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The term of office of co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee

Report | Doc. 12143 | 08 February 2010

Committee
Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee)
Rapporteur :
Mr Pedro AGRAMUNT, Spain, EPP/CD
Thesaurus

Summary

The present report puts a limitation on the duration of the term of office of the rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee engaged in the monitoring procedure and post-monitoring dialogue, and codifies the criteria for the appointment of committee rapporteurs.

A Draft resolution

1 The monitoring procedure of the Parliamentary Assembly is a powerful tool to verify that Council of Europe member states fulfil their obligations assumed under the terms of the Statute of the Council of Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights and all other Council of Europe conventions to which they are parties, as well as honour the specific commitment they may have entered into, upon accession. The strength of this procedure lies in the constant and comprehensive monitoring of the situation in the countries concerned by independent and impartial co-rapporteurs, appointed in accordance with objective and verifiable criteria.
2 The Assembly considers that, in order to increase the effectiveness of the monitoring procedure, the co-rapporteurs of the monitoring committee should be regularly renewed. This will ensure that a “fresh look” is given to the situation in a given country and that good and bad practices and experiences learnt in countries under monitoring are shared. Overall, this will contribute to developing a harmonised approach to different countries covered by the Assembly monitoring procedure. At the same time, the Assembly considers it necessary to incorporate the formal criteria used by the Monitoring Committee in the appointment of co-rapporteurs into Resolution 1115 (1997) on the setting up of the Monitoring Committee.
3 The Assembly believes that post-monitoring dialogue is an essential element of the Assembly’s monitoring procedure, which helps stimulate progress towards better democracy and stronger respect of human rights and the rule of law in the member states that have fulfilled the specific commitments entered into upon accession. In order to harmonise the approach to monitoring and post-monitoring, the Assembly considers that rapporteurs engaged in post-monitoring dialogue should be appointed according to the same rules and criteria as the co-rapporteurs engaged in the monitoring procedure.
4 The Assembly considers that, in order to ensure the smooth running of the procedure, the Monitoring Committee should, in as much as possible, aim at avoiding to replace at the same time both co-rapporteurs engaged in the monitoring procedure with respect to a given state. However, should this happen, in order to ensure the continuity of the monitoring process, the committee should be allowed to extend, where appropriate and feasible, the term of office of one of the co-rapporteurs by a maximum of six months, in order to give the possibility to the new co-rapporteur to get acquainted with the file and smoothly take over the duties.
5 In the light of the above considerations, the Assembly decides to modify Resolution 1115 (1997) and the Specific terms of reference of the Monitoring Committee, appended thereto, as follows:
5.1 In Resolution 1115 (1997), paragraph 11 shall be modified as follows:
“11.1. The Monitoring Committee shall appoint two of its members co-rapporteurs in respect of each member state for which a monitoring procedure is initiated. The co-rapporteurs shall be appointed on the basis of the following criteria:
  • no co-rapporteur shall deal with more than one state at the same time;
  • no co-rapporteur shall belong to a neighbouring state or to a state with a special relationship with the state being monitored;
  • the two co-rapporteurs shall come from different countries and belong to different political groups.
11.2. In respect of each member state under monitoring, the co-rapporteurs shall be appointed for a five-year term. No member of the committee may be re-appointed co-rapporteur for a given state under the monitoring procedure within five years of the end of his or her previous term of office for the same state. 11.3. As far as is possible, the committee should avoid replacing at the same time both co-rapporteurs engaged in a monitoring procedure with respect to a given state.11.4. In the interest of the smooth running of the monitoring procedure, the committee may decide to extend, where appropriate and feasible, the term of office of one of the co-rapporteurs by a maximum of six months, in particular, in order to enable the latter to present a report which has already been included in the agenda and order of business of an Assembly part session.”;
5.2 In Resolution 1115 (1997), a new paragraph 12 shall be introduced as follows:
“12.1. The Monitoring Committee shall appoint one of its members rapporteur on a member state engaged in the post-monitoring dialogue. A rapporteur on post-monitoring dialogue shall be appointed according to the same criteria as those established by the present Resolution and the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly for the appointment of co-rapporteurs engaged in the monitoring procedure.12.2. The term of office of the rapporteur for post-monitoring dialogue shall be five years. No member who was previously engaged in the monitoring procedure with respect to a given state may be appointed rapporteur on the post-monitoring dialogue with the same state. 12.3. No member of the committee may be re-appointed rapporteur for a given state engaged in post-monitoring dialogue within five years of the end of his or her previous term of office for dialogue with the same state.12.4. In the interest of the smooth running of the post-monitoring dialogue, the committee may decide to extend, where appropriate and feasible, the term of office of the rapporteur by a maximum of six months, in order to enable the latter to present a report which has already been included in the agenda and order of business of an Assembly part session.”;
5.3 In the Specific terms of reference of the Monitoring Committee, adopted by Resolution 1431 (2005), in the second sentence of paragraph 4, the words “the Chairperson, or if appropriate, a Vice-Chairperson of the Monitoring Committee” shall be replaced with the words “the rapporteur”;
5.4 In the Specific terms of reference of the Monitoring Committee, appended to Resolution 1115 (1997) modified, paragraph 9 shall be modified as follows:
“When reporting to the Assembly on post-monitoring dialogue carried out with a member state upon decision of the Assembly, the Monitoring Committee shall prepare a report which includes a draft resolution stating whether the post-monitoring dialogue with this state should be concluded. The Assembly shall decide on this matter by a majority of votes cast.”
6 In order to give time to the political groups of the Assembly to take the above amendments fully into account in the process of appointing candidates for membership in the Monitoring Committee, the Assembly decides that the amendments to Resolution 1115 (1997) shall enter into force at the opening of the 2010 June part-session (21-25 June 2010).
6.1 Given the need to avoid replacing both co-rapporteurs at the same time, if the terms of office of both co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee with respect to a country under the monitoring procedure come to an end at the same time, the committee shall be allowed to proceed first with the replacement of the co-rapporteur whose term of office has been the longest. In this case, the term of office of the second co-rapporteur may be extended, where appropriate and feasible, by a maximum of six months.
6.2 As a transitional measure, the acting co-rapporteurs whose term of office expires on the day of the entry into force of the present amendments to Resolution 1115 (1997) shall be allowed to present their reports to the Assembly, in case the relevant debates have been included in the agenda and order of business of the Assembly 2010 June and September part-sessions.
6.3 For the purposes of the present resolution, the term of office of co-rapporteurs shall count from the day of appointment, even if this appointment took place before the date of the opening of the 2010 June part session.

