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Poisoning of Alexei Navalny

Doc. 15434: compendium of written amendments | Doc. 15434 | 26/01/2022 | Final version

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ADraft Resolution

1On 20 August 2020, Russian opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny suffered a dramatic decline in health on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. His plane made an emergency landing at Omsk, where he was taken to a local hospital. Two days later a medical evacuation flight took him to Berlin, where he remained in acute inpatient care at the Charité hospital until 23 September 2020. Following his recovery, he returned to Russia, where he was detained on the basis of a suspended sentence that the European Court of Human Rights had found to be in breach of article 7 (no punishment without law) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5). He is currently imprisoned in Russia.
2The Parliamentary Assembly notes the ample and widely reported medical evidence showing that Mr Navalny was poisoned with an organophosphorus cholinesterase inhibitor whilst in Russia, prior to his dramatic decline in health on 20 August 2020. It dismisses any suggestion that he was poisoned at any time after being loaded onto the medical evacuation flight from Omsk to Berlin on 22 August 2020, whilst noting the Russian authorities’ position that Mr Navalny’s symptoms were due to a disrupted carbohydrate metabolism.
3The Assembly notes that five separate tests have established that Mr Navalny was poisoned with a substance that was structurally related to a group of chemicals listed in the Annex on Chemicals of the Chemical Weapons Convention, although the specific substance concerned is not listed in the Annex. Substances belonging to this group of chemicals, which was originally developed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), are generally referred to as “Novichok”.
4The Assembly notes that Novichok is an extremely toxic nerve agent, known to have been produced only in state laboratories of the USSR and, reportedly, Russia. It requires very careful handling by specialists. It further notes investigative reports that point to the possibility of involvement of agents of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) in the poisoning of Mr Navalny. This assertion is further reinforced by the Russian authorities’ admission that Mr Navalny was under surveillance by the FSB.
5The Assembly recalls the numerous judgments of the European Court of Human Rights which found that earlier unlawful repressive actions of the Russian authorities had had a chilling effect on Mr Navalny’s political activities and were politically motivated, with one judgment finding a violation of article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
6The Assembly recalls that Russia is obliged under Article VII of the Chemical Weapons Convention to criminalise, and consequently to investigate and punish any suspected use of chemical weapons on its territory. It recalls that Russia is obliged under Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights to investigate the attack on Mr Navalny’s life. It considers that Russia has yet to conduct an effective investigation into either of these matters, with no reasonable explanation for these failures.
7The Assembly regrets and expresses serious concerns over Russia’s failure to co-operate with its rapporteur on the poisoning of Mr Navalny. It also regrets Russia’s failure to co-operate fully on the same issue with the UN Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, or with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, where Russia has argued that there are insufficient grounds to open an investigation into Mr Navalny’s illness. The Assembly also regrets Russia’s failure to co-operate with its former rapporteur on “Shedding light on the murder of Boris Nemtsov”.
8The Assembly encourages the Russian Federation and the wider international community to collaborate constructively in all relevant international fora where Mr Navalny’s case may be under discussion.
9The Assembly therefore calls on the Russian Federation to:
9.1fulfil its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights by:
9.1.1launching an independent and effective investigation into the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, with thorough, objective and impartial analysis of all relevant elements. Those responsible for and carrying out the investigation must be independent from the FSB. The investigation should be expeditious, and it should permit sufficient public scrutiny and accessibility to Mr Navalny, whose procedural rights under Russian law in relation to any form of investigative process must also be respected in full;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 9.1.1, replace the second sentence with the following sentence:

"Those responsible for carrying out the investigation should be the representatives of mutually acceptable international investigative bodies, such as Interpol."

9.1.2immediately releasing Mr Navalny under the interim measure indicated by the European Court of Human Rights on 16 February 2021;
9.2fulfil its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, including by investigating the alleged development, production, stockpiling, and use of a chemical weapon on Russian territory, and by providing substantive replies to questions posed by other States parties;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 9.2, after the words "and by providing substantive replies to questions posed by other States parties", insert the following words:

"within one month"

26 January 2022

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

In amendment 2, replace the words "within one month" with the following words:

"as soon as possible, and more generally by fully cooperating with the mechanisms foreseen by the Convention"

9.3reach agreement on a technical assistance visit by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, on the standard conditions that guarantee the independence of its technical secretariat, this visit to take place at the very earliest opportunity;
9.4stop using all forms of repressive measures against political opposition and civil society activists.

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 9.4, insert the following paragraph:

"collaborate in providing all necessary information in a detailed manner to States parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, the UN Special Rapporteurs and this Assembly concerning all the procedures within the judicial case of Mr Navalny and other members of political opposition and civil society activists."