Organisation and Mandates of the Secretariat
Table of contents
Private Office of the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General
Secretariat of the Committee of Ministers (SecCM)
Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly
Directorate of Communications (DC)
Directorate of Internal Oversight
Directorate of Policy Planning (DPP)
Directorate of Political Affairs (DPA)
Directorate of External Relations (DER)
Directorate of Legal Advice and Public International Law (DLAPIL)
Office of the Directorate General of Programmes (ODGP)
Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law (DGI)
Directorate General Democracy (DGII)
Directorate General of Administration (DGA)
Secretariat of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
Registry of the European Court of Human Rights
To advise, assist and report to the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General in all matters relating to their office.
- To ensure implementation by the Secretariat of the policy and management priorities of the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General;
- to co-ordinate the activities of the different parts of the Secretariat with a view to promoting transversality, co-operation, efficiency and focus on priorities;
- to co-ordinate the preparation of official visits of the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General, of their meetings and of their participation in internal and external events, and to ensure follow-up including feedback to the services involved in such events;
- to communicate and represent the Council of Europe in matters concerning the Private Office;
- to provide secretariat support to the governance structures of senior management (Senior Management Group and General Affairs Team);
- to ensure the preparation and smooth implementation of the Secretary General’s reform policy.
To meet these objectives, the Private Office
- helps to establish objectives to be set by Major Administrative Entities in line with the priorities fixed by the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General and ensures appropriate follow-up and implementation within a given timeframe;
- prepares briefings for the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General on all matters relating to their office;
- prepares Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General communications to the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe;
- assists and advises the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General before, during and after meetings; ensures proper preparation and follow-up;
- prepares meetings of the Secretariat governance structures, distributes conclusions and ensures follow-up to decisions taken;
- prepares and co-ordinates, together with the Directorate of Political Affairs and other Major Administrative Entities, the Secretary General’s and Deputy Secretary General’s official visits, participation in Ministerial Conferences and other missions, and accompanies, when appropriate, the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General on such visits;
- establishes working relations with the Ministers’ Deputies, members of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and the Commissioner for Human Rights;
- participates in the preparation, organisation and follow-up of meetings with other international organisations (UN, EU, OSCE and other international and regional organisations);
- fosters relations with its counterparts in member states and other international institutions/organisations;
- convenes co-ordination meetings at the request of the Secretary General or Deputy Secretary General with services concerned, for the purpose of rationalising the work and ensuring synergy both within each Major Administrative Entity and between Major Administrative Entities;
- promotes communication between different parts of the Secretariat to avoid duplication of tasks and activities and increase synergy;
- advises/mediates in case of competing interests between different Major Administrative Entities;
- initiates and promotes internal and external communication, in close co-operation with the Directorate of Communications (DC);
- distributes all incoming mail addressed to the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General to the services concerned and ensures that action is taken on it;
- assists the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General in preparing their decisions on staff matters including appointments at senior level;
- approves documents and texts prepared by the Secretariat and authorises their issue;
- organises regular meetings between the Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General and senior management.
To ensure the functioning of the Committee of Ministers as the decision-making organ of the Council of Europe.
- To prepare and organise the meetings of the Ministers, their Deputies and subsidiary groups;
- to assist the Chairmanship in preparing and running meetings, communications and exchanges of views;
- to assist the chairpersons of rapporteur and working groups, and thematic coordinators in the discharge of their duties;
- to facilitate liaison between permanent representations and the Council of Europe Secretariat;
- to facilitate dialogue between the Committee of Ministers and committees reporting to it and the institutional partners in the Council of Europe;
- to foster relations with other international institutions and organisations, in co-operation with the Directorate of External Relations;
- to disseminate information about the Committee of Ministers, in co-operation with the Directorate of Communications (DC).
To meet these objectives, the SecCM
- establishes and distributes files, prepares documents for and conclusions of the meetings of Ministers and their Deputies, of rapporteur and working groups, and of thematic coordinators; maintains the Committee of Ministers website to this effect;
- assists and advises the chairpersons of meetings before, during and after meetings;
- prepares, through documentation and briefings, the Secretary General, the Deputy Secretary General and senior Secretariat representatives for contacts with the Committee of Ministers and facilitates co-ordination within the Secretariat in matters pertaining to the Committee of Ministers;
- prepares, through documentation, drafts and briefings, the dialogue between the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly, the European Court of Human Rights, the Congress and the Commissioner for Human Rights;
- participates in the material and intellectual organisation of “2+2/ 3+3” (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe – OSCE), Quadripartite (European Union – EU) and Tripartite (United Nations and OSCE) meetings as well as of meetings with representatives of other international organisations;
- monitors the taking of appropriate follow-up action on the decisions of the Committee of Ministers by the relevant Council of Europe entities;
- contributes to the appropriate media impact of the work of the Committee of Ministers, in co-operation with the DC;
- informs interested target groups and the general public about the Committee of Ministers’ work.
According to Article 64 of the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure:
“1. The Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly shall be run by the Secretary General of the Assembly who is elected by it and shall be assisted by the administrative staff required for its work.
2. The Secretary General of the Assembly shall perform his duties under the authority of the Assembly and shall be responsible and accountable to its Bureau.”