B Explanatory memorandum by Mr Agramunt, rapporteur

1 Foreword

1 The current report originates from the motion tabled by Mr Biberaj and others concerning the term of office of co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee.Note In that motion, the authors noted that, contrary to the general rule which, in most cases, limits the term of the mandate of committee rapporteurs to two years (see Rule 25.3. of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly), the term of office of the co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee is not limited in time. The authors furthermore stressed that “while some measure of continuity in the work of the co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee is desirable, there is a danger of a lack of independence and impartiality if such a term of office extends for too long”. Finally, the authors of the motion suggest that the Assembly should invite the Monitoring Committee to look into limiting the term of office of its country co-rapporteurs.
2 At its meeting of 9 January 2009, the Bureau of the Assembly decided to refer this motion to the Monitoring Committee for report, and to the Committee on Rules of Procedure for opinion. Subsequently, on 1 October 2009, the Monitoring Committee appointed me as rapporteur for this issue. On 18 November 2009, I presented to the committee an outline of the draft report (see document AS/Mon (2009) 35) which served as a basis for drafting the present report.
3 Given that the motion highlights concerns relating to the lack of independence and impartiality of the co-rapporteurs, I felt obliged to address in the present report the issue of the criteria governing the procedure of appointment of the co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee, in addition to the issue of the duration of their term of office. I have to note that my report is by no means intended to replace the work of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs which, at the request of the Bureau, is examining the possibility of incorporating the Code of Conduct for the co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee into the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly. I shall limit myself in this report to examining only the criteria for appointment of the co-rapporteurs, leaving it to the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs to deal with the rules governing the behaviour of rapporteurs.
4 Moreover, after the recent adoption by the Standing Committee of Resolution 1698 (2009) introducing amendments to Resolution 1115 (1997) concerning post-monitoring dialogue, I shall address in this report the consequences of these changes on the procedure of appointment of rapporteurs on post-monitoring dialogue.
5 Consequently, the present report is structured in three sections: firstly, I will recall the current rules governing the appointment of the co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee dealing with monitoring files as well as with post-monitoring dialogue; secondly, I will highlight the advantages of limiting the term of office of the co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee to a particular duration; thirdly, I will formulate a number of concrete proposals for amending Resolution 1115 (2007) on the setting up of the Monitoring Committee (as modified by Resolution 1431 (2005), Resolution 1515 (2006) and Resolution 1698 (2009)).

