VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 30 POSTED ON: 7/6/2011
DGAP/Inf(2006)16 15 May 2006 With the compliments of the Director General of Political Affairs Avec les compliments du Directeur Général des Affaires Politiques INFORMATION NOTE FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE MINISTERS' DEPUTIES __________ NOTE D'INFORMATION A L'ATTENTION DES DELEGUES DES MINISTRES RE: Report from the Council of Europe Field Offices and Other Outposts* / April 2006 Rapport des Bureaux du Conseil de l’Europe sur le terrain et autres antennes* / avril 2006 Please find attached the Report from the Council of Europe Field Offices and Other Outposts for April 2006. _________________________ Veuillez trouver ci-joint le rapport des Bureaux du Conseil de l‟Europe sur le terrain et autres antennes pour avril 2006. Ce document n‟existe qu‟en anglais * For a more complete list of activities, see Council of Europe activities database (CEAD) – http://dsp.coe.int/CEAD / Pour une liste plus complète des activités, voir la base de données des activités du Conseil de l‟Europe (CEAD) – http://dsp.coe.int/CEAD 2 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 FIELD OFFICES YEREVAN CHISINAU Ms Bojana URUMOVA Ambassador Vladimir PHILIPOV Special Representative of the SG Special Representative of the SG Tel: +374 10 24 33 85 Tel: +373 22 23 50 34 or 35 Fax: +374 10 24 38 75 Fax: +373 22 23 30 18 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org E-mail: email@example.com BAKU BELGRADE ………………………………… Mr Stefano VALENTI Special Representative of the SG Special Representative of the SG Tel: +994 124 975 489 Tel: +381 11 3 088 411 Fax: +994 124 975 475 Fax: +381 11 3 086 494 E-mail: ………………………. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org SARAJEVO PODGORICA Mr Tim CARTWRIGHT Mr Vladimir RISTOVSKI Special Representative of the SG Head of Office Tel: +387 33 264 360 or 361 Tel: +381 81 230 819 or +381 81 230 825 Fax: +387 33 233 937 Fax: +381 81 230 176 E-mail: email@example.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org TBILISI PRISTINA Mr Igor GAON Mr Zurab KATCHKATCHISHVILI Special Representative of the SG Head of Office Tel: +995 32 98 54 40 Tel: +381 38 243 749 Fax: +995 32 98 96 57 Fax: +381 38 243 752 E-mail: email@example.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org OTHER OUTPOSTS TIRANA SKOPJE Ms Delphine FREYMANN Mr Michel RIVOLLIER Special Adviser Resident Expert Tel: +355 4 22 84 19 Tel: +389 2 3290 232 Fax: +355 4 24 89 40 Fax: +389 2 3123 617 E-mail: email@example.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 3 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 Yerevan 1. Political and legislative developments 1. During the 13 April Session of Parliament, Ombudsman Armen Harutyunyan (elected in February 2006) presented the 2005 annual report on the state of human rights protection in Armenia. This eight-page document contained statistical information concerning the work of the office in 2005. Two weeks later, his predecessor, Larisa Alaverdyan, presented to the general public a much longer report (some 300 pages) covering the same period. 2. On 18 April the Constitutional Court ruled that a Government decision authorising the taking of the Byuzand Street properties (central Yerevan) was unconstitutional. The complaint had been filed by the Ombudsman in the context of complaints received from the evicted residents. Ruling in favour of the Ombudsman, the Constitutional Court instructed the Government to take steps to solve the matter before October. 3. On 21 April several officers of the National Security Service (NSS) detained the bodyguards of Aram Karapetyan, the leader of the Opposition New Times Party, releasing them several hours later. The NSS issued a statement describing the actions taken as “detention on suspicion of illegal arms possession”. Two weeks before, Aram Karapetyan had announced his plans to launch a nationwide campaign of anti-government demonstrations on the eve of the 2007 Parliamentary elections. On 28 April the New Times Party held a duly-authorised demonstration in protest against the actions of the NSS. 4. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnak Party, or ARFD) submitted to the Parliament a draft law on dual citizenship. 5. On 19 April a delegation of the European Parliament, headed by Marie-Ann Isler- Beguin, a French MEP, arrived in Yerevan to participate in the Armenia-EU Parliamentary Cooperation Committee‟s eighth session. The MEPs held meetings with Government officials and MPs and discussed cooperation between the European Union and the South Caucasus countries. 6. On 20 April a delegation of the EU Troika headed by Hans Winkler, Austria's State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and including the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, ambassadors of Austria and Finland to Armenia, as well as representatives of the European Commission and the Council of the European Union, arrived in Yerevan as part of a regional visit to discuss the progress in negotiations on the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan. Special emphasis was placed on the need for holding free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections in 2007 and 2008. 7. On 28 April the Chair of the Standing Commission on Foreign Relations of the National Assembly announced the drawing-up of a new plan for the settlement of the Nagorno- Karabakh conflict. The aim of the initiative is to give an impetus for parliamentarians of different political affiliations to develop a unified stand on the issue. To achieve this goal, the commission members have already asked each of the 14 political parties represented in Parliament to submit their proposals. 4 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 8. On 5 April the U.S. Department of State released its fourth annual report on "Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: the U.S. Record 2005-2006”. The report concluded that the broad executive powers remained relatively unchecked by a compliant parliament, a judiciary subject to political pressure and vulnerable to corruption, and a weak, fractious opposition. It was noted that as of the end of 2005, it "remained unclear how or to what extent the Government planned to implement the new amendments and other legal reforms required by the Council of Europe." 9. On 10 April the Chairman of the Court of Cassation requested the Council of Europe to provide an expert evaluation of the draft Judicial Code. 2. Council of Europe action 10. On 13 April PACE adopted Resolution No. 1497 on refugees and displaced persons in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, encouraging those States to continue their efforts to achieve peaceful and permanent settlement of the different conflicts in the region in order to enable voluntary returns of refugees and displaced persons. The parliamentarians also welcomed steps towards local integration of refugees and IDPs, while stressing that there were still urgent humanitarian needs which would require international aid. 11. From 15 to 16 April Vera Oskina, rapporteur of the PACE Committee on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women, visited Armenia as part of her visit to the region to prepare a second report on the situation of women in the South Caucasus. Mrs Oskina held meetings with Government officials, MPs and local non-governmental organisations. 12. From 3 to 7 April a delegation of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) visited Armenia to prepare the second report on the manner in which the situation has developed since the publication of the first report on the country. The delegation held meetings with Government bodies as well as non-governmental organisations. 13. From 2 to 12 April a delegation of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) carried out a periodic visit to Armenia. The delegation examined the treatment of persons detained by the police and the situation in penitentiary establishments. Particular attention was paid to the treatment and regime of prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment and the situation of female and juvenile prisoners. A further area of interest was the treatment of persons subjected to involuntary psychiatric hospitalisation. 14. The European Court of Human Rights declared admissible the complaint of the "Supreme Council" Group concerning violations of Opposition observers' rights during the 2003 Parliamentary elections. The Court requested the Government to provide their observations in writing by 6 July 2006. 3. Other action / coordination and cooperation with partner organisations 15. On 19 April the international community present in Armenia was received by the Speaker of Parliament to discuss the amendments made to the Electoral Code and possible avenues of cooperation to ensure that the next elections comply with European standards. The Speaker considered that assistance was needed in terms of training members of the 5 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 electoral commission and proxies, as well as activities to encourage the constructive involvement of civil society and the media in the electoral process. 16. On 5 April the SRSG had an introductory meeting with Mr Peter Semneby, the newly- appointed EU Representative to South Caucasus. 