The Secretariat of the Assembly is composed of directorates (which include secretariats of committees and units) and the Private Office of the President. The structure and tasks of each of them are determined by the Secretary General of the Assembly, who is also responsible for the management of the Assembly’s human resources and budget.
The Secretary General of the Assembly has the rank of Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe (see Resolution (49) 20 of the Committee of Ministers).
To supply the Assembly with the assistance required for its proper functioning and for the fulfilment of its political mandate. This includes providing support for its bodies (President, Bureau, Presidential Committee, Standing Committee, committees and sub-committees). The statutory role and structure of the Assembly is described in Appendix 1.
- To ensure the smooth functioning of the Assembly and its bodies (President, Bureau, Presidential Committee, Standing Committee, committees and sub-committees);
- to prepare the groundwork for all Assembly activities and programmes and to provide assistance to the members of the Assembly;
- to follow up the decisions taken by the Assembly and its bodies;
- to organise specialised conferences and colloquies, hearings and other activities.
To meet these objectives, the Secretariat of the Assembly
- provides the appropriate infrastructure and support for the Assembly part-sessions and the numerous meetings held under the auspices of the Assembly both in Strasbourg and elsewhere;
- provides administrative and other support in organising the work of the President, Bureau, Presidential Committee, Standing Committee, committees and sub-committees, in particular:
- to ensure follow-up of the decisions taken by the Assembly and its bodies;
- to prepare the groundwork (in particular research, analysis, contacts, drafting of documents, speeches and notes) for all the Assembly’s activities and programmes;
- to organise the official missions and travel of, and provide assistance to, the members of the Assembly in their missions on behalf of the Assembly;
- maintains working relations with the political groups of the Assembly;
- organises the external contacts of the Assembly with, inter alia, national parliaments, international parliamentary assemblies, international organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs);
- manages the assistance programmes for national parliaments of central and east European countries and organises the observation of elections;
- ensures good relations between the Assembly and its institutional partners in the Council of Europe, notably the Committee of Ministers, the Congress, the European Court of Human Rights and the Commissioner for Human Rights;
- maintains contacts and working relations with Council of Europe committees of governmental experts;
- co-operates with other Council of Europe entities engaged in related activities and issues, for example with the Venice Commission and the North-South Centre;
- takes into consideration in all its activities, as appropriate, the importance of internal and external communication, in collaboration with the Directorate of Communications;
- in collaboration with relevant administrative entities of the DGA:
- prepares the Assembly budget, maintains financial statistics and ensures the management of the budget in compliance with the financial regulations of the Council of Europe and the principles of sound financial management;
- develops and manages the computer facilities available to the Assembly secretariat, including the Assembly voting system, databases and websites; provides user training and support during the Assembly part-sessions.
Appendix 1: Statutory role and structure of the Parliamentary Assembly
- The Parliamentary Assembly is the parliamentary organ of the Council of Europe and provides political impetus to the Council’s actions. The Assembly may discuss and make recommendations upon any matter within the aim and scope of the Council of Europe.
- The Assembly gives its opinion on requests for accession to the Council of Europe, as well as for Observer status, and is formally consulted on draft conventions and other legal instruments of the Council of Europe.
- The Assembly is composed of parliamentarians appointed by the national parliaments of the Council of Europe member states, as well as members from Observer delegations. Its role and functions are defined in Chapter V of the Statute of the Council, in particular Articles 22 to 24.
- The Assembly elects its President and Vice-Presidents and sets up the general committees.
- The Assembly elects the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe (Article 36 of the Statute) as well as the Secretary General of the Assembly (Resolution (49) 20). It also elects the judges to the European Court of Human Rights (Article 22 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) and the Commissioner for Human Rights (Resolution (99) 50). It is furthermore involved in the procedure for the appointment of members of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Article 5 of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment).
- The Assembly meets four times a year in plenary session (“part-sessions”), usually the last full week in January, April, June and September. Between part-sessions, the Standing Committee acts on behalf of the Assembly. The debates of the Assembly and Standing Committee are conducted by the President, who also ensures observance of the Rules of Procedure.
- The President, the Vice-Presidents, the leaders of the political groups and the chairpersons of the nine committees form the Bureau of the Assembly. The Bureau is chaired by the President of the Assembly. It is responsible for the co-ordination of the activities of the Assembly and its committees. It also guides the external relations of the Assembly.
- The Presidential Committee consists of the President, the leaders of the political groups and the Secretary General of the Assembly. It is a consultative body for the Bureau and the President. It prepares meetings of the Bureau, which may assign it liaison tasks.
To implement the Council of Europe Communication Strategy approved by the Committee of Ministers with a view to developing greater awareness of the Organisation and helping to promote its fundamental values – democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
- To ensure communication on the activities and opinions of the Council of Europe;
- to ensure the coherence of communication in the different parts of the Organisation;
- to ensure quality media coverage of the Council of Europe’s main activities by developing productive working relationships with journalists and media organisations in the member states;
- to reach out to large European audiences and increase the visibility of the Council of Europe through the effective use of mass media;
- to ensure the branding of the Organisation, development of messages and coherence in the visual presentation of different campaigns;
- to develop and co-ordinate the Organisation’s online communication strategy, including visual presentation and the harmonisation of standards;
- to establish and implement the Council of Europe publications policy, in co-operation with the Publications Committee;
- to ensure and intensify, in partnership with the DGA, the Organisation’s internal communication, using the Intranet portal and the websites linked to it.