2 Rules governing the appointment of co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee and current practice

2.1 Rules contained in Resolution 1115 (1997)

6 In accordance with Resolution 1115 (1997) (as modified by Resolution 1431 (2005), Resolution 1515 (2006) and Resolution 1698 (2009)), the Monitoring Committee has to report at least once every two years on the countries covered by the specific monitoring procedure and at least once every four years on the countries engaged in the post-monitoring dialogue (paragraph 13).
7 In respect of each country under a specific monitoring procedure, two co-rapporteurs are appointed by the committee; political and regional balance should be respected in the appointment process (paragraph 9). The committee co-rapporteurs shall remain members of the committee until the Assembly takes decision on the relevant report, provided that they are still members of the Assembly (paragraph 11).

2.2 Rule on transparency and declaration of interest of members

8 Rule 12 of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly on transparency and declaration of interests of members applies to the co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee as well as to the chair and vice-chairs of the committee engaged in the preparation of the reports on post-monitoring dialogue. According to this rule, candidates for rapporteurships (as well as, mutatis mutandis, the chair and the vice-chairs of the committee) are obliged to make an oral declaration of any professional, personal, financial or economic interests that might be considered relevant or conflicting with the subject of the report, or with the country concerned by the report at the time of appointment in committee. The declaration is recorded in the minutes of the committee meeting.

2.3 Other criteria governing the appointment of co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee

9 These are contained in the Code of Conduct for the co-rapporteurs on the honouring of obligations and commitments by member states of the Council of Europe (referred hereinafter as “the Code of Conduct”), contained in Appendix H to the Progress Report of the Monitoring Committee for 2001.Note The Code of Conduct was approved by the Monitoring Committee on 6 September 2001 and, since then, has been used by the committee as a set of rules and guidelines governing the appointment of co-rapporteurs.
10 According to the Code of Conduct, the co-rapporteurs cannot deal with more than one state at a time (i.e. prohibition on the combination of mandates in the Monitoring Committee). They should not belong to a neighbouring state, or to one with a special relationship with the state being monitored (i.e. “the proximity or special interest criterion”). The two co-rapporteurs should come from different countries and belong to different political groups (i.e. “political and geographic balance” criterion).
11 Three additional criteria stemming from the monitoring practice are established by the Code of Conduct, namely, the “linguistic criterion” (i.e. preferably, both country co-rapporteurs should be able to communicate in the same language), the “availability criterion” (broadly, meaning that the co-rapporteurs should commit themselves to become fully involved in the monitoring procedure) and the “prior knowledge criterion” (i.e. preferably, the candidates for rapporteurship should have a knowledge of the state concerned from earlier visits to the country concerned or participation in election observations). These three additional criteria provide in fact some additional guidelines which the committee has to follow in the practice of appointment of co-rapporteurs. In general, these guidelines have been adhered to in practice, albeit with some exceptions.

2.4 Practice of the committee with respect to the duration of the term of office of the co-rapporteurs

12 Although formal criteria referred to under sub-sections i to iii have always been strictly adhered to by the committee in the appointment of co-rapporteurs, there has been no uniform practice developed with respect to the duration of the terms of office of the committee co-rapporteurs.
13 Statistics show that, on average, co-rapporteurs work between three and five years on the country under monitoring. However, there are cases where co-rapporteurs have been involved in the monitoring procedure with respect to a particular state for considerably longer periods (for example ten or twelve years).

3 Arguments in favour of limiting the duration of the term of office of the co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee

14 It is widely recognised that a long-standing co-rapporteur knows the country and its key reform processes well. Moreover, he or she can anticipate political developments and suggest appropriate action to the committee in a timely fashion. Furthermore, long-standing co-rapporteurs develop close working relations with the key domestic stakeholders. They are trusted by domestic politicians and their messages are listened to, which improves the impact of the Assembly’s monitoring procedure. At the same time, long-standing co-rapporteurs are well known by domestic and international media, which improves the visibility of the Assembly’s monitoring procedure.
15 That said, I believe that regular renewal of the co-rapporteurs, provided it is does not take place at very short intervals, can combine the advantages of continuity and, at the same time, ensure that a “fresh look” is given to the situation in a given country. In fact, for the monitoring procedure to be truly effective, it is essential to ensure that good practices and experiences learnt in countries under monitoring are shared and that the monitoring approaches to different countries are harmonised. This will enable the committee to develop a coherent monitoring practice and ensure that accusations of “double standards” are avoided.
16 Involving progressively more and more members of the Monitoring Committee in rapporteurship tasks will increase the interest and commitment of members, the visibility and impact of the monitoring process, and the trust of domestic and international stakeholders in the impartiality of the Assembly’s monitoring procedure.
17 Of course, the limitation on the duration of the mandate of the committee co-rapporteurs will create the need to replace them more frequently. The members of the committee should therefore actively participate in the committee’s work by taking up new rapporteurships. The political groups should also be made aware of this important consequence in order to ensure that candidates for membership in the committee be selected taking into account the criteria of “availability” and “prior knowledge”, prescribed by the Code of Conduct.
18 In order to enable the members of the committee involved in rapporteurships to share their knowledge and lessons learnt, outgoing co-rapporteurs should be allowed to take rapporteurships with respect to other states engaged in the monitoring procedure or post-monitoring dialogue. The committee may therefore appoint them as co-rapporteurs with respect of another country, according to the same rules and criteria.