17. In cooperation with the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations of the National Assembly and the Monitoring Committee on the Implementation of the Anti-corruption Strategy, the “European Integration” NGO organised a seminar on "GRECO's Experience and Possibilities for Fighting Corruption" (10 April), at which the SRSG made an opening speech. A presentation on the GRECO Evaluation Report was given by a member of the Secretariat and technical assistance was discussed. The representative of the Secretariat (DG I) held separate meetings with the Armenian authorities and international partners (EC, UNDP, etc.) to discuss possible joint projects on anti- corruption. * * * Activities of the Information Office of the Council of Europe (IOCE) Seminars, conferences and other activities: Preparatory works on the project on Child Rights and Fighting Violence against Children in cooperation with "Future is Yours" NGO Preparatory works on the Armenia and the Council of Europe: Five Years of Membership conference to be held on 5 May in Yerevan. Dissemination of the announcement on IOCE competition of children drawings about Violence against Children. The announcement was disseminated in Yerevan and 6 regions. Curriculum development for a joint RA MFA, UNDPI, OSCE and IOCE supported academic programme on Theory and Practice of International Organisations (UN, OSCE, Council of Europe) for Yerevan State University journalism students. Meeting with RA Deputy Youth Minister within the framework of the initiative to create regional youth centres and All Equal, All Different campaign promotional points in the regions. IOCE will contribute to the project by providing information support and translation of relevant CoE documents. Attendance at presentation of monthly law Journal “The Practice of the European Court of Human Rights,” 19 April 2006, organised by the Centre for Democracy NGO and Law and ABA CEELI Attendance at presentation of First Ombudsman 2005 Activity Report, 25 April 2006, organised by Larisa Alaverdyan 6 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 Publications and translations: Voice-over, publication and promotion of Stop Violence against Children 22 minute film provided by Directorate of Communication in cooperation with Internews Media Support NGO Publication and promotion of the 7th summary issue of the "One of 46" Council of Europe- Armenia TV Series Publication of the 6th Spring Issue of Council of Europe-Republic of Armenia IOCE English-Armenian Newsletter (1000 copies) In cooperation with Democracy Today NGO 40 copies of the English-Armenian Glossary of the Council of Europe Related Terms and Expressions were distributed to the legal libraries in different villages in the regions of Tavush, Lori, Syunik, Gegharkunik, Armavir, Kotayk and Ararat. In cooperation with European Integration NGO CoE materials, fliers and booklets were distributed in the cities of Kapan, Meghri, Sisian and Goris. 7 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 Sarajevo 1. Political and legislative developments 1. The dominant political issue this month was once again constitutional reform. The cautious optimism and spirit of compromise that had characterised previous months evaporated suddenly with the failure late on 26 April of the BiH House of Representatives to adopt the proposed amendments. 2. Two main parties had opposed the reforms: the recently-formed breakaway HDZ 1990, which felt that by preserving the so-called Entity voting, the reforms further undermined the constitutional position of the Croat interest, particularly vis-à-vis the Republika Srpska, and the Party for BiH (SBiH), which contested that the reforms did not go far enough and that no movement was preferable to some. 3. This failed reform is not only a set-back for BiH itself, it is also something of a blow for the recently-adopted softly-softly facilitation and mediation approach of the International Community as a whole. The EC has said that constitutional reform is not an SAA condition; the US is unlikely to be keen to renew its efforts now that its agreement has not been honoured, at least for a while; the High Representative had declared an interest in steering a „phase two‟ but quite how he would feel about recommencing phase one remains to be seen; the political leaders themselves have for the most part declared publicly that they see little scope for re-commencing cross-party talks. There seems little likelihood of any developments ahead of the October elections. 4. These elections may now themselves be problematic, since the failed amendments had contained provisions designed to rectify Venice Commission-identified shortcomings in the existing Dayton arrangements for election to the Presidency and also to the House of Peoples in relation to the ECHR, and in particular to Protocol 12, which entered into force on 1 April 2005, i.e. subsequent to the previous elections. This issue is beginning to be aired publicly, it being implicit that anyone unhappy with the outcome of the elections in October may well have grounds for contesting the results, at least in part. 5. Amid some controversy, the Constitutional Court ruled earlier in the month that the FBiH Law on Flag and Coat of Arms and the RS Constitutional Law on the Flag, Coat of Arms and Anthem breached the BiH Constitution and international non-discrimination commitments. The Court found that Bosniaks and Croats from the FBiH, as well as Serbs from the RS, had a legitimate right to preserve their tradition, culture and identity through the legislative mechanisms, but that the same right must be accorded to Serbs in the FBiH and to Bosniaks and Croats in the RS, as well as to the other BiH citizens. 6. On 13 April, RS Prime Minister Milorad Dodik decided to accept the resignation of Director of the RS Police, Dragomir Andan, citing the obligation of the RS to cooperate with the ICTY. A new department to deal with the hunt for ICTY indictees in the RS was created. 7. The BiH response to the Secretary General‟s Article 52 enquiry and his Strasbourg press conference attracted a lot of media attention, with the SRSG being interviewed for the main TV evening news. Amnesty International has alleged that Tuzla airport has been used for rendition flights. 8 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 8. Other developments this month have included the opening of a Co-ordination Office of the Brčko District in the Council of Ministers following the realisation by the district authorities that the increased competencies of the State were jeopardising the District‟s unique status, renewed impetus to resolving the issue of de-certified police officers following PM Terzic‟s visit to the UN, and the forwarding of the Draft State Law on Higher Education for adoption by the BiH Council of Ministers, the first stage in parliamentary process. PBS reform is still not out of the water, however. The FBiH House of Peoples adopted the draft law on Public Radio-Television (RTV) Service of FBiH, but the Croat caucus in the House invoked Vital National Interest (VNI). 2. Council of Europe action 9. From 2-5 April, Messrs. Kimmo Sasi and Mevlüt Cavuoglu, Rapporteurs of the PACE Monitoring Committee, held talks with BiH officials, party leaders and NGO and IC representatives, focusing on post-accession commitments, the current political situation, constitutional reform and prospects for the forthcoming election. 10. On 3-4 April, the CoE Office Sarajevo hosted the first meeting of the reconstituted working group for the ECHR Compatibility Study. ECHR articles to be included in the study were decided upon, and individual members of the group were assigned specific topics to be reported on by 30 June. 11. On 4 April, in Kula, East Sarajevo, the Secretariat, in partnership with the RS Association of Local Authorities, launched a new project aimed at building the capacity of the Associations of Local Authorities of BiH to deliver quality services to their members and various partners. Two days later, the same project launch was organised in Sarajevo for the Association of Local Authorities of FBiH. 12. On 11 April, the Conference of Ministers of Education of BiH met to discuss the education implications of the EU Stabilisation and Association process. At this occasion, the Minister of Civil Affairs of BiH announced that the Higher Education Law would be put into parliamentary process. From 24 to 27 April, the first of four planned workshops for Multiplicators of German and French languages in BiH was held in Sarajevo. 22 teachers were introduced to CoE language policies, the Common European Framework, the European Language Portfolio and their general implications for language learning and teaching. 