To meet these objectives, the DC
- searches out news opportunities, constantly follows media developments and proactively helps journalists to process and analyse information;
- ensures co-ordination and forward planning of the Organisation’s communication activities for the best impact;
- drafts and issues press releases, opinion articles, information documents and other public documents for journalists;
- organises press-related activities (such as press conferences, interviews, background briefings, radio and television broadcasts);
- establishes and uses a network of journalists in Europe’s capitals;
- uses a network of press correspondents;
- encourages the active participation of the Council of Europe external offices in implementing media strategies and campaigns;
- provides training and guidance to staff members at all levels regarding their dealings with the media;
- ensures day-to-day monitoring and analysis of the Organisation’s press coverage, while also alerting relevant departments to breaking news stories;
- develops communication using new information technologies, in particular through web portals including in non-official languages, while ensuring that a common policy is implemented;
- co-ordinates, alongside the other major administrative entities, the design and execution of the communication-related aspects of public information campaigns highlighting the Organisation’s priorities, role and achievements;
- co-ordinates the production and distribution of publicity materials (such as brochures, leaflets, posters and CD-ROMs);
- co-ordinates the organisation of public relations events as well as contacts with the general public and, as part of that work, organises visits to the Council of Europe;
- develops policies for the harmonisation of the visual presentation of different Council of Europe products, which includes the use of the logo, symbols and flags;
- establishes partnerships with key international broadcasters and individual TV programmes;
- develops and manages the Organisation’s audiovisual resources;
- manages the photographic service of the Council of Europe, including the production and distribution of photographs;
- organises and disseminates television recordings, including direct transmissions;
- publishes, translates, and commercially distributes and markets the Organisation’s publications in member States through partnerships.
To provide independent oversight, objective assurance and consulting services designed to add value to and improve the Organisation’s operations. To this end, the Directorate of Internal Oversight assists management in the effective discharge of its responsibilities by assessing its internal control and governance processes as well as the medium term effects of its activities, and their worth or significance in terms of the changes created.
- To contribute to the rigorous and effective management of resources;
- to support informed decision-making;
- to add value and timeliness to the management process;
- to enhance organisational learning and innovation;
- to provide substantive accountability vis-à-vis the member states and other donors and stakeholders;
- to improve communication with stakeholders of programme results and impact;
- to disclose presumptive fraud and corruption matters;
- to provide quality assurance advice on evaluation-related matters.
To meet these objectives the Directorate of Internal Oversight
- carries out audits and evaluations, in particular in areas of strategic relevance;
- consults with management on their concerns and needs;
- provides management with analyses, assessments, recommendations and advice concerning the operations reviewed;
- provides information about the quality of the performance of the Secretariat of the Council of Europe in carrying out policies, programmes and actions;
- assesses the economic, efficient and effective use of resources, both financial and human;
- reviews the accuracy of financial, managerial and operational information;
- sets standards for planning, conducting and using evaluation, develops and disseminates the methodology and establishes the institutional mechanisms for applying standards;
- provides support to decentralised evaluations managed by the Major Administrative Entities, supports the quality assurance of independent evaluations and checks the quality of independent reports;
- maintains a publicly accessible repository of evaluation reports, disseminates good practices and lessons learnt;
- develops an evaluation culture in the Organisation;
- ensures follow-up action is taken to remedy identified weaknesses;
The Directorate of Internal Oversight enjoys operational independence in the conduct of its duties. This independence is obtained primarily through the organisational status of the Directorate of Internal Oversight which reports directly to the Secretary General.
The Directorate of Internal Oversight has full discretion on selecting audit and evaluation subjects and the authority to initiate, carry out and report on any action, considered necessary to fulfil its responsibilities. The Director of Internal Oversight has to accept requests for his or her services from the Secretary General, but he or she may not be prohibited from carrying out any action within the purview of his or her mandate.
The Protocol Department advises and assists the Organisation as a whole as well as representatives of member states, observers, candidates on matters related to protocol, privileges and immunities, official events and relations with host countries, in particular with France.
- To contribute to the effectiveness and success of official visits and events through careful planning of protocol aspects;
- to deal with the privileges and immunities accorded to the Council of Europe, to the members of permanent representations as well as to staff and their families, including tax, customs and other fiscal privileges;
- to maintain constructive relations with the host country, as well as with the other countries hosting Council of Europe Offices, and with the local and regional authorities as appropriate;
- to facilitate visa requests of staff, and experts and national officials on official mission, including elected members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and of the Congress, the Commissioner for Human Rights and judges of the European Court of Human Rights.