4 Proposals

19 In the light of the above analysis, in this section I will make three sets of proposals. Firstly, I will make some concrete proposals concerning the limitation on the duration of the term of office of the co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee. Secondly, I will make some proposals concerning the rules on appointment of rapporteurs on post-monitoring dialogue, with a view to harmonising the appointment procedure with the amendments to Resolution 1115 (1997) recently adopted by the Standing Committee. Thirdly, and finally, I will suggest incorporating in Resolution 1115 (1997) a number of formal criteria for the appointment of co-rapporteurs which stem from the practice of the Monitoring Committee and are based on the provisions of the Code of Conduct for co-rapporteurs, approved by the committee on 6 September 2001. The proposed amendments aim at codifying the existing practice in order to provide the committee with clear-cut rules governing the appointment of co-rapporteurs.

4.1 Proposals relating to the duration of the term of office of the co-rapporteurs

4.1.1 Limitation on the duration of the mandate

20 In the light of the above considerations and taking into account the obligation of the Monitoring Committee to report on the countries under monitoring every two years (see paragraph 6, above), I suggest that the duration of the term of office of the co-rapporteurs should be limited to five years. No member of the committee should be appointed co-rapporteur twice for the same member state under the monitoring procedure.
21 The five-year term will enable the new co-rapporteur to become acquainted with the file as well as to prepare two reports on the country concerned. This will preserve continuity and enable the co-rapporteurs to acquire a comprehensive knowledge of the situation, in order to deliver coherent political messages and develop their own approach to the monitoring procedure.

4.1.2 Need to avoid both co-rapporteurs being replaced at the same time

22 As mentioned above, knowledge and continuity are the key assets of the Assembly’s monitoring procedure. Therefore, in the process of appointment of co-rapporteurs, the committee should aim to avoid replacing both co-rapporteurs at the same time.
23 However, in the interests of the smooth running of the monitoring procedure, the committee should have the right to decide to extend the mandate of one of the co-rapporteurs, by a maximum of six months. This may be appropriate in cases when the terms of office of both co-rapporteurs come to an end at the same time (unless they had resigned or ceased to be members of the Assembly), or when the term of office of one of the co-rapporteurs expires at the moment when the corresponding monitoring report is almost finalised (i.e. a preliminary draft report is prepared, the comments of the delegation are received and analysed and a debate in the Assembly is scheduled).

4.2 Proposals relating to harmonising the appointment of rapporteurs on post-monitoring dialogue with the recent amendments to Resolution 1115 (1997)

24 In Resolution 1698 (2009), adopted by the Standing Committee on 20 November 2009, the Assembly modified some provisions of Resolution 1115 (1997) concerning post-monitoring dialogue. In particular, the Assembly decided that the Monitoring Committee should report to the Assembly on the countries engaged in post-monitoring dialogue at least once every four years.Note Clearly, this important change is aimed at harmonising the procedure of post-monitoring dialogue with the monitoring procedure.
25 In this context, it may be thought appropriate to harmonise the rules governing rapporteurship on post-monitoring dialogue with the new procedure, by allowing the committee to appoint any of its members rapporteur on post-monitoring dialogue. Of course, the same formal criteria for the appointment of monitoring co-rapporteurs should apply in the case of appointment of colleagues dealing with post-monitoring dialogue. In addition, in order to avoid any conflict of interests, I suggest that rapporteurs previously engaged in the monitoring procedure for a given country should not be allowed to become rapporteurs on post-monitoring dialogue.
26 By analogy with the monitoring procedure, in the interest of the smooth running of the post-monitoring dialogue, the committee should have the right to decide to extend, where appropriate and feasible, the term of office of the rapporteur by a maximum of six months (for example, in order to give the possibility to an outgoing rapporteur the report which has already been included in the agenda and order of business of an Assembly part-session).