13. In Higher Education, on 12 April, the 1st steering board meeting for the SHE project, under the joint chairmanship of the Minister of Civil Affairs, the Ambassador of the EC to BiH and the SRSG, brought together the 8 Rectors of BiH public universities and the two Entities‟ education ministries (CEAD 15107). The board approved the project‟s work plan and agreed a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation between the various parties. On 27 April, the CoE, OHR, OSCE, World Bank, EC and Austrian Development Agency met to discuss how best to support the passage of the Higher Education Law. 14. In the field of the Rule of Law on 17 and 19 April, in Banja Luka and in Sarajevo, the CIDA-financed Judicial and Prosecutorial Training Centre Project organised training courses for judges and prosecutors on “Judicial psychology and psychology in the courtroom” with special emphasis on skills of interrogation of special witnesses: children 9 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 and mental disabled persons (CEAD 14930). This was followed on 25-27 April by a study visit for selected trainers and two staff members of the JPTCs to the National Institute of Justice of Bulgaria with a view to providing an insight and a comparative approach to well- established training centre (CEAD 15007). 3. Other action / coordination and cooperation with partner organisations 15. On 5 April, the municipalities of Srebrenik, Tuzla, Zenica, Prnjavor, Istocno Novo Sarajevo and Sekovici were awarded “Beacon" status at a formal award ceremony co- hosted by the CoE and the OSCE. Some 60 municipalities had submitted applications for the six Beacon awards. 16. On 6 April, the embassies of Germany and Poland, in co-operation with the CoE and OSCE, organised a workshop for history textbook authors and other interested parties on "Rethinking the past - The revision of history textbooks for schools: The German-Polish experience”. 17. Throughout the month the SRSG had regular contacts with members of the IC, notably the EU Presidency, EC and US ambassadors concerning constitutional reform, OHR and OSCE concerning local government and education matters, OSCE on social policy, and he participated in an IC roundtable with the OCSE Chair-in-Office, Belgian Foreign Minister, Karel de Gucht during his visit to Sarajevo. 10 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 Tbilisi 1. Political and legislative developments 1. In an appeal to Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze and President Mikheil Saakashvili, the opposition Democratic Front parliamentary faction demanded the resignation of Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, the creation of new election administrations by political parties on a parity basis and direct elections of city mayors and regional governors. The text of the appeal, which has already been signed by lawmakers from the New Rights parliamentary faction, was presented at a news conference on 7 April by lawmakers from the United Democrat faction. The opposition parliamentarians from the Democratic Front and New Rights also said that they reserve the right to boycott the parliamentary session until their demands are met by the authorities. 2. Deputy Chairman of the breakaway South Ossetian government Boris Chochiev criticised Tbilisi‟s draft law on restitution as “one more PR campaign” of the Georgian authorities, which will fail to bring relief for refugees and IDPs. However, the Deputy Chairman did not specify exactly which provisions of the draft law are not acceptable for them. 3. Mr Chochiev, who is also a co-chairman of the Joint Control Commission (JCC), offered to hold a JCC session on 11-12 May in Tskhinvali. During the session the South Ossetian side plans to push forth the issue of creating a joint Georgian-Ossetian working group to develop the programme for a peaceful resolution. 4. The South Ossetian council of elders has called for the postponement of presidential elections in the breakaway region and the extension of Eduard Kokoity’s presidential term as reported on 14 April. Presidential elections in the unrecognised South Ossetian republic are scheduled for November. 5. In separate interviews published in 24 Saati on 18 April, Chairman of the Supreme Court Kote Kublashvili named the lack of qualified cadres as one of the major problems facing the country’s justice system. 6. In a resolution passed by the Russian State Duma on 19 April, Russian lawmakers from the lower house of Parliament supported the Russian chief sanitary inspector‟s decision to ban the import of Georgian and Moldovan wines, brandy and sparkling wine. 7. Russia has launched the construction of “two modern light mountain rifle brigades” at the Georgian border Sergey Ivanov, the Russian Defense Minister, was reported as saying on 24 April. He said that Russia will “synchronize” the process of withdrawal of its military bases from Georgia with the formation of two new brigades in the North Caucasus. 8. The Georgian Parliament plans to discuss a proposal to change the composition of the Justice Council, which is in charge of overseeing the judicial system‟s performance. According to the proposed amendments, the General Prosecutor will no longer have a seat in the Council. 11 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 2. Council of Europe action 9. The SRSG had a meeting with Minister of Justice Mr Gia Kavtaradze on 3 April. Topics discussed included the current situation in the penitentiary as well as a possible visit of the Minister to Strasbourg. 10. The SRSG met with chairman of the Central Election Commission, Mr Guram Chalagashvili, on 6 April. The chairman briefed the SRSG on the need for training for the election administration and asked for assistance from the CoE. 11. A seminar on “the Fight Against Organised Crime Based on European Standards” was held in Tbilisi on 5-6 April, at the premises of the Police Academy. 12. Following the parliamentary Seminar and the hearing of the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, held in Tbilisi on the situation of women in the South Caucasus on 13-14 October 2005, a PACE fact-finding mission of Rapporteur Ms Vera Oskina (Russia, EDG) took place on 18-19 April. 13. A national workshop on the decentralisation strategy of Georgia was held in the Parliament of Georgia on 26-27 April, with Specific Focus on the Amendments to the Organic Law on Local Self-Government, the Draft Law on Administrative Supervision over the Activities of Local Self-Government Bodies and the Implementation of the Law on Municipal Property. 14. A delegation of the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), carried out a fact-finding visit to Georgia from 17 to 20 April. The aim of the mission was to collect information on cases of racism and intolerance in Georgia, in order to prepare the respective report. 3. Other action/coordination and cooperation with partner organisations 17. On 4 April the SRSG met with Ms Marie-Carin von Gumppenberg, representative of OSCE dealing with election matters. They discussed the upcoming local elections and shortcomings in the election system. 18. The SRSG met with Ms Iris Muth, Human Rights officer in OSCE on 5 April in order to discuss the current human rights situation in Georgia and possible ways of the cooperation in this field. 19. On 3 April the SRSG had a meeting with head of OSCE Mission in Georgia, Ambassador Roy Reeve, to discuss the situation in the South Ossetia. * * * 12 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 Activities of the Information Office of the Council of Europe (IOCE) Seminars, conferences and other activities: 5-7 April – Seminar on “the Fight Against Organised Crime Based on European Standards”, Tbilisi, DG I. IO – logistics, organisational issues, info coverage, liaison with respective state agencies. 15-17 April – The IOCE organised a 2nd Training Seminar on the ECHR for NGOs, young lawyers, public officials and lecturers of high educational institutions. The aim is to familiarise participants with the European system for the protection of HR and to study the rights protected under the ECHR. Participants will be better informed on appropriate mechanisms to deal with respective HR problems, and ECHR procedures, especially admissibility criteria. Publications and translations: Publications: 7 April – Publication of DSG‟s article on CoE programme - “Building a Europe for and with Children”. Translations: ECHR cases: - Nachova and others v. Bulgaria, Judgment, 6 July 2005; - Fadeyeva v. Russia, Judgment, 9 June 2005, Final 30/11/2005; - Ilaşcu and others v. Moldova and Russia, Judgment, 8 July 2004; - Jėčius v. Lithuania, Judgment, 31 July 2000; - Karalevičius v. Lithuania , Judgment, 7 April 2005, Final, 07/07/2005; - Leyla Şahin v. Turkey, Judgment, 10 November 2005; - ECHR glossary; - Brochure on “Council of Europe Convention on Trafficking in Human Beings”; - Consolidated Appraisal Report - Draft law of Georgia “on the Repatriation of Persons Deported from Georgia in the 1940s by the Soviet Regime”. Portal Materials: - CoE Committee of Ministers – database; - Council of Europe Secretariat - Mandates and objectives; - CoE Congress – portal documents; - PACE – entire description (CoE portal); 13 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 Chisinau 1. Political and legislative developments 1. Russia‟s continuing ban on import of Moldovan and Georgian wines is exacerbating the situation in the Moldovan wine industry. The Russian Federal Inspection for Consumer Protection did not provide the Moldovan authorities with results of their analyses. Meanwhile, Transnistrian enterprises are able to export their wines and „cognacs‟ to Russia. 2. “Humanitarian aid” from Russia to Transnistria continues. 113 Transnistrian entities have registered with the Moldovan State Registration Chamber. 