Missing persons in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia from the conflicts over the Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions
Reply to Recommendation
| Doc. 11920
| 18 May 2009
- Committee of Ministers
at the 1056th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (6 May 2009)
- Reply to Recommendation
- : Recommendation 1797
1. The Committee of
Ministers fully agrees with the Parliamentary Assembly about the
suffering which the failure to solve the issue of missing persons
in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia causes for the families concerned
and the population of these countries in general. It can indeed
fuel tension and impede the settlement of the conflicts in the region.
2. The Committee of Ministers also recognises the urgency of
the problem. As the Assembly indicates, the longer it takes to implement
efficient solutions, the less likely it will be for the missing
persons to be identified and returned to their families.
3. Various initiatives have been taken to attempt to solve the
problem, both by the authorities and NGOs in the countries in the
region and also by international organisations, in particular the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The Committee of
Ministers calls on the authorities of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia
to continue the efforts undertaken and, in particular, to co-operate
fully with the ICRC.
4. It is in the light of the above initiatives that the appropriateness
of possible supporting action by the Council of Europe should be
assessed. It is indeed essential to co-ordinate the efforts in order
to avoid duplication and have the best chances of success.
5. With regard to the recommendations made to it, the Committee
of Ministers wishes to reply as follows to the Assembly:
6. The Committee of Ministers recalls the obligation of states
to observe and respect and ensure respect for the rules of international
humanitarian law, inter alia,
as set out in the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and, where
applicable, in the Additional Protocols thereto of 1977.
7. As underlined in the 17th general report by the European Committee
for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
or Punishment (CPT), the CPT’s mandate extends to all forms of deprivation of
liberty by a public authority that occur within the jurisdiction
of a State Party to the Convention for the Prevention of Torture,
irrespective of whether the deprivation of liberty is lawful or
not and regardless of the identity of the public authority involved.
In this respect, the Committee of Ministers believes that the authorities of
the respective countries will further facilitate possible action
by the CPT which could be useful upon any concrete and credible
information which it receives about possible unlawful detentions
and will take all appropriate measures to solve the problem of missing
8. With regard to the initiatives which the Assembly recommends
that the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) be asked to
take, the Committee of Ministers notes that conferences on the issue
of missing persons have already been held in the past. It cannot
be said with certainty that a fresh conference would offer significant
added value for solving the problem. With regard to the proposal
that a resolution or guidelines be drawn up on the steps to be taken
by member states to protect the rights of missing persons and members
of their families during and after conflicts, the Committee of Ministers
will consult the CDDH as to whether such action is appropriate.
It will keep the Assembly duly informed of the outcome.
9. At its 1048th meeting held on 11-12 February 2009, the Committee
invited the Secretary General to report on a regular basis on the
human rights situation in the areas affected by the conflict in
Georgia, in close co-operation with the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The decision also requests the Secretary General to provide as soon
as possible an update of the report on the initiatives carried out,
under way or planned within the Council of Europe to address the
consequences of the conflict, including information on the findings
of the various monitoring mechanisms of the Council of Europe. The
Committee will thus provide the Assembly with the updated situation, inter alia, concerning the missing