Challenge on procedural grounds of the still unratified credentials of Mr Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine, EPP/CD)
- Parliamentary Assembly
debate on 25 April 2013 (16th Sitting) (see Doc. 13193, report of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities
and Institutional Affairs, rapporteur: Ms Vučković). Text adopted by the Assembly on
25 April 2013 (16th Sitting).
1. On 22 April 2013, the still unratified
credentials of Mr Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine, EPP/CD) were challenged
by Mr Pieter Omtzigt on procedural grounds, in accordance with Rule
7 of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliamentary Assembly, on the
ground that he was replacing, in the Ukrainian delegation, Mr Serhiy Vlasenko,
who had been deprived of his national parliamentary mandate under
a judicial decision which may have been politically motivated.
2. The Assembly recalls that, in pursuance of Article 25 of the
Statute of the Council of Europe, no representative can be deprived
of his mandate during an Assembly session without the latter’s consent.
This provision is designed to protect elected representatives against
any arbitrary authority, in particular in the case of prosecution
possibly leading to the revocation of their mandate for reasons
of opinions expressed or positions defended in the Assembly. Both
the Statute of the Council of Europe (ETS No. 1) and the Rules of Procedure
of the Assembly stipulate that national parliaments are entitled
to fill vacant seats in the Assembly only if the vacancy is due
to death, resignation or parliamentary elections. This is why the
possibility of filling vacant seats, in all other cases, is accompanied
by the major safeguard set out in Article 25.b of
the Statute of the Council of Europe, which lays down that the Assembly
is the sole authority which can decide on the revocation, during
a given session, of the mandate of one of its members.
3. The Assembly notes that the appointment of Mr Andriy Shevchenko,
whose as yet unratified credentials have been challenged, to the
seat which became vacant following the revocation of Mr Serhiy Vlasenko’s national
mandate by the Ukrainian High Administrative Court, has been examined
by the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional
Affairs in the light of the procedural requirements set out in Rule
7 of the Rules of Procedure, with reference to which the said credentials
have been challenged. It concluded that Mr Andriy Shevchenko belongs
to the same political faction, known as “Batkivtshchyna”, as Mr
Vlasenko. Furthermore, he was appointed to replace Mr Serhiy Vlasenko
by the President of the “Batkivtshchyna” faction in conformity with
the procedures of the Verkhovna Rada, and his appointment is not
incompatible with the fair representation of political groups and
parties in the current composition of the Verkhovna Rada.
4. The Assembly recalls its position that, where an Assembly
member has been deprived of his mandate under a final judicial decision,
and provided that all domestic remedies have been exhausted, there
is a presumption that the decision applies mutatis
mutandis to the Assembly, in the light of Article 25.a of the Statute of the Council
of Europe, which stipulates that “the Assembly shall consist of
representatives of each member, elected by its parliament from among
the members thereof, or appointed from among the members of that
parliament”. It considers, moreover, that it should not appraise,
in the place of either the Verkhovna Rada or the European Court
of Human Rights – which has been formally seized – the validity
of the judicial decision which is at the origin of the revocation
of Mr Vlasenko’s mandate in the light of the relevant national legislation,
regulations and procedures or the provisions of the European Convention
on Human Rights (ETS No. 5).
5. The Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional
Affairs has also considered the various objections raised, and has
established that Mr Andriy Shevchenko’s appointment to the Parliamentary Assembly
was effected in compliance with Article 25 of the Statute of the
Council of Europe and Rule 6 of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly.
Furthermore, the Assembly notes that substantive violations of the
Statute of the Council of Europe, whose obligations are binding
on member States, are governed by a separate procedure which was
not initiated by the challenging parties at the opening of the part-session.
6. Consequently, in view of these circumstances, the Assembly
decides to deprive Mr Serhiy Vlasenko of his mandate and to ratify
the credentials of Mr Andriy Shevchenko.