3. On 6 April, Parliament adopted in first reading a Broadcasting code, which had been drafted by PPCD/PCRM. It had been published on 28 March on the Parliamentary website. Since then, an intensive debate on this draft has started in the press, at seminars and other events among media professionals. The Parliament voted that the two competing draft laws, proposed by Moldova Noastra, should be taken into consideration at the second reading. Media NGOs have criticised the contents of the draft and the way it appeared. The OSCE Mission commissioned an expertise of the draft, containing several concerns, and published it on its website. On 20 April, Parliament requested CoE expertise for the broadcasting code drafted by PCRM/PPCD. 4. In April, the ECtHR gave judgment in favour of Mr Corsacov (Corsacov vs Moldova), in which it held that Moldova violated Articles 3 and 13 of the ECHR. The case was widely reported in the press, contributing to raising the issue of torture on the agenda of public debate. 5. Concerning the Pasat case, the EU Commissioner for External Relations and the European Neighbourhood Policy communicated that the investigation into the Pasat case does not appear to correspond to the commitments undertaken by Moldova as a member state of the CoE and OSCE and as EU partner in the European Neighbourhood Policy framework. Members of the European Parliament announced their intention to visit him in Prison in order to obtain first-hand information on the case. On 19 April, Mr Pasat declared he is going on hunger strike in protest against deprivation of access to adequate medical assistance. Currently, the Court of Appeals is reviewing the case. 6. The first hearing of the Urechean case (charged with exceeding authority when Chisinau Mayor), scheduled for 14 April, was adjourned until 3 May due to one of the judges being ill. On 13 April, the Supreme Court Plenum‟s decision came into effect, concerning the repeated rejection of the cassation complaint lodged by the General Prosecutor, who insisted on bringing action against MP Mr Gutu of the Communist faction on similar charges. 7. Human rights, the press and civil society were on the agenda of Parliament in April. Four public hearings were organised by the Parliamentary Commission for Human Rights. Four chapters of the National Action Plan of Human Rights 2004-2008 were discussed with MPs, representatives of the Ministries and Prosecutor‟s Office. 14 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 8. On 19 April, the Government approved the Code of Ethics for the Police which was drafted with CoE assistance. 9. On 19 April, a round of consultations on the Transnistrian conflict settlement took place in Moscow in a 3+2 format - without Moldovan and Transnistrian participation. 10. On 21 April, Transnistrian militia seized the Varnitsa village's river port that is under Moldova's jurisdiction. EU member states, the GUAM, USA and OSCE have condemned the unilateral actions by the Transnistrian administration. 2. Council of Europe action 11. From 10 to 11 April, at the request of the Ministry of Justice, a workshop was organised by DG I, the Resident Legal Expert and the Ministry of Justice on developing tools and skills for drafting better quality legislation (JP, CEAD 14849). SRSG took the floor. The Ministry of Justice had invited professionals from various ministries and services to participate. Possible follow-up will be decided on jointly. 12. From 25-26 April, CoE Media Division (DG II) together with the Electronic Press Association (APEL) organised a seminar on the “National Audiovisual: adjustment of the legislative regulating framework in the domain to European Standards”. This seminar provided a professional framework in which to discuss the recent draft code. Parliamentarians and civil society representatives as well as representatives of international organisations participated. 13. Throughout the month, the second series of Anti-Corruption trainings in the judiciary took place, organised by the Secretariat (DG I) in cooperation with the Prosecutors‟ Training Centre (JP, CEAD 14917). 100 judges and 100 prosecutors were trained in ten two-day seminars. 3. Other action/coordination and cooperation with partner organisations 14. On 21 April, the SRSG, together with the Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, spoke on Moldova at the GR-DEM meeting in Strasbourg. Moldova‟s achievements, problems, areas of cooperation and those where efforts need to be intensified were discussed as well as the Transnistrian dimension. 15. On 26 April, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with Eurasia Foundation organised a National Conference on the Consolidation of Dialogue between Government and Civil Society of Moldova in the context of the coordinated implementation of the EU-Moldova Action Plan, the EGPRS and the “Millennium Challenges” Programme”. SRSG and IOCE Director attended. * * * 15 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 Activities of the Information Office of the Council of Europe (IOCE) Seminars, conferences and other activities: 4 April - DGAP and IOCE in Moldova organised a conference “How to achieve functioning relations between Parliament and Civil Society in Moldova” as the final in a series of seminars on relations between the Moldovan Parliament and Civil Society organised by the Council of Europe in 2005. The conference brought together Chairmen of Parliamentary Commissions, NGOs, media, major international assistance organisations and European experts. 7 April – The IOCE Director made a presentation of CoE activities and IOCE in Moldova at a seminar for the Secretaries of Local Councils, organised by the Academy of Public Administration by the President of Moldova in conformity with the Government‟s decision of 1 February concerning training of representatives of public administration. 11 April - In partnership with the Centre for Information Technologies, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, the IOCE organised a 2nd Round Table on setting up the work plan for preparation and organisation of the Art Festival “All different-all equal”. The festival is open for children from specialised and auxiliary educational institutions and boarding schools from Chisinau municipality and all over the Republic. The event was attended by 65 principals of specialised and auxiliary schools who received informative sets of documents on CoE campaigns “Children and Violence”, “Trafficking in human beings”, “All different – all equal” and IOCE publications. 13 April – The IOCE produced a second radio broadcast on the CoE campaign "Children and Violence" in partnership with the National Radio Station. The topic was "Violence at school" with the participation of school principals and students. Publications and Translations: 1. Publications: Short guide to the European Convention on Human Rights – 1,000 copies IOCE Bulletin No. 1, 2006 – 1,000 copies 2. Translations: Resource pack on CoE campaign Children and Violence campaign Article by the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, publication in the newspaper “Moldova Suverana” Leaflet “Social Charter at a glance” CLRAE Recommendation 135 on local partnership for preventing and combating violence. Resolution 160 of the CLRAE on local partnership for preventing and combating violence. PACE Recommendation 1286 (1996) on European strategy for children. 16 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 Belgrade 1. Political and legislative developments 1. The second round of the Stabilisation and Association negotiations between the EU and Serbia and Montenegro was held on 4-5 April, after the positive but conditional report on the expected progress regarding cooperation with the ICTY. Following this round the country has entered into a critical phase in the negotiations with the EU, which are now closely connected with the fulfilment of the remaining international commitments regarding the ICTY. 2. The Secretary General of the CoE visited Serbia and Montenegro from 5 to 8 April, on the occasion of the 3rd anniversary of the Country‟s accession to the Organisation. 3. The State Union Parliament adopted legislation on freezing the assets of Hague suspects who are at large. Following the statement of the ICTY Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte that Serbia promised to extradite Mladic by the end of the month, the Serbian Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Zoran Loncar expressed his readiness to meet the main Hague obligations in the shortest time. Within the search for Mladic, several of his former associates have been arrested, while media are again speculating about Mladic‟s possible arrest in May. 4. On 14 April, the Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic forwarded a declaration on post-referendum relations between Serbia and Montenegro, which provoked different political comments in Belgrade. A spokesperson of the government questioned the need for such a document while, contrary to that, the Democratic Party submitted a request to the State Union Parliament to adopt a similar document, aiming to preserve good relations with Montenegro regardless of the referendum‟s outcome. 