28 October 2016

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PACE passes two resolutions on Ukraine

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has passed two resolutions on Ukraine along with the proposed amendments: "Political Consequences of Russian Aggression in Ukraine" presented by rapporteur Kristyna Zelienkova (the Czech Republic) and "Legal Remedies for Human Rights Violations on the Ukrainian Territories outside the Control of the Ukrainian Authorities" by rapporteur Marieluise Beck (Germany).

PACE / Photo from
PACE / Photo from

The first resolution was supported by 82 PACE members, while the other was backed by 87 PACE members

"We sincerely thank the rapporteurs, true defenders of PACE values – Zelienkova and Beck – on behalf of the Ukrainian delegates and all the colleagues. As we have seen commitments to PACE principles, high-class European policy and responsibility in their reports," First Deputy Speaker of Ukraine's parliament, member of Ukraine's delegation to PACE Iryna Gerashchenko wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.

Ukraine may press for early removal of PACE president for support of RussiaShe also informed that PACE President Pedro Agramunt was absent during the voting on the two resolutions.

The human rights resolution says that the PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights "is deeply worried about the human rights situation in Crimea and in the self-proclaimed 'people's republics' of Donetsk and Luhansk ("DPR" and "LPR") and the lack of legal remedies for victims.'

The resolution calls on the Russian authorities to "ensure the protection of the fundamental rights of all inhabitants of the 'DRP' and the 'LPR' and the fulfilment of their basic needs, and exercise their influence with the de facto authorities to this end."

"Regarding the elections foreseen in the Minsk Agreements, the Assembly considers that as long as the present situation in the 'DPR' and 'LPR,' characterized by a climate of insecurity, intimidation and impunity and a lack of freedom of expression and information, prevails, free and fair elections (as guaranteed by Article 3 of the Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 9)) are not possible in these regions," the resolution reads.

The Assembly also urges the Russian authorities to "use all available legal means to repeal the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to outlaw the Mejlis, and to allow the Crimean Tatar community to choose its own self-governing institutions."

What is more, "the Political Consequences of Russian Aggression in Ukraine" resolution, which was originally titled "Political Consequences of the Conflict in Ukraine" when it was a draft, calls on the Russian authorities to reverse the illegal annexation of Crimea and allow Ukraine to regain control of the peninsula. It also asks "the Russian Federation to withdraw its troops from the territory of Ukraine."

This resolution also states that "international pressure, including sanctions, must be maintained until Russian aggression has ceased and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders has been fully restored."

It also condemns the illegal Duma elections held in occupied Crimea on September 18 and "considers their results null and void."

"The incorporation of Ukrainian sovereign territory into Russian federal constituencies and the creation of four single-member constituencies are blunt violations of international law and effectively compromise the legitimacy of the Russian parliament," it said.

As UNIAN reported earlier, the Duma elections were held on September 18, 2016. For the first time Russian elections took place in the occupied Crimea. A total of 225 of 450 members were elected by proportional representation, and Crimea was also included in calculating the results and distribution of mandates. Four more were elected in single-member constituencies in Crimea and Sevastopol.

Ukraine outlaws newly elected Russian Duma, its acts to be deemed as illegitimateIn response to the Duma elections, Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada on September 20 passed a resolution, which was backed by 264 MPs, to outlaw the vote, saying that the results of the polls, legal effects, Duma members, their authority, acts and decisions that will be passed will be declared as illegitimate.

As was announced by Russian authorities, United Russia mustered 54.42% of votes; the Communist Party had 13.52%, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) and A Just Russia were third and fourth with 13.28%, and 6.17%, respectively. Other parties failed to clear the 5% hurdle.

The seats in the Russian Duma are split in the following way: United Russia has 343, or 76.2%, the Communist Party enjoys 42 seats, 39 seats belong to the LDPR, and 23 to A Just Russia. Representatives of other parties have occupied two seats, and one seat belongs to an independent deputy.

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