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Home arrow newsitems arrow Sources: Anti-Corruption Inquiry on CoE Parliamentary Assembly may extend to Other Areas/Bodies

Sources: Anti-Corruption Inquiry on CoE Parliamentary Assembly may extend to Other Areas/Bodies

Written by ACM
Friday, 20 April 2018
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- An Independent Experts' Inquiry on Corruption, exceptionally set up top check Allegations of wrongdoing in CoE's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), might Extend its Findings and/or Conclusions also to various Other Areas of the 47 Member Countries-wide PanEuropean Organisation, as it results from Converging Sources which spoke to "Eurofora", before a Final Report might soon become Public.


Indeed, a very well informed Source, concerning that Independent External Committee, has Revealed to "Eurofora", already since the Beginning of 2018, that its Investigations had Found that, in fact, Corruption-related Problems go Deeper and would be much More Widely Spread than initially thought, Extending also in several Other among CoE's many Activities and/or Bodies, withOut being Limited Only to certain MEPs.


The initial Time-limit of that Exceptional Independent Investigation, Decided on April 2017 and Set up since June that same year, had been Scheduled for the End of 2017, but, later-on, its Mandate was Prolonged further, also into 2018, resulting nowadays in a Confidential Report that will be Discussed by PACE's Bureau on the forthcoming Sunday, which will Decide on any concrete Measures that might be necessary to be taken.


=> During the regular Press-Briefing of Strasbourg's permanent European Journalists, this Friday Morning, (April 19, 2018), "Eurofora" asked PACE's experienced Secretary General, Wojciech Sawicki, from Poland, whether, in Theory, as a matter of General Principle, it might be Possible for that Special Independent Committee to eventually Conclude that Anti-Corruption Measures should also Extend to several Other CoE's areas of activities, bodies and/or staff, (f.ex. Inter-Governemental or Independent, Secretariat, Ad Hoc Experts, Local/Regional Authorities' representatives, INGOS, etc).


- Given the Fact that both the Activities of that Independent Anti-Corruption Committee, as well as its Draft Report, are, at least until Sunday Evening, strictly Confidential, Sawicki naturally Replied that he canNot Say Anything Now about the Actual Content of that Report.


- But, from a purely "Theoretical" point of view, "Nothing is Impossible", he Carefully added to the amove-mentioned "Eurofora"s Question. The Members of that "Group of Investigation on Allegations of Corruption" (known as "GIAC") are the former President of ECHR, Sir Nicolas Bratza, from the UK, Top Judge Jean-Luis Bruguiere, formerly in charge of Anti-Terrorist Investigations in France during a Long Time, and Anti-Terrorist Expert for International Organisations, as well as for Other States, and Elisabet Fura, former ECHR's Swedish Euro-Judge and f. Parliamentary Head Ombudsperson in Sweden.


Whatever might, eventually, be the Outcome of GIAC's Report, it obviously seems almost certain that it will be Discussed, in one way or another, during PACE's Plenary Session for Spring 2018, Next Week in Strasbourg (from Monday to Friday, included, April 23-27, 2018).
Already, a "Side Event" on the "Follow-up of the Inquiry on Allegations of Corruption inside the Parliamentary Asszembly", is Organized by MEPs Franck Schwabe from Germany, and Pieter Omtzigt from the Netherlands, (a Socialist and a ChristianDemocrat/EPP, respectively), for Monday Afternoon.


Curiously, it was Scheduled at Exactly the Same Day, and even Hours and Minutes, with anOther "Side Event", on "the Turkish (Military) Invasion of (Syria's Kurdish Canton of) Afrin : an Urgent Humanitarian Crisis", organized by MEPs Tiny Cox and Nikolaj Villumsen, respectively from the Netherlands and Denmark, both from the "EuroLeft" Group, of which the First is its Long-Time President.


Thirty (30) various such "Side Events" are currently Scheduled during 4 Days, between Monday and Thursday (included), as usual, at Different Times, (on Various Hours in the Mornings, Noons, or Early Afternoons, even at the Evening).

 

(../..)


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ECHR's President to "EuroFora" on Journalists Gongadze and Adali murders : Principles must apply to all States, without discrimination.


+ ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression (See below).


 European Court of Human Rights' President, Jean-Paul Costa, questioned by "EuroFora" on Journalists' murders, as in Gongadze and Adali's cases etc., strongly stressed all CoE Member States' obligation to make efficient Investigations to find and punish those responsible, and underlined that ECHR's case-law's principles must apply to all without any discrimination.