5. The Serbian government disbanded the local assembly of the Novi Pazar municipality which is controlled by the Sandzak Democratic Party (SDP), one of the two main parties in the region of Sandzak, just before the referendum on overthrowing mayor Sulejman Ugljanin, the leader of the other major party (Democratic Action Party). The SDP leader Rasim Ljajic, who is also Union of States Minister for Human and Minority Rights, in protest stepped down from his position as Head of the Government‟s Coordination Body for Southern Serbia. 6. The third round of talks on Kosovo held on 3 April in Vienna showed even more discrepancies between Belgrade and Pristina, especially regarding the plan for decentralisation. The next meeting will be held on 4 May, when new municipalities and their borders will be discussed. 7. After three months of standstill, the Parliament of Serbia, starting its first, spring session on 3 April, discussed the election of new judges and the Ombudsman. The proposal for the only candidate for the Ombudsman position, without any pre-election procedure, provoked a reaction from the civil society, causing subsequent withdrawal of his candidacy. The Parliament, in addition, adopted the Law on churches and religious communities despite criticisms related to its content from the CoE, OSCE and a number of NGOs and religious communities. 17 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 2. Council of Europe Action 8. CoE experts had a working meeting on the draft Law on municipal property with local expert groups and representatives of the Ministry of Finance and the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, on 11 and 12 April (CEAD 15041). This was an opportunity to discuss in detail the law which should foster the decentralisation process in Serbia. 9. In cooperation with the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, the CoE organised an information seminar on the European Charter on Regional and Minority Languages for public and state officials, on 4 and 5 April (CEAD 14885). CoE experts gave the representatives of minorities and state agencies an extensive explanation relevant to the implementation of the Charter. 10. At the first session of the Steering Committee of the Joint CoE/EAR Parliamentary Support Programme, held on 26 April, a draft Inception Report on the activities foreseen for the first year of the project was presented. Representatives of three Parliaments – members of the Committee, are supposed to give their comments on the draft, thus enabling the implementation of first activities in May. 11. The CoE organised an expert round table on “Conflict of Interest and Financing of Political Parties Provisions in the Working Version of the Anti-Corruption Law of Serbia” on 6 and 7 April (CEAD 9493). All relevant institutions participated in the in- depth debate and follow-up will be provided. 12. A pilot project within PACO Impact (CEAD 9493), started on 19 and 20 April with the establishment of a local group and the introductory presentation of the integrity plans concept. 13. The Belgrade Office prepared material for the publication of selected case law of the European Court of Human Rights relevant for Serbia and Montenegro (CEAD 14960). 3. Other action /coordination and cooperation with partner organisations 14. The CoE Office and the OSCE Mission issued on 24 April a joint press release expressing their concern on the recently adopted Law on churches and religious communities. 15. Together with representatives of the EC and EAR, CoE participated in the public presentation of the National Judicial Strategy, organised by the Ministry of Justice of Serbia on 20 April. 16. The Office participated in the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO Balkan) press conference on conscientious objection, together with a representative of the Ministry of Defence, on 19 April. 17. The Office attended the presentation of the achievements of the National State Courts Centre in the area of court efficiency and management of the backlog of cases, on 12 April. 18 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 Podgorica 1. Political and legislative developments 1. At the session held on 3 April the President of the Republic Referendum Commission, Ambassador Frantisek Lipka, decided that only clearly circled answers on the ballot will be considered valid. On 12 April the Commission determined the forms for conducting the referendum and on 19 April the proto-type of the ballot which will also be printed bilingually for the municipalities as prescribed by law. According to a decision of 27 April a special 90 gramme paper with a water seal will be used for ballot printing. The Republic Referendum Commission also delivered a decision at their sessions held on 3 and 20 April to transfer claims concerning the secret video tape of the attempt to buy votes and violation of law related to issuance of public documents for enrolment in the electoral list in the prescribed period of time to the Office of the Public Prosecutor for further processing. 2. On 3 April the Board of the Parliament for Financing the Referendum Campaign adopted Rules of Procedure and delivered a Decision for the distribution of funds to the participating sides in the campaign. It considered on 19 April the Information drafted by the Ministry of Finance on the use of the State Budgetary Reserves, which was accepted later on 26 April. The Session of the Board held on 27 April dealt with the Report of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy concerning the use of state resources through the Social Work Centres. It will continue work on the same topic on 5 May. 3. Also on 3 April, the Board for Monitoring Media Coverage of the Referendum Campaign adopted Rules of Procedure. At its session on 5 april, the Board failed to achieve agreement about the claim of the Bloc in favour of maintaining the SU stating violation of the rules on balanced representation by the daily “POBJEDA”. The Board was also of divided opinion, when it met on 11 April, on the claim of the Bloc in favour of maintaining the SU alleging violation of the Law on Referendum, Rules for media coverage of the referendum campaign and the spirit of other media legislation by the RTVCG. The session of the Board of 27 April processed 18 claims submitted by the political bloc in favour of independence, out of which 10 concern the reporting of media coming from the other member state, and seven additional claims submitted by the political bloc in favour of maintaining the SU about unbalanced reporting of the RTVCG and the daily “POBJEDA”. It failed to adopt unanimous opinion on these claims as well. 4. The Political Public Opinion Survey of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights presented on 27 April which was conducted in 9 municipalities (Berane, Bijelo Polje, Podgorica, Niksic, Cetinje, Herceg Novi, Bar and Ulcinj) and relevant for the period from 19 to 25 April indicates that 56.3 % of voters support independence, while 43.7% of voters are in favour of maintaining the State Union. Among the five most popular politicians are Milo Djukanovic (DPS), Nebojsa Medojevic (GFC), Ranko Krivokapic (SDP), Branko Lukovac (MFI) and Miodrag Zivkovic (LP). The percentual ethnic structure support to independence is Montenegrins 72.7%, Serbs 6.0%, Bosniaks/Moslems 80.2%, Albanians 95.0% and others 40.0%. 5. The Government adopted on 6 April the Declaration to the citizens on the basic principles of creation of independent Montenegro including: freedom of expression of 19 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 election will, rule of law, protection of human and minority rights, free flow of people, goods, capital and services, market economy, friendly and close cooperation with Serbia, good neighbourly relations, membership in NATO and the EU. 6. A Declaration on the relationship with Serbia after gaining independence was adopted by the Government on 13 April expressing: preparedness to develop and improve cooperation with Serbia in politics, economics, security, education, science, culture, diplomatic-consular relations, as well as in the process of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. It also commits to open borders to facilitate free movement of people, goods, capital, services and information. It comprises guarantees for citizens from Serbia in relation to all existing human rights exercised by the citizens of Montenegro, except the electoral right, guarantees for protection of property rights of the citizens from Serbia in Montenegro, obligation for providing students from Serbia continuation of education under the current conditions and obligation for providing health protection and pension insurance to citizens from Serbia as well. It offers citizens from Serbia the right to choose between Montenegrin or dual citizenship according to the law and expresses the political will to conclude a bilateral agreement with the Government of Serbia about the validity of these principles on a reciprocal basis. 