To meet these objectives, the Protocol Department
- advises and assists the Organisation’s organs and their high representatives, as well as staff on the protocol aspects of the organisation of ceremonies and official events in and outside Strasbourg;
- advises the Permanent Representations of member states, observers and, if applicable, candidate states, as well as local and regional interlocutors, on Council of Europe protocol;
- organises the protocol aspects of ceremonies and official events, including, in cooperation with the Directorate of Communications, of media events;
- prepares and accompanies official visits to the Council of Europe carried out by high level personalities;
- organises the protocol aspects of official visits carried out by the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General;
- liaises with the French authorities in order to resolve questions relating to privileges and immunities for the members of Permanent Representations, Council of Europe staff and their respective families;
- coordinates all issues related to protocol of Council of Europe Major Administrative Entities and external offices;
- liaises with the relevant French local and regional authorities for matters of common interests;
- processes visa requests from staff members and members of statutory and other organs;
- provides technical assistance towards the organisation of Sessions of the Committee of Ministers, Conferences of specialised Ministers, colloquies, seminars etc.;
- prepares and organises the Council of Europe’s official social events such as the Secretary General’s/Deputy Secretary General’s luncheons, dinners and receptions.
To provide the Secretary General, the Committee of Ministers and Major Administrative Entities (MAEs) with conceptual and strategic analyses about relevant political and societal developments in Europe and beyond, based on research and on topical exchanges with internal and external networks, thereby enhancing the Organisation’s ability to anticipate major trends and challenges facing member states and to offer coherent short- and long-term responses within its statutory mandate.
- Prepare the Secretary General’s annual report on the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe;
- Address emerging opportunities and challenges with internal and external interlocutors, thereby fostering innovative and transversal thinking and action;
- Follow closely the policies of Council of Europe member and observer states as well as the programmes and activities of Council of Europe bodies and of other international organisations, and analyse these from a policy planning, forward-looking perspective;
- Supervise the Network of Schools of Political Studies (NSPS), ensuring high quality curricula for young political leaders and drawing on the Schools as a resource for policy planning work;
- Co-ordinate the ‘Platform for the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists’, and ensure follow-up actions and future developments;
- Co-ordinate with MAEs the possible follow-up to the Group of Eminent Persons’ report on "Living Together: Combining diversity and freedom in 21st-century Europe”;
- Contribute, in accordance with its remit, to the Strasbourg World Forum for Democracy.
To meet these objectives, the DPP
- develops the conceptual framework of the annual report on the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe, brings together contributions and facilitates inter-secretarial communication during the drafting process;
- establishes and manages internal networks of contacts for reflection and exchange of knowledge and ideas within the Organisation, in particular the task force for early response to emerging problems in the Council of Europe area (ALER-T), involving all MAEs;
- develops co-operative links with member state governments, in particular by organising brainstorming meetings of directors of policy planning from Ministries of Foreign Affairs and other political actors;
- develops co-operative links with the international research community, in particular scientific institutions, think-tanks and foundations;
- organises “Council of Europe Debates” featuring eminent European personalities, addressed to member and observer state Delegations and Council of Europe staff, and other topical meetings;
- oversees the work and budgets of the NSPS, organises regular meetings with the Directors of the Schools, and develops new contacts and takes all necessary action to extend the Network;
- establishes and co-ordinates an internet based platform for the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists, in close co-operation with relevant internal and external actors;
- follows through activities to disseminate the findings of the GEP report ‘Living Together’ and to implement its recommendations.
To assist and advise the Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General, the statutory organs and other bodies and Major Administrative Entities of the Secretariat of the Council of Europe on specific Council of Europe related political matters affecting member and applicant States and to contribute, within the area of its competences, to the identification of political priorities of the Organisation.
- To ensure co-ordination between the headquarters, Council of Europe external offices and external bodies (as determined by the Secretary General) on the matters of political relevance to the Organisation with regard to member and applicant States;
- to contribute to and to advise on the identification of priority action by or events that call for the rapid reaction of the Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General, the statutory organs and other bodies;
- to provide input on political priorities with regard to Council of Europe country programming documents and action plans; to advise other MAEs and bodies of the Council of Europe on the political issues related to the activities and programmes implemented in CoE member and applicant States.
To meet these objectives, the DPA
- prepares timely political analysis, briefings, regular reports for information and proposals for action for the Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General and statutory bodies (as appropriate) concerning the specific role of the Council of Europe in member and applicant States;
- provides the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General with political briefings and files for their visits to and meetings with interlocutors from member and applicant States;
- reports and liaises as appropriate on the political follow-up of such visits and meetings;
- implements the country-specific stock-taking and monitoring procedures as decided by the Committee of Ministers;
- maintains and develops contacts with the national authorities of member and applicant States.
To assist and to advise the Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General, the statutory organs and other bodies and Secretariat’s Major Administrative Entities (MAEs) on specific political matters affecting Council of Europe institutional and political relations with other international organisations and institutions, in particular the EU, OSCE and UN, and relations with non-member States, including Observer States and states in the CoE neighbouring regions, to promote co-operation and partnerships, avoid duplication, increase synergies and enhance external visibility.
To bear responsibility for the coherent implementation of Secretary General’s policy towards international organisations and non-member states. To co-ordinate the relevant activities of MAEs in terms of external representation of the Organisation.
- To develop and co-ordinate Council of Europe policy and action at the wider international level, in close co-operation with the European Union, the OSCE, the UN and other international organisations. In this context to promote inter-institutional relations with relevant European and international organisations;
- to promote dialogue and co-operation with non-member states with focus on countries in the neighbouring regions and the Observer States.