4.3 Incorporation of formal criteria for the appointment of co-rapporteurs into Resolution 1115 (1997)

27 It follows from the above analysis that, over recent years, the Monitoring Committee has been strictly applying the formal criteria for the appointment of the co-rapporteurs, established by the Code of Conduct (i.e. prohibition on the combination of mandates, the criterion of “proximity and special interest” and the “political and geographic balance” criterion). I therefore consider that it may be thought appropriate to incorporate these three formal criteria into the rules governing the appointment of the co-rapporteurs, as established by Resolution 1115 (1997) (as modified by Resolution 1431 (2005), Resolution 1515 (2006) and Resolution 1698 (2009)).

5 Conclusion

28 The committee is invited to consider and adopt the above preliminary draft resolution, with a view to discussion of the report by the Standing Committee in March 2010. In order to give time to the political groups of the Assembly to take the proposed amendments fully into account in the process of appointing candidates for membership in the Monitoring Committee, the amendments to Resolution 1115 (1997) could enter into force at the opening of the 2010 June part-session (21-25 June 2010).
29 When the proposed amendments enter into force, according to current statistics, the committee will have to replace both co-rapporteurs at the same time for a number of countries, because both of them will have been in office for more than five years. Given the need to avoid replacing both co-rapporteurs at the same time, it may be thought appropriate to phase in the replacement process. I would therefore suggest that, if the terms of office of both country co-rapporteurs come to an end at the same time, the committee should be allowed to proceed first with the replacement of the co-rapporteur whose term of office has been the longest. Should the committee so decide, the mandate of the second co-rapporteur may be extended by a maximum of six months, to ensure a smooth transition.
30 Moreover, in order to allow outgoing colleagues whose reports are in the final stage of preparation and will be included in the agenda and order of business of the Assembly June and September 2010 part-sessions to present their reports, a transitional provision should to be introduced.

***

Reporting committee: Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee)

Reference to committee: Reference 3510 of 26 January 2009

Draft resolution unanimously adopted by the committee on 26 January 2010

Members of the committee: Mr Dick Marty (Chairperson), Mr Aydin Abbasov, Mr Pedro Agramunt Font de Mora, Mr Miloš Aligrudić, Mrs Meritxell Batet Lamaña, Mr Ryszard Bender, Mr József Berényi, Ms Anne Brasseur, Ms Lise Christoffersen, Mr Boriss Cilevičs, Mr Georges Colombier, Mr Joseph Debono Grech, Mr Juris Dobelis, Mrs Josette Durrieu, Mr Mátyás Eörsi, Ms Mirjana Ferić-Vac, Mr György Frunda, Mr Giuseppe Galati, Mr Jean-Charles Gardetto, Mr Aristophanes Georgiou, Mr Andreas Gross, Mr Michael Hagberg, Mr Holger Haibach, Mr Michael Hancock, Mr Andres Herkel, Mrs Sinikka Hurskainen, Mr Kastriot Islami, Mr Mladen Ivanić, Mr Zmago Jelinčič Plemeniti, Mr Michael Aastrup Jensen, Mr Miloš Jevtić, Mr Tomáš Jirsa, Mr Haluk Koç, Mrs Katerina Konečná, Mr Jaakko Laakso, Mr Pietro Marcenaro, Mr Bernard Marquet, Mr Miloš Melčák, Mrs Nursuna Memecan, Mr Jean-Claude Mignon, Mr João Bosco Mota Amaral, Mr Adrian Năstase, Mrs Elsa Papadimitriou, Mr Alexander Pochinok, Mrs Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin, Mr Christos Pourgourides, Mr John Prescott, Mrs Mailis Reps, Mr Andrea Rigoni, Mr Ilir Rusmali, Mr Indrek Saar, Mr Kimmo Sasi, Mr Samad Seyidov, Mr Leonid Slutsky, Mr Yanaki Stoilov, Mr Christoph Strässer, Mr Björn von Sydow, Mrs Chiora Taktakishvili, Mr Egidijus Vareikis, Mr José Vera Jardim, Mr Piotr Wach, Mr Robert Walter, Mr David Wilshire, Mrs Renate Wohlwend, Mrs Karin S. Woldseth, Mrs Gisela Wurm, Mr Andrej Zernovski

NB: The names of the members who took part in the meeting are printed in bold

Secretariat of the committee: Mrs Nachilo, Mr Klein, Ms Trévisan, Mr Karpenko

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