7. At its session of 27 April the Government adopted a Declaration for intensifying the process of accession to the EU pointing out its commitment to European and Euro- Atlantic integration as a strategic goal, determination for further harmonisation of its legal, economic and institutional system with EU standards, preparedness to continue immediately after the referendum negotiation of the SAA, further fostering regional cooperation in the fields of organised crime and corruption, visa regime, asylum, migration, support to the establishment of free trade regime in SEE, tendency to realisation of full membership to WTO, preparedness for fulfilment of the commitments to the Council of Europe and the OSCE, improvement of the conditions for further economic and social cohesion, etc. 8. Mr Svetozar Jovicevic, President of the Steering Board of the Group for Changes resigned on 15 April owing to internal misunderstanding regarding its position about the referendum options and respective call for vote (for independence of Montenegro) to their membership and followers. The resignation of Mr Jovicevic, was followed by resignation of three members of the same body on 20 April. 9. The Government approved the Law on Citizenship at its session of 6 April, and the Law on Protection of National Minorities at its session of 13 April. 10. At its session held on 18 April, Parliament adopted the Law on Continuing Education and Professional Skills Development of Judges and Prosecutors, the Law on Extra- judicial Proceeding and the Changes and Amendments of the Criminal Code increasing the maximum period of imprisonment from 30 to 40 years. 2. Council of Europe Action 11. As part of his visit to Serbia and Montenegro, on 7 April Secretary General Terry Davis held meetings in Podgorica with: the Prime Minister, President of the Republic, President of the Parliament, Minister of Foreign Affairs, representatives of the political bloc campaigning for maintaining the SU, Head of the OSCE-ODIHR Referendum Observation 20 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 Mission and President of the Republic Referendum Commission. The talks concentrated on proper implementation of the referendum legislation and fulfillment of the commitments to the Council of Europe. 12. The third meeting of CoE SRSGs and HoOs in SEE was hosted in Budva on 21 April. This elaborated political developments and priority actions, latest developments on constitution related matters, minority policies and the new EC modalities for cooperation- IPA. The meeting also provided the opportunity for an exchange on the political situation in Montenegro with Mr Jorgen Grunnet, Head of the OSCE-ODIHR Referendum Observation Mission, and Mr Jan Haukaas, Head of the EUMM Office in Podgorica. 13. In accordance with the commitments undertaken during the Training of Trainers on Financial Investigations conducted in Strasbourg in February, the first training seminar in this area was organised on 17 and 18 April. International and local experts, together with representatives of police, prosecution and judiciary, focused on strengthening the capacities of the law enforcement agencies in conducting financial investigation aimed at confiscation of the proceeds from crime, elaborating the issues of concern and the way ahead. The training gained broad publicity which is of crucial importance for further enhancing public awareness about the necessity of efficiently combating organised crime and corruption (CEAD 14446, CARPO). 14. An Information Seminar on the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages on 6 April introduced the Government, Parliament, NGO and media representatives to the contents and scope of the Charter as well as the commitments that derive from ratification. A technical meeting with representatives of the competent authorities was organised on 7 April to present and discuss the methodology of drafting of the periodic reports. 15. A seminar on “Non-legislative measures to prevent trafficking in human beings and strengthen the protection of victims in Montenegro” for judges, representatives of different ministries, social work centres, Ombudsman, media and civil society was carried out in cooperation with the Office of the National Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings from 25 to 28 April. Participants were better acquainted with achievements in Council of Europe member States through presentation of examples of good practices in prevention and protection of victims of trafficking in human beings. Conclusions and recommendations for further action were also drafted (CEAD 14933). 21 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 Pristina 1. Political and legislative developments 1. The Contact Group has submitted to Kosovo authorities ten key topics to be prepared. These topics are: Plan on decentralization, Package of the legal rights for minority communities, Plan of preparation of Kosovo Constitution, Plan on cultural heritage, Agreement on return of displaced persons form Kosovo, Plan on solving property disputes, Plan on international civil and military presence in Kosovo, Plan on solving economic-financial disputes between Kosovo and Serbia and the Agreement on reunion of Mitrovica. 2. Around 1,100 Serb teachers from the northern part of Kosovo have given up their salaries from the Kosovo budget following a call by CCK leader Sanda Raskovic-Ivic. Serb teachers have so far been receiving two salaries, one from Belgrade authorities and the other from Kosovo budget. 3. On 5 April the Special Representative of the Secretary-General promulgated UNMIK Regulation No. 2006/12 on the Establishment of the Human Rights Advisory Panel. 4. The Human Rights Advisory Panel (the Advisory Panel) will render determinations in respect of complaints from persons or group of individuals claiming to be the victim of a violation of their human rights by UNMIK. The decision to establish the Advisory Panel was taken following discussions between UNMIK and the Council of Europe in early 2005. In this process, particular attention has been given to the recommendations of the Venice Commission in its Opinion of 11 October 2004. 5. The Advisory Panel will address the effective lack of jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights over Kosovo. The mandate of the Advisory Panel, as defined in section 1.2 of the Regulation, makes it clear that the term “violation of human rights” refers not only to breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocols but also to breaches of other human rights instruments, exhaustively enumerated in the Regulation and part of the applicable law. 6. The Advisory Panel shall consist of three members who shall be appointed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General upon the proposal of the President of the European Court of Human Rights. 7. On 13 April the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Kosovo (SRSG) Søren Jessen-Petersen signed Regulation No. 2006/14 promulgating the Law on Radio Television of Kosovo adopted by the Assembly of Kosovo. The Law establishes a comprehensive legal framework for accurate and timely broadcasting information for the benefit of Kosovo residents regardless of their ethnicity, language or religion. 8. On 28 April the SRSG promulgated ten Laws adopted by the Assembly: Law on Accreditation; Law on Publishing Activities and Books; Law on Industrial Design; Law on Metrology; Law on Medical Emergency Services; Law on Nature Conservation; Law on 22 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 Establishing the Kosovo Judicial Institute; Law on Vocational Education and Training; Law on the Procedure for the Award of Concessions; and Law on Foreign Investments 9. On 27 April, the SRSG also promulgated two important UNMIK Regulations. The first is the Regulation on a Regulatory Framework for the Justice System in Kosovo, which has been issued for the purpose of ensuring an integrated, independent, professional and impartial justice system responsible for the protection and application of the rule of law in Kosovo. 10. The other is the Regulation Amending UNMIK Regulation No. 2001/19 on the Executive Branch of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government in Kosovo, which provides for the assignment of additional competencies to the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. 11. On 11 April ther Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) held a ceremony where new members were sworn in. KPC now numbers 207 members from minorities most of whom are Serbs. This time, among new members are 12 Serbs, 6 Bosniacs, 4 Croats, 1 Egyptian, 1 Turk and 1 Ashkali. 12. The OSCE has licensed two new political parties – the Alliance for New Kosovo led by businessman Behxhet Pacolli and Serbian Liberal Party (SLS) led by Slobodan Petrovic. 13. On 18 April UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed Steven P. Schook, a former US Army General, who has served in Kosovo, as Principal Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (PDSRSG) in Kosovo. Mr Schook will be replacing Lawrence Rossin who left UNMIK earlier this year 14. On 21 April Portugal's president Anibal Cavaco Silva visited Kosovo, where he met with Portuguese peacekeepers and held talks with SRSG Soren Jessen-Petersen and other officials. 15. On 24 April the SRSG signed Executive Decision No. 2006/9 extending the Special Zoning Area (SZA) - Deçan/Dečani. It contains, among other things, parks, forests of protected trees, a natural spring and the Visoki Decani Monastery, which is the only site in Kosovo included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. 2. Council of Europe action 16. From 4 to 7 April Lord Russell-Johnston, PACE Rapporteur visited Kosovo. He had meetings with the President of Kosovo, Speaker of the Assembly, Deputy Prime Minister, SRSG, representatives of Serb List of Kosovo and also leaders of opposition parties. The Rapporteur also met with different representatives of civil society and visited a Roma settlement in Prizren Municipality. 17. The HoO had meetings with the Minister of Culture, Bishop Theodosije, SRSG‟s Special Adviser, concerning resumption of activities by the Reconstruction Implementation Commission (RIC) and creation of better conditions for its more efficient work. 23 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 18. On 8-9 April in Pristina and on 24-26 April in Strasbourg Workshops dedicated to drafting of Kosovo Law on Cultural Heritage were held with participation of members of Kosovo Assembly Committee for Culture and representatives of the Ministry of Culture. 19. On 27 April the Human Rights Adviser of the CoE Office made a presentation on the Council of Europe and its instruments in the field of human rights and minority rights to human rights officials working within the Government/Ministries. 3. General Security Situation 20. On 25 April, North Station Mitrovice received a report of a suspect destroying grave stones at an Albanian Cemetery. Police responded and located a 37-year-old Roma male suspect in the cemetery and arrested him for damaging approximately 15 grave stones. 21. On 26 April, an explosive device, believed to be a hand-grenade, detonated approximately 3-5 meters from the Municipal Court Building in Zubin Potok. The blast caused material damage to four vehicles and broke windows at the court and buildings across the street. There were no injuries. 24 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 Tirana 1. Political and legislative developments 1. On 10 April, the governing majority and the opposition reached a compromise on the Assembly Rules of Procedures, which restored normality in Parliament following 50 days of deadlock. The Council on Regulations, Mandates and Immunities unanimously voted in favour of amendment to the Assembly Rules of Procedures, according to which the dismissals and appointments of heads of institutions will now be put to a secret ballot- box vote when requested by at least seven Members of Parliament (MPs), until a new safe electronic system is in place. 2. On 2 May, the Assembly voted in favour of the establishment of an ad hoc Parliamentary Inquiry Committee on performance of General Prosecutor (75 MPs of the governing majority voted in favour, the opposition MPs boycotted the vote). This followed the request for the dismissal of the General Prosecutor Theodhori Sollaku submitted on 18 April by 28 MPs of the governing majority to the Speaker of the Assembly Jozefina Topalli. 3. On 25 April, President of the Republic Alfred Moisiu decreed the “Law on the legalisation, urbanisation and integration of illegal constructions”, the “Law on the public‟s co-operation in the fight against corruption” and the “Moratorium on speed boats”. These three controversial laws, contested from the opposition and interest groups, had been voted during the 3 April Plenary session. 4. The Social Democratic Party, the Democratic Alliance and the Social Democracy Party signed on 21 April a preliminary agreement of co-operation with the Socialist Party ahead of the upcoming local elections. The only opposition party that did not sign the agreement was the Socialist Movement for Integration. 5. The EC has proposed to the EU that the signing of the SAA with Albania be completed by June of this year. The signing will then open the way to ratification of the Agreement by all 25 EU member countries. 6. On 25 April, the OSCE Chairman-in Office, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, visited Albania and met with President Alfred Moisiu, Prime Minister Sali Berisha and Foreign Minister Besnik Mustafaj. 7. The latest report of the United Nations‟ Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) on trafficking in human beings ranked Albania very high both as an origin and transit country. 2. Council of Europe action 8. From 3 to 6 April, PACE Co-rapporteurs Leo Platvoet and David Wilshire came to Albania for an information visit. They had meetings with the Prime Minister, with the Speaker of Parliament and with other Albanian Authorities. They also met with representatives of the international community and civil society. The issues discussed 25 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 included, amongst others, the functioning of democratic institutions, electoral reform, fight against corruption and organised crime, the functioning of the judiciary, implementation of legislation, local self-government, as well as human rights issues. 9. Council of Europe Congress rapporteurs Guido Rhodio and Jean-Claude Van Cauwenberghe, accompanied by the expert Professor John Loughlin, paid an official visit to Albania with a view to preparing a monitoring report on local and regional democracy in Albania. During this visit the Congress delegation met high representatives of the Government and Parliament, members of associations of local and regional authorities, Mayor of Tirana, representatives of international institutions in Albania and NGOs. 10. On 8 April, representatives of the Secretariat (DG3) came to Tirana to participate in a Conference for the Celebration of the International Roma Day, jointly organised by the State Committee for Minorities and NGOs. The Deputy Prime Minister opened the celebration. 11. The Directorate of Cooperation for Local and Regional Democracy (DG1) organised on 20 April in Tirana the Launching Workshop of its new Capacity Building Programme. This event was co-organised with the Association of Albanian Municipalities and the OSCE Presence in Albania. On 21 April, the Secretariat (DGI) met with the Deputy Minister of Interior, Mr Ferdinand Poni, to discuss the updating of the National Work Programme for better local government in Albania and of the National Training Strategy for Local Government. 12. On 29 April, a Secretariat mission (DGPA) attended a Seminar organised in Tirana by the students of the Albanian School of Politics, about “Reforms challenge and commitments”. Presentations were given by national experts on the challenges and commitments of Economic Reforms, Institutional Reform in Albania, Role of Media in Albania, and Albania in Regional Development and its membership in NATO. 13. In the framework of the Joint Programme EC/CoE on Support to the training of court administrators in Albania, CoE Office in Tirana had several meetings with key Albanian authorities, including the Minister of Justice, the Director of the School of Magistrates and the Director of Judicial Budget Office. 14. On 13-14 April, within the framework of the CARDS Regional Police project, the CoE organised a training event on financial investigations and confiscation of proceeds from crime. This training gathered practitioners and experts from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, judicial police officers, prosecutors and judges. The objective of this training was to enhance the knowledge in the field of financial investigations and confiscation of proceeds from crime, and to test and further improve the training material on this topic. 3. Other action / coordination and cooperation with partner organisations 15. On 10-12 April, a regional workshop 'Engaging SEE Parliamentarians in the fight against organised crime', was organised by OSCE Presence in Albania and the Stability Pact for South-eastern Europe. The Prime Minister of Albania, the Speaker of the Assembly, parliamentarians from all the SEE countries were among the participants. A presentation on the situation of organised and economic crime in South-eastern Europe was given by the Secretariat (DG1). 26 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 16. On 13 April, the Special Adviser met with OSCE Rapporteur Wolfgang Grossruck visiting Albania to prepare a report on the Western Balkans, which will be presented at the next annual meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels in July. * * * Activities of the Information Office of the Council of Europe (IOCE) Seminars, conferences and other activities: 7 April – The IOCE organised a press conference, at its premises, to inform media on the purpose of the Assembly co-rapporteurs‟ monitoring mission in Albania. 12 and 19 April – The IOCE, in cooperation with the agency for monitoring of Strategy of Roma, organised in Shkoder and Durres two seminars with the participation of senior representatives at local level aiming to introduce the national strategy on Roma and CoE recommendations on implementation of the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities. 14 April – The IOCE organised the launch of the publication of “Case Law of Strasbourg Court”, a publication made in the framework of CoE-EC joint programme. A panel of representatives from CoE, EC, ECoHR and European Centre introduced to about 70 representatives of judiciary, parliament, government, NGOs and other legal professionals the purpose and content of the publication. Publications and Translations: - Translation of Fact Sheet on the campaign “Building a Europe with and for Children” - Translation of website texts - Translation and publication of the article at Shekulli newspaper by the DSG Ms Maud de Boer-Buquicchio at the launching conference of the campaign “Building a Europe with and for Children” in Monaco. 27 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 Skopje 1. Political and legislative developments 1. The last public poll released by IRI on 4 April and conducted in the second half of March showed that DUI, the Albanian party of the ruling coalition, and VMRO-DPMNE, the opposition ethnic Macedonian party, are taking the lead far ahead of DPA from the opposition and SDSM, the party of the current Prime Minister. This confirms the tendency outlined in the previous poll, published last January. 2. At its session held on 14 April, the Parliament officially elected the seven members of the State Election Commission in charge of the implementation of the electoral process for the forthcoming parliamentary elections. Three of the members are former or current deputy ministers. The President who has been proposed by the opposition according to an earlier compromise with the Government is Mr Jovan Josifovski, Deputy Secretary General of the Parliament. The members of the State Election Commission have a five- year mandate and will be full-time professionals. 3. On 21 April, Ljupco Jordanovski, Speaker of the Parliament, officially announced that the parliamentary elections will take place on 5 July 2006. Meanwhile, the Parliament will remain in function in order to pass a set of four laws on Judiciary following the constitutional amendments on Judiciary reform, adopted late 2005. The first step of the new State Election Commission will be to select the public administration employees who together with representatives of the political parties will compose the municipal electoral commissions and the election boards. 4. On the same day, the President Branko Crvenkovski held a meeting with the mayors of the 85 municipalities so as to raise public awareness ahead of the electoral campaign. The President reiterated the crucial importance of fair and orderly elections for the country and its citizens. He came up with concrete recommendations for the mayors to create a favourable environment for such achievement. He announced that the next meeting with political parties will complete the series of five high-level events. 5. President Crvenkovski publicly reacted on 26 April to the recent statement by the Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku for non recognition of the Skopje-Belgrade agreement on border demarcation. He stated that such position is “not in favour of the good- neighbourly relations“ and he reasserted that there will be no re-negotiation on the border demarcation. 6. According to news published on 27 April, the construction of the monument of Nuri Mazari a.k.a Commander Struga who was killed last year in a shootout has been stopped in Struga. The decision of the mayor of Struga municipality triggered tensions and fierce reactions from the local Macedonian and other non-Albanian communities in spite of previous warnings and advice by the international community. 28 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 2. Council of Europe action 7. On 5 April, the Resident Expert attended the session of the Roma Action Fund with participation of the Ministry of Education. The event was attended by large number of NGOs and various representatives of the Roma Community with a view to raise public awareness and funding for core programmes on Education. 8. Between 10 and 14 April, the Resident Expert visited the Secretariat General of the State Election Commission in order to assess the needs for training projects for the future Election Commission members. 9. On 7 and 11 April, the Resident Expert and the European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR) representatives initiated preparatory work in view of a future joint programme EAR–Council of Europe for electoral instructors within the overall education project for election commission members. 10. The Resident Expert and the Director of the Information Office met with Mr Dane Iliev, President of the Supreme Court, to discuss further cooperation between the Council of Europe and the Supreme Court on training in the field of electoral disputes and foreign experiences in the light of the upcoming parliamentary elections. 11. On 14 April, Mr Grega Strban, Professor at the University of Ljubjana, drafted a report with a view to identifying the need for changing or supplementing the existing social security legislation related to areas of health, pension and invalidity insurance and unemployment benefits in accordance with the Council of Europe and European Union standards on Social Security Co-ordination. 12. The Resident Expert together with the Director of the Information Office took part on 27 April in a joint interview within the Programme “EvroMak”, a co-production between the Macedonian National Television (MTV) and the German ZDF. The whole programme was dedicated to the presentation of the Council of Europe and its projects in the country. The thirty–minute programme will be on air at evening news time on 5 May Europe Day. 3. Other action/coordination and cooperation with partner organisations 13. The Resident Expert and the Director of the Information Office held a meeting on 7 April with Mr Andrew Hadleyi, Director of the British Council in Skopje and Mr Babis Papaioannou, Team leader of the European Union – funded programme “Together for Youth“ focusing on a Youth campaign on Tolerance. Besides exchange of information, complementary activities between the Council of Europe training programmes and local structures of the future Youth Parliament were considered. 14. On 13-14 April, the Resident Expert had several meetings with the Country Directors of IFES, NDI and the Manager of the joint project Norway-OSCE on Elections. The objective was to get acquainted with election-oriented activities by organisations present in the country in order to identify potential cooperation and coordination with the Council of Europe Action Plan for Elections. 15. On 27 April, the Resident Expert took part, along with the Head of the European Commission Delegation and the Head of the OSCE Mission, at the introductory session of 29 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 the State Election Commission. The common message on the crucial importance of the parliamentary elections was delivered at this official event. * * * Activities of the Information Office of the Council of Europe (IOCE) Seminars, conferences and other activities: 4 April - Launching of a campaign on “Children and Violence” As part of the cooperation with the national media, the campaign on “Children and Violence” was launched on 4 April in the media by broadcasting CoE documentary film on Children and Violence on Macedonian National Television. 20 April - CoE Information stand on the occasion of “International Book Day” at the Book Fair The IOCE participated with a stand at the International Book Fair, organised by the National Library in Stip under the auspices of the Mayor of Stip on the occasion of the 60 years of existence of the National Library. The CoE publications and brochures were presented to the public at the Book Fair, followed by video presentation of CoE documentary films. The IOCE will set up a CoE Infopoint, which will be opened within the National Library in Stip. 28 April - Sum Up Conference on the European Year of Democratic Citizenship and promotion of the Macedonian edition of COMPASS The Macedonian edition of COMPASS-Manual for Human Rights with Young People was promoted as part of the Sum up Conference on “The European Year of Democratic Citizenship”. The aim was to present to participants and media representatives the aim and content of the Manual, and copies were distributed for use to educational establishments, training entities, professionals and NGOs. Publications and translations: Distribution of CoE publications: The IOCE in Skopje distributed 50 copies of the ECHRs and 40 copies of the Human Rights Handbook on Article 5 of ECHR for the needs of two human rights trainings for the employees in the Ombudsman‟s office, implemented on 25–28 April and 3–6 May 2006 by OSCE, in cooperation with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute and supported by SIDA. The IOCE distributed 40 copies of the ECHR – Starting Points for Teachers for the pupils of the Elementary School Dane Krapcev in Skopje, who participated in the Interactive games on human rights, organised as part of the project “The School – a Place for Promoting Human Rights Values” by the NGO Women Action. Translation: The IOCE translated a script of CoE documentary films on Child Violence, Racism and Roma Forum for broadcasting on National Television. The IOCE translated the following CoE documents and publications: 30 DGAP/Inf(2006)16 - Women‟s Individual Voting Rights – Democratic Requirements in Turkish and Roma language; - Handbook on Media and Elections in Turkish and Roma; - the Code of Good Practice and Guidelines of the Venice Commission in Roma; - the Measures concerning Media Coverage of Election Campaigns in Macedonian language. In addition, the IOCE translated the Electoral Code from Macedonian into English language.
Pages to are hidden for
"Information Documents"Please download to view full document