His call was clearly supported by various Top MEPs who denounced a risk of "Double Standards" if some Journalists' murders are investigated, while others don't.

To avoid such risks, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly adopted a Resolution, on the occasion of Ukranian Journalist Gongadze's murder, "stressing", as a matter of general Principle, "the importance it attaches to the safety of Journalists and political activists, especially those linked to opposition groups, in ALL member states of the CoE". All "crimes against journalists and political activists must be investigated ... as a matter of priority, without political interference".

Costa was replying to "EuroFora"s question on the fact that, after CoE's Committee of Ministers, also CoE's Assembly had just adopted a Resolution on Gongadze murder case, based on an ECHR's judgement of 2005, asking a full Investigation from Ukraine, who has found and condemned  in 10 years of jail 2 executants, but not yet the instigators.

While nothing similar was yet done for dissident Turkish Cypriot Kutlu Adali's murder, with 5 bullets shot at his head out of his Family's home in the territories of Cyprus occupied by Ankara's army, despite another ECHR's judgement of the same year 2005, and despite Turkey's claim that nobody was found among those responsible for the murder, and that there was nothing more to do..

In order to be credible and efficient, CoE's mechanisms shouldn't find a way to at least ask for full investigations of all Journalists' murders anywhere they might be committed, without exceptions ?

adali_gongadze


- "On the larger question that you raised, I'd like to say, since we are in a period of stock-taking on ECHR's 50 Years, that the Court's case-law developed certain concepts ....such as the Positive obligations of States, part of which are also the procedural obligations", started to reply ECHR's President.

 - "Whenever Journalists, Lawyers, Defenders of Human Rights, or even simple Citizens are murdered, the States are held responsible, not only if its their own security forces' agents who committed these murders, but also if they didn't make sufficiently substantial and efficient Investigations", he stressed.

- "I want to strongly underline that we (ECHR) have found in many cases numerous violations of Articles 2 and 3 against States, ....(about) murders or torture, ...because they didn't make enough Investigations in order to try to find and punish those responsible".

- "We (ECHR) do that vis-a-vis all 47 (CoE) Member States, without any discrimination".

"Naturally, the circumstances in each particular case may be differend, and we can't ommit to apply the rules of proof, or the rules of criminal procedure".

"But we try, by all means, to apply these principles of our case-law, to all States", he concluded.

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      Costa's call was strongly supported by several Top CoE MEPs, from various Political areas


- "To investigate the murder of one Journalist, and not of another, looks like Double Standards", denounced the President of EuroLeft Group in CoE's Assembly, Dutch MEP Tiny Cox.  

- "What is the reason ? Politics or specificity of a case ? Of course, if Cyprus and Turkey are involved, it's always a Political case"..

- "Murders of Journalists should always be fully investigated, because killing Journalists is not only killing persons, but also killing Free Press".  "We (CoE's Assembly) should do our outmost to help People who are working on Free Press and they are under threat or murdered".

Because for Free Politics, Free Press is a pre-requisitive : Parliamentarians  cannot  function without a Free Press. Not investigating, is not protecting ourselves".

So we should investigate all Journalists' murders : We are talking about Gongadze, about the Cypriot man (Adali), about the Journalist murdered in Moscow one week ago, etc", Cox concluded

- "CoE can' look at these cases differently. CoE can't wear Blinckers  !".
- "If the one is investigated, so has to be also the other. Why there wasn't full investigation ? Why's that ?", wondered British  Socialist MEP, Alan Meale.

- "A good idea" would be to "make a Motion for Resolution", and "join all Journalists' murders. Adali and Gongadze etc", said to "EuroFora" EU Parliament Political affairs Committee's President, Goran Lindbland, ChristianDemocrat MEP from Sweden.


(See also earlier News at "EuroFora" on similar issues).
-------------------------------

ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression :


    Almost Half of condemnations by ECHR for violations of Freedom of Expression in 2008, concern Turkey : 20 out of a total of 48 for all CoE's Member States.

    Russia, Poland, France and Moldova were condemned only 3 times. Romania, Greece, Portugal, 2 times, and the other CoE Member States only 1 time, or none.
--------------------
    During the last Decade : 1998 - 2008, Turkey was condemned for violating Freedom of Expression in ..169 cases, while Austria only in 24.

    France and Moldova in 14 and 13, respectively, closely followed by Russia and Poland with 11 and 10, respectively. The rest of CoE Member States had less than ten condemnations.    
    

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