To meet these objectives, the DER
- maintains and develops political relations and fosters appropriate working contacts with the EU in order to contribute to coherence between the EU integration process and pan-European co-operation;
- acts as the CoE focal point for co-operation with the EU and its Director acts as “Senior Official” in accordance with the 1987 arrangements;
- intensifies co-operation with the OSCE to ensure effective working relations and co-operation, and generate coherence and complementarity of action and its Director acts as “Senior Official” for relations with the OSCE;
- maintains and develops contacts with other international organisations, in particular the UN family in order to ensure a coherent approach in the Council of Europe’s relations with them;
- ensures political co-ordination of the Council of Europe’s input in the various sub regional organisations, initiatives and mechanisms involving non-member states;
- develops and maintains contacts and ensures a coherent policy approach towards non-member States with focus on countries in the neighbouring regions;
- assists the representatives of Observer States in their relations with the Organisation;
- assumes the primary responsibility for the CoE Offices in charge of liaison with other international organisations or institutions (in Brussels, Geneva, Vienna and Warsaw).
To discharge the tasks necessary to enable the Secretary General (“SG”) to fulfil his/her role as depositary of the treaties of the Council of Europe (“CoE”), as Head of the Secretariat and as representative of the legal personality of the Organisation in conformity with the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities;
To implement the Secretary General’s Rule No. 1326 of 25 January 2011;
To manage issues related to the development and implementation of public international law;
To assist the Advisory Panel of Experts on Candidates for election as Judge to the European Court of Human Rights (“the Advisory Panel”), set up by CM/Res (2010) 26;
To provide legal assistance to the Council of Europe Development Bank (“the Bank”).
- To promote respect of legal standards, in particular internal ones, by the different CoE bodies and instances as well as by the SG and Major Administrative Entities (“MAEs”) by ensuring a correct and coherent interpretation of the legal texts;
- to ensure that legal provisions including the privileges and immunities of the CoE and its staff are respected, and the legality of contracts signed by or on behalf of the SG. In addition, a senior staff member of DLAPIL acts as the legal adviser to the bodies of the Bank;
- to assist the SG in the exercise of his or her functions as depositary of CoE treaties;
- to assist the representative of the SG in the exercise of his or her functions within the Co-ordination system;
- to reply in the name of the SG to administrative complaints introduced under the Staff Regulations;
- to represent the SG, if necessary having recourse to the services of external specialists, in internal litigation procedures, in particular before the Administrative Tribunal, and in any disputes with third parties;
- to co-ordinate the work of the Committee of Experts on Public International Law (CAHDI), providing its secretariat, assisting it in performing its role as European Observatory of reservations and updating its data bases;
- to provide the secretariat of the Advisory Panel including its liaison with the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), the Committee of Ministers (CM) and the Parties to the Convention.
To meet these objectives, the DLAPIL
- provides both background legal information and legal advice to the SG and, when appropriate, to MAEs and other CoE institutions and bodies ;
- participates in the meetings of the CM and its Rapporteurs Groups and responds, orally or in writing, to consultations concerning legal matters;
- in accordance with the instructions and guidelines issued by the SG, contributes to the planning, implementation and assessment of intergovernmental co-operation activities in the field of international law, assists and advises the SG in this field and represents him or her in events connected with this topic;
- provides legal assistance to the competent MAEs in the preparation of draft conventions, agreements or recommendations and participates in procedures leading to their adoption;
- ensures the legal management of treaties and of partial and/or enlarged agreements (“PEAs”) concluded within the CoE; prepares the ceremonies for the signature, ratification or accession to treaties; registers and notifies to States all legal documents received by the Treaty Office and keeps the UN updated about treaty developments in the CoE;
- manages the database of the Treaty Office and disseminates information concerning CoE treaties and maintains a register of documents pertaining to PAEs; ensures the legal protection of the European emblem;
- participates in meetings of the Bank and provides the legal opinions required;
- exchanges and shares information and experience with the Legal Advisors of International Organisations, in particular of the Co-ordinated Organisations, and liaises with the International Law Commission;
- participates in the Tenders Board and provides an opinion on draft contracts, memoranda, endorsements prepared by MAEs.
To prepare the priorities for the biennial Programme of Activities regarding operational activities of DGI (Human Rights and Rule of law) and DGII (Democracy), and co-ordinate their implementation.
To implement the external presence reform, with responsibility for the programming and administrative functioning of the CoE external presence.
To promote an active resource mobilisation strategy (EU and other donors).
- To co-ordinate the work leading to the definition of priorities within the programme of activities to their translation into concrete programmes and to the allocation of resources in the intergovernmental field, in close co-operation with DGI, DGII and CoE Offices;
- to promote synergies between the intergovernmental committees set-up and the monitoring mechanisms, in close co-operation with other Major Administrative Entities (MAEs) as relevant;
- to promote and support the work of transversal programmes;
- to monitor the implementation of the Programme of activities regarding DGI and DGII following a risk management approach;
- to develop a pro-active resource mobilisation strategy and carry out a range of activities aiming at raising additional external resources by initiating and assisting in contacts with governments and external partners (public and private);
- to co-ordinate the strategy’s implementation in co-operation with other MAEs and through CoE Offices, including co-ordination with EU Delegations, international organisations and donors present in the field;
- to oversee the implementation of the external presence reform in all its aspects;
- to co-ordinate the smooth functioning (administrative, financial, logistical, human resources) of the CoE external presence in the field;
- in co-ordination with the Liaison Office in Brussels and CoE Offices, to provide support and advice to MAEs on contractual and administrative issues (budget, human resources, etc.) related to the preparation of JP/ VC proposals and implementation;
- to ensure the financial management and oversight of programmes implemented by decentralised offices (CoE Offices and Programme Offices), including elaboration of financial reports;
- in co-ordination with other MAEs and with the Liaison Office in Brussels, to oversee reporting (financial and narrative) to the EU on JPs and to other donors on VCs.
