gender equalityOxford Human Rights Hub,University of Oxford.
  4. Jump up^  This number is fixed by article 26.
  5. Jump up^  „Members since 1949“ .
  6. Jump up^  „Council of Europe“ .  . Retrieved 10 June 2015 .
  7. Jump up^  „Rai News: the ultimate notizie in tempo reale – news, attualità e aggiornamenti“ .  .
  8. Jump up^ already  part of Serbia and Montenegro: member since 2003
  9. Jump up^  „PACE: News“ .  .
  10. Jump up^  Previously part of Czechoslovakia, member since 1991
  11. Jump up^
  12. Jump up^  „PACE: News“ .  . Retrieved 10 June 2015 .
  13. Jump up^  „PACE grants Jordan’s Parliament Partner for Democracy Status“ .  . Retrieved 1 February 2016 .
  14. Jump up^  „Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly“ .  . Archived fromthe original on 28 February 2014 . Retrieved 10 June 2015 .
  15. Jump up^  „Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce“ .  . Retrieved 10 June2015 .
  16. Jump up^  „Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly“ .  . Retrieved 10 June 2015 .
  17. Jump up^  „Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly“ .  . Archived fromthe original on 7 March 2014 . Retrieved 10 June 2015 .
  18. Jump up^  James Ker-LindsayThe Foreign Policy of Counter Secession: Preventing the Recognition of Contested States, p.149: „… despite strong opposition from the Cypriot government, The Turkish Cypriot community was awarded status in the PACE“
  19. Jump up^  „Political groups“ .
  20. Jump up^  „Turkey’s presence at the Council of Europe increased“ .  DailySabah  . May 24, 2015.
  21. Jump up^  „Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly“ .  . Archived fromthe original on 17 April 2014 . Retrieved 10 June 2015 .
  22. Jump up^  „Russia suspended from Council of Europe body“ . Politico Europe. April 10, 2014.
  23. Jump up^  Judy Dempsey (February 4, 2013),Corruption Undermining Democracy in Europe  New York Times  .
  24. Jump up^  Judy Dempsey (April 27, 2012),Where a Glitzy Pop Contest Takes Priority Over International Herald Tribune .
  25. Jump up^  Ralf Neukirch (January 4, 2012),A Dictator’s Dream: Azerbaijan Seeks to Burnish Image Ahead of Eurovision Der Spiegel.
  26. Jump up^  „Allegations of corruption within PACE: appointment of the members of the external investigation body“ .  PACE: News  . Council of Europe. May 30, 2017 . Retrieved September 6, 2017 .
  27. ^ Jump up to: b  Stephen Castle (October 4, 2007), European lawmakers condemn efforts to teach creationism  International Herald Tribune  .