The credentials of Azerbaijan’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have been challenged on substantive grounds on the opening day of the 2024 winter plenary session.
Making the challenge, Frank Schwabe (Germany, SOC) cited political prisoners in the country, the violent displacement of people from Nagorno-Karabakh, the fact that Assembly rapporteurs were unable to visit Azerbaijan at least three times during 2023, and the lack of an invitation to the Assembly to observe the country’s 7 February presidential election. He was supported by at least thirty members of the Assembly, belonging to at least five national delegations as required by the Rules.
The challenge was immediately referred to the Assembly’s Monitoring Committee for report and to its Rules Committee for opinion, and will be debated by the Assembly on the evening of Wednesday 24 January.
Under the Rules, the Assembly must vote for one of three options: to ratify the credentials, not to ratify them, or to ratify them “together with depriving or suspending the exercise of some of the rights of participation or representation of members of the delegation concerned in the activities of the Assembly and its bodies”.
The members of Azerbaijan’s delegation may sit provisionally with the same rights as other Assembly members until the Assembly has reached a decision, but shall not vote in any proceedings relating to the examination of their credentials.