STRASBOURG, January 27. /TASS/. Russia’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will never accept any infringements upon its rights in the assembly, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Monday after Russia’s rights within PACE were challenged.
"We expect that the assembly’s constructively-minded majority will do its best to prevent any recurrence of the crisis in relations between Moscow and Strasbourg and will fully ratify the Russian delegation’s rights. We are ready to work solely on an equal basis and won’t accept any secondary sanctions," Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house, told journalists.
"As we expected, the Russian delegation’s rights have been challenged by the Russophobic delegations to PACE," he noted. "We were braced for that. Now, the monitoring committee is to issue a report within 24 hours."
Earlier in the day, PACE delegates, Emanuelis Zingeris of Lithuania and Maria Golubeva of Latvia, challenged the Russian delegation’s rights on substantial ground. Thus, the former claimed that rulings of the European Court of Human Rights were allegedly void in Russia and the latter pointed to the fact that the Russian delegation had representatives from Crimea and that politicians from that region had taken part in federal parliamentary elections in Russia.
Before a year’s first session, all national delegations are supposed to file applications for participation throughout the given year. The delegations’ credentials are validated automatically on the first day of the session in case there are no reasoned objections from PACE members. It takes at least 30 lawmakers from at least five national delegations present at the session to challenge the delegation’s credentials.
The contested credentials are further referred to the appropriate committee, which is to report back to the assembly within 24 hours. Before it is done, the delegation enjoys all the rights (to take part in the session, to speak and to vote) but cannot vote on the relevant draft resolution.
In June 2019, PACE passed a resolution supplementing the rules of procedure with a ban on stripping national delegations of the right to vote, speech and participation in the assembly’s key structures through contesting or revising their credentials. Thanks to this document, Russia was able to get back to PACE after five years of absence. The Russian delegation was stripped of its basic rights with the assembly in April 2014 following the developments in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. In response, Russia refused to partake in the assembly’s work.
However, such rights as to take part in PACE monitoring missions at elections, to be appointed a PACE rapporteur, and to represent PACE to the Council of Europe or other organizations could be restricted.