Parliamentary Assembly session : 31 March – 4 April 2003

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Online video resources

Parliamentary Assembly website

Press releases

Order of Business

Press conferences

Report summaries

Official reports of debates

Exhibitions during the session

Assembly to debate so-called “honour crimes”

The Parliamentary Assembly is ending its spring session on 4 April with a debate on so-called ''honour crimes''. In her report, presented on behalf of the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, Ann Cryer (United Kingdom, SOC) has expressed great concern about the increase of crimes committed in the name of the ''honour of the family''. Some 5,000 women fall victim to ''honour crimes'' around the world every year. The main recommendations include reinforcing the legislation against such crimes and granting women escaping them residence or even asylum in member states. (more...)

Text of the report

Interview with Lydie Err, on so-called ''honour crimes''

Council of Europe parliamentarians call for an end to the hostilities in Iraq

In a resolution adopted on 3 April, the Assembly condemned the military intervention in Iraq, which, in its view, was unlawful and contrary to the principles of international law, and asked the governments of the states involved to put an immediate end to the hostilities. It expressed its concern that the war may undermine international cohesion against terrorism, strengthen radical groups and further destabilise the Middle East. (more…)

Debate under urgent procedure: Europe and the crisis in Iraq (Doc. 9768)

Resolution 1316 (2003) Irak

Special file

Urgent debate on Iraq

Walter Schwimmer: We should start thinking about the post-war situation in Iraq

Peter Schieder: ''We want action − but we want it to be taken in accordance with international law''

Serbia and Montenegro, the Council of Europe's 45th member state

Serbia and Montenegro has become, on 3 April 2003, the Council of Europe 45th member State. The ceremony was attended by the President of Serbia and Montenegro, Svetozvar Marovic, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Goran Svilanovic, and Speaker of Parliament, Dragoljub Micunovic. Serbia and Montenegro acceded to the Statute of the Council of Europe and signed the European Convention on Human Rights, Protocols Nos 6 and 13 concerning the abolition of the death penalty, as well as Protocols Nos 1, 4, 7 and 12.

Special file

Committee of Ministers Resolution (2003)3

Serbia and Montenegro and the Council of Europe


The accession ceremony

Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha visits the Council of Europe

A l’occasion de la session de l’Assemblée parlementaire, Siméon de Saxe-Cobourg Gotha, Premier Ministre de Bulgarie, est en visite officielle au Conseil de l’Europe le jeudi 3 avril. Le Premier Ministre s’est adressé aux membres de l’Assemblée à 15h00, et a répondu aux questions des parlementaires.

The visit in pictures


Joseph Borg hopes for an early end of the war in Iraq

''One can only hope that this war will come to an early end and that all the suffering and disruption experienced by ordinary Iraqi people will also cease in the very short term,'' stressed Joseph Borg, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta and Chairman-in-Office of the Committee of Ministers, when presenting the Committee of Ministers’ communication to the Parliamentary Assembly on Thursday 3 April. (more…)

The Committee of Ministers chairmanship

Committee of Ministers’ communication

Council of Europe parliamentarians call for an end to the ''climate of impunity'' in Chechnya

If the efforts to bring to justice those guilty of human rights abuses are not intensified, and the climate of impunity in the Chechen Republic prevails, the international community should consider setting up an ad hoc tribunal to try war crimes and crimes against humanity in the republic, according to the Parliamentary Assembly which debated on 2 April a report by Rudolf Bindig (Germany, SOC).

Text of the report

Resolution 1315 (2003)

Interview with Rudolf Bindig

Special file

Interview with Mike Hancock: “Any country that fails to love its children has no right to call itself civilised!”

Abandoned by their families because of their disabilities or because their parents are unable to look after them, hundreds of thousands of children are still languishing in orphanages or other institutions unsuited to their conditions. More often than not, they only leave these institutions to end up on the street or in the asylums. The British Liberal MP, Mike Hancock, urges Europe to take action to improve their lot.


Text of the report

A Europe-wide instrument to protect sign languages

The Parliamentary Assembly called, on 2 April 2003, for a new legal instrument to be drawn up protecting the rights of sign language users across the continent. The Assembly adopted a report by Malcolm Bruce (UK, LDR) requesting either a new instrument specifically aimed at protecting sign languages or the addition of a protocol to the existing Convention on Minority Languages giving sign languages equal status to their spoken counterparts. “The lack of sign language recognition leads to important disadvantages in the workplace and society,” argued Mr Bruce.

Video record of the debate in the sign language

Text of the report

Interview of Malcom Bruce

Special file

The other points of the session

Assembly elects three new judges to the Human Rights Court

Giovanni Crema : ''A budget of 200m € is needed to achieve the goals of the Council of Europe''

Swiss Latenium Museum receives Council of Europe award

Assembly approves plans to improve protection of transported animals

Background information

The Council of Europe in brief

The Council of Europe






the Russian Federation



Simeon de Saxe-Cobourg, Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria [04.04.2003]

Dragoljub Micunovic, President of the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro [03.04.2003]

Peter Schieder, Parliamentary Assembly President [03.04.2003]

Joseph Borg, Maltese Foreign Minister and Committee of Ministers’ Chairman [03.04.2003]

Walter Schwimmer, Council of Europe Secretary General [03.04.2003]

Peter Schieder, Parliamentary Assembly President [31.03.2003]


Peter Schieder, Parliamentary Assembly President

Walter Schwimmer, Council of Europe Secretary General

Joseph Borg, Maltese Foreign Minister and Committee of Ministers’ Chairman

Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Prime Minister of Bulgaria