The Assembly has a framework for ensuring the transparency of its work and the accountability and integrity of its members, in place for many years. This was significantly improved in 2017 and is regularly updated, ensuring that members act in line with the highest ethical standards.
The Code of Conduct spells out what is expected of members, lays down the procedure for investigating alleged breaches of the rules, and steps to be taken in the event of non-compliance:
Members of the Assembly taking part in the observation of national elections are also expected to follow a set of guidelines:
Under the Code of Conduct, all members are expected to submit an annual declaration of interests (explanatory note). These declarations appear on the Assembly web-page of the individual member concerned, and are updated.
Assembly rapporteurs, at the moment they are appointed by a committee, must also declare the absence of any conflict of interest. These declarations are noted in the lists of decisions (synopses) of the committee meeting during which the appointment is made.
In January 2017 the Assembly took the unprecedented step of setting up an independent, external investigation to look into specific allegations of corruption made against some of its members and former members. This body, made up of three distinguished former judges, began its work in June 2017 and delivered its final report in April 2018:
Report of the Independent Investigation Body
In a resolution and recommendation, the Assembly swiftly set out the steps it is taking in response, and declared its commitment to creating "an environment of zero tolerance for corruption":
Follow-up to the report of the Independent Investigation Body - report
Follow-up to the report of the Independent Investigation Body - resolution
Follow-up to the report of the Independent Investigation Body - recommendation
Follow-up to the report of the Independent Investigation Body - reply from the Committee of Ministers
The Assembly's Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs has also applied the procedure foreseen in cases of alleged violation of the Code of Conduct to individual members or former members named in the Investigation Body's report, holding a series of hearings with those concerned. This has resulted in a number of decisions:
Decisions following the first hearing, 25 April 2018
Decisions following the second hearing,15 May 2018
Decisions following the third hearing, 27 June 2018
Decisions following the fourth hearing, 4 September 2018
Decisions following the fifth hearing, 11 October 2018
The committee has also published a final report on its follow-up to the recommendations made by the Independent Investigation Body: