Politbureau and the Council of Europe

Politbureau and the Council of Europe
by Haroutiun Khachatrian

NT Highlights #18 (520)
10 May, 2004

Council of Europe is not the Soviet-era Politbureau of the Central Committee
of the CPSU, where they make decisions and compel to fulfil them. This
declaration was made by the President Robert Kocharian on May 6. We think
this is a sort of manifest to Armenian authorities, which has formed the
basis of their actions for, at least, the last three years. More
importantly, they will be guided by this principle in the near future, in
particular, when preparing their answer to the PACE April 28 Resolution. To
say it more clearly, Armenia sees it possible to ignore at least some of the
positions of the PACE document.

Which ones? President’s statement contains implications for possible reply
to this question as well. “There are no serious problems in its informative
part, but there are inaccuracies in the descriptive part connected directly
to the events”. This phrase, which cannot be named as a very clear one,
apparently means, that the Armenian authorities will agree with the PACE
document “in theory”, but will challenge it “in practice”. In other words,
they will agree that democracy is a good thing, but will argue that Armenia
fails to meet the democracy standards. For example, Armenia officially lacks
the institute of administrative detentions, and in all cases arrest of the
people is done only by the decision of the court. Correct. But there still
remains to be sure that: i. No unregistered detentions occur, ii. The courts
are independent of the executive power, iii. …

Of course, the Council of Europe has no resource, nor the powers to check
this type of details. It is not a Politbureau, Kocharian is correct. Nor
will the opposition and/or human rights supporting organizations be able to
do this. And moreover, the CoE will not be able to compel their fulfillment.