To meet these objectives, the Office
- prepares the priorities for the biennial Programme of activities regarding the operational activities of DGI and DGII, in close co-operation with the Directorate of Programme, Finance and Linguistic Services (DPFL);
- prepares Country Programming Documents and Action Plans in consultation with the Directorate of Political Affairs (DPA);
- in the light of developments in member states and neighbouring countries, in close co-operation with DPFL, advises the SG on changes that should be brought to the Programme of activities regarding DGI and DGII with a view to ensuring appropriate responses to new challenges;
- enhances sustainable donor relations in line with organisational priorities;
- provides support and advice to MAEs on fundraising activities, including training of staff members as appropriate;
- co-organises with DPA Heads of Offices bi-annual meetings in Strasbourg/field;
- if and when appropriate, co-ordinates, in co-operation with DPA, negotiations with a view to the setting-up of new offices ;
- co-ordinates, in co-operation with DPA and DER, field-related work with other CoE Institutions and MAEs as relevant ;
- elaborates report of a general nature (scorecard reports on JP implementation, reports for EU/CoE Senior Officials meetings, reports to the PO of the SG and the relevant bodies of the CM) ;
- ensures the management of the JP Provision, and of the JP Common Balance Account under the conditions set up by Private Office and in compliance with the Financial Regulations.
The Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law has overall responsibility for the development and implementation of the human rights and rule of law standards of the Council of Europe, including the promotion of democracy through law, the operation of relevant treaties and related monitoring mechanisms and the development and implementation of activities in these fields.
The Directorate General is responsible for all matters within its competence that are relevant to the fulfilment of the Organisation's statutory objectives. In addition to the general protection of civil, political, economic and social rights, this includes in particular the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; bioethics; the protection of freedom of expression and of information in the information society and of media freedoms; the promotion of independent, pluralistic media; the fight against all forms of crime, including terrorism, corruption, money laundering and cybercrime; the strengthening of international co-operation in criminal matters, including with regard to prisons, and in matters of public and private law, including with regard to nationality, family law and data protection and the promotion of independent and efficient justice.
- to assist and advise the Secretary General on matters pertaining to law and policy in the fields of human rights and the rule of law;
- to provide support and advice on these matters to the Committee of Ministers and all its subordinate Committees, in particular the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH), the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ), the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC), the Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI) and, as appropriate, to other services of the Organisation;
- to elaborate and evaluate legal standards (Recommendations, guidelines, handbooks etc. and Conventions);
- to provide Secretariat support and advice to the Organisation's treaty and related mechanisms in the fields of human rights and the rule of law, in particular to the Committee of Ministers in its function of supervision of the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), the European Committee of Social Rights, GRECO (corruption), MONEYVAL (money laundering and financing of terrorism), the European Audiovisual Observatory, the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) and the Pompidou Group (Combating drug abuse and drug trafficking);
- to support member and/or non–member States in implementing institutional and legal frameworks in compliance with the principles of a democratic state, and at ensuring the observance of human rights and the rule of law.
To meet these objectives, the DG, inter alia:
- maintains and develops contacts with the competent committees of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress;
- co-operates and liaises regularly with other secretariat entities, in particular with the Directorate of Human Dignity and Equality - Directorate General of Democracy, on human rights and rule of law issues with a view to ensure an overall coherence of the Organisation’s policies;
- liaises and co-operates with the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights on matters of common interest, in particular regarding the execution of the Court's judgments;
- liaises and exchanges information with the Commissioner for Human Rights so as to optimise the effectiveness of action taken respectively by the DG and the Commissioner;
- maintains and develops contacts with national authorities and specialised agencies (e.g. the Human Rights National Institutions and the Government Agents' offices before the European Court of Human Rights) in member and observer states in the field of human rights and the rule of law;
- follows closely policies and developments in member and observer States as well as in neighbouring countries which may have implications for human rights and the rule of law and call for action by the Organisation;
- disseminates information on Council of Europe standards, achievements and activities in the DG's fields of competence;
- maintains and develops legal relations and establishes appropriate working contacts with the European Union through the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations;
- implements the agreement between the European Union and the Council of Europe concerning the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA);
- designs and implements co-operation activities to facilitate the honouring of commitments by member or applicant States, including in the framework of joint initiatives with the European Union and other partners and of the "Human Rights Trust Fund";
- develops interaction and synergies between the work of the Council of Europe in the fields of human rights and the rule of law and that of other European, regional and global actors; liaises with the competent services and bodies of the United Nations, the OECD, the OSCE and other Organisations, taking into account the specific responsibilities of the Directorate of External Relations;
- works with non-governmental organisations and relevant professional groups;
- liaises with Council of Europe external offices concerning matters within its sphere of competence, taking into account the specific responsibilities of the Office of the Directorate General of Programmes.
To support the implementation of the Council of Europe action promoting democratic governance, participation, diversity, democratic innovation, gender equality, safeguarding individuals against threats to their dignity and integrity (trafficking, violence, etc.) and the protection of children’s rights.
DGII has the task of preparing and implementing targeted programmes, policies and standard-setting mechanisms, and to co-operate in its field of competence with key outside partners including civil society organisations and other international institutions.
- To assist and advise the Secretary General on policy issues related to democratic innovation, diversity, governance, equality, human dignity and participation, and to provide support and advice to the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress in its fields of competence;
- to plan and implement relevant programmes to service intergovernmental and other bodies of the Council of Europe, as well as the Conferences of specialised Ministers;
- to design and implement targeted programmes to assist the member States (as well as the States Parties to the European Cultural Convention (ECC)) to develop their relevant structures and policies and fulfil their commitments under the relevant treaties of the Organisation;
- to assist in their work the governing bodies of the partial agreements set up in its fields of competence, in accordance with their respective terms of reference, and to provide management and other services for the implementation of their programmes (the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity/”North-South Centre”, the European Centre for Modern Languages, the European Support Fund for the Co-production and Distribution of Creative Cinematographic and Audiovisual Works “Eurimages”, the EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement, the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport EPAS, the Partial Agreement on Youth Mobility through the Youth Card, the Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes and the EDQM - Pharmacopeia).
To meet these objectives, the DGII
- provides secretariat services for the planning, implementation and assessment of intergovernmental standard-setting, monitoring and co-operation activities in accordance with the general instructions and guidelines issued by the Secretary General;
- advises and assists the Committee of Ministers and its relevant rapporteur groups and/or rapporteurs;
- assists and advises the Secretary General on the implementation and follow-up of existing policies and standards, as well as monitoring the conventions (where applicable) in its area of competence;
- maintains and develops contacts with national authorities and specialised agencies in member States, with other States Parties to the ECC (where applicable) and, as appropriate, other States;
- designs and implements assistance activities to facilitate the fulfilment of commitments by member and applicant States, including in the framework of joint programmes with the European Union and other partners;
- develops interaction and synergies between the Council of Europe and other international institutions, taking into account the specific responsibilities of the Directorate of External Relations;
- works in partnership with non-governmental organisations and relevant professional groups on issues in its field of competence;
- works through the permanent co-management structures in the youth field and makes full use of its European Youth Centres in Strasbourg and Budapest, to implement Council of Europe's youth policies;
- cooperates with the SRSG for Roma Issues, and provides technical support to the SRSG Support Team, notably regarding financial administration and human resources management;
- organises, in co-operation with partners and with the support of the Directorate of Policy Planning, the Strasbourg World Forum for Democracy
- follows the decisions of the European Co-ordination Forum and the Committee of Ministers with regard to the Council of Europe's relations with the World Anti-Doping Agency;
- liaises, within its field of competence, with the external offices of the Council of Europe in close co-ordination with the Office of the Directorate General of Programmes.
To assist the Secretary General in the definition of strategic objectives and priorities for the Council of Europe, including the allocation of resources and to provide the Organisation with the administrative, technical and logistical support needed to carry out its activities with a concern for innovation, client-orientation and cost-efficiency.
- To contribute to the definition of the Organisation’s priorities and guarantee the smooth preparation and implementation of the programme and budget;
- to provide knowledge, advice and quality services for the good management of programming, financial, human, information and technology, logistical and linguistic resources;
- to develop and disseminate rules and procedures for the best possible use of these resources and to monitor their application;
- to provide impetus for innovation in the management of these resources and promote a culture of administrative modernisation;
- to ensure that staff receive timely and adequate information on all matters falling within the fields of responsibility of the DGA;
- to promote the consistent application of existing rules and procedures and the transfer of administrative good practices within the Organisation.
To meet these objectives, the DGA
- prepares the Organisation’s programme and budgets in co-operation with the other major administrative entities;
- follows the implementation of the programme and the execution of the budget, both financially and in terms of expected results, and provides managers with the necessary advice, training and information;
- manages the Organisation’s funds and optimises their return;
- keeps the Organisation’s accounts and prepares its financial statements in accordance with IPSAS (International Public Sector Accounting Standards);
- provides translation and interpretation services for the entire Organisation;
- promotes management reforms and facilitates the process of change;
- ensures that the Organisation enters into the most favourable contracts for the supply of goods and services in accordance with the relevant regulations;
- communicates with staff regularly via the Intranet Portal and other appropriate means;
- acts as the depositary of the Organisation’s internal regulations and ensures their updating;
- formulates and implements human resources policies, particularly in matters of recruitment, contracts, internal staff movements, training, competencies and performance management, equal opportunities and balanced geographical representation;
- ensures the administrative management of serving and retired staff as regards pay, pensions, allowances, working hours and medical and social cover;
- defines and provides the Organisation with a realistically secure information system and enforces the quality, availability, integrity and confidentiality of information;
- holds, manages and securely stores (back-up) the organisational data and data structures and makes them available to authorised users;
- defines and delivers the structures and architecture for managing the data and information assets of the Organisation;
- by means of training and spread of good practices develops synergy based on information and information technology;
- manages the Organisation’s archives (whether on paper or in electronic or audiovisual form);
- manages the Organisation’s buildings, office space, conference and exhibition premises in Strasbourg and Paris, undertakes their renovations and conversions, maintains technical installations, equipment and furnishings;
- manages the safety and security of the infrastructure, goods and of the persons of the Organisation and ensures compliance with applicable norms and regulations;
- provides advice and technical guidelines on logistical support to the Organisation’s external offices on request;
- handles the production and circulation of the Council of Europe’s documents and publications;
- provides, directly or through subcontractors, services such as catering, technical maintenance, cleaning, distribution of working documents and mail, official motor vehicles, conference services and a travel office.
To ensure the functioning of the Congress and its organs and to support it in the pursuit of its main goals as defined in Article 2 of Statutory Resolution (2007) 6. In its work, the Secretariat is answerable to the Congress and its organs and acts under the authority of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
- To prepare and organise the meetings of the Congress, its organs, its committees and working groups;
- to organise specialised conferences and colloquies on topical issues;
- to prepare, on a regular basis, monitoring reports on the situation of local and regional democracy in all member states and in states which have applied to join the Council of Europe, ensuring, in particular, that the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government are implemented (Article 2.3 of Statutory Resolution (2007) 6);
- to prepare reports and recommendations following the observation of local and/or regional elections (Article 2.4 of Statutory Resolution (2007) 6);
- to advise the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly on issues which are likely to affect the responsibilities and essential interests of the local and/or regional authorities which the Congress represents (Article 2.2 of Statutory Resolution (2007) 6);
- to extend and enhance the legal framework to foster the participation of local and regional authorities in the implementation of the ideal of European unity, in particular to promote the European Charter of Regional Democracy.
To meet these objectives, the Secretariat of the Congress
- provides the appropriate infrastructure for the numerous meetings held under the auspices of the Congress in Strasbourg and elsewhere;
- assists the Congress in examining the credentials of the Congress members;
- prepares, in close collaboration with the appointed rapporteurs, the reports, recommendations, resolutions and opinions which the Congress organs issue;
- prepares and implements the Congress budget;
- organises the Congress’s external contacts with, inter alia, international organisations and institutions (in particular the European Union’s Committee of the Regions), national associations of local and regional authorities, national governments, NGOs, associations and organisations holding Observer status, and Special Guest delegations;
- liaises with other Council of Europe entities engaged in related activities and issues, in particular with the Parliamentary Assembly, Directorate of Political Affairs (DPA),, the Venice Commission, the North-South Centre, the Conference of INGOs and the Forum for the Future of democracy;
- actively participates in Ministerial Conferences, in particular, the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government, and in the European Committee on local and regional democracy, notably sharing with these two bodies common objectives such as the European Local Democracy Week and the Strategy on good governance;
- takes into consideration in all its activities, as appropriate, the importance of internal and external communication, in close collaboration with the Directorate of Communications;
- maintains working relations with specific structures created at the initiative of the Congress, such as:
- The Committee of Independent Experts of the European Charter of Local Self-Government (ECLSG);
- The Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA);
- The European Network of Training Organisations for local and regional authorities (ENTO);
- The Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South East Europe (NALAS)
- The Adriatic and Black Sea Euro-regions;
- The European Association of Historic Towns and Regions
- The “Prix Europa” for local and regional television and radio programmes.
To ensure the functioning of the institution of the Commissioner for Human Rights and to support the Commissioner in the pursuit of his/her objectives as defined in the original terms of reference (Resolution (99) 50 of the Committee of Ministers) as well as other subsequent texts related to the institution. In its work, the Office is answerable to the Commissioner and acts under the authority of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
- To assist the Commissioner in the preparation of his/her reports, recommendations, opinions and other texts related to his/her activities;
- to provide the Commissioner with services for planning, implementation, assessment and follow-up of the institution’s programme of activities;
- to cooperate with national human rights structures (i.e. ombudsmen and national institutions/commissions for the protection of human rights) with a view inter alia to guaranteeing the long-term effectiveness of the Council of Europe system of human rights protection, facilitate their activities and encourage their establishment;
- to assist the Commissioner in the protection of human rights defenders and the promotion of their activities in accordance with the Committee of Ministers Declaration of 6 February 2008.
To meet these objectives, the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
- provides secretarial infrastructure for the Commissioner;
- assists the Commissioner in the preparation of his/her reports, recommendations and opinions and other texts related to his/her activities;
- prepares and implements the Commissioner’s missions and official visits;
- follows human rights developments in member States and international fora and provides the Commissioner with information and advice;
- ensures the institution’s relations with the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly, the Private Office of the SG and DSG, the Court, the Congress and the Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law, and co-ordination with bodies and Major Administrative Entities (MAEs) of the Council of Europe;
- ensures co-operation as appropriate with relevant bodies of the EU, UN, OSCE and other international organisations;
- maintains and develops contacts with national authorities of member States, as well as with national and international NGOs competent in the field of human rights;
- develops and implements a strategy regarding the Commissioner’s approach as the main regional mechanism for the protection of human rights defenders;
- identifies cases for potential third party interventions by the Commissioner before the European Court of Human Rights in accordance with Article 36, para 2 of the ECHR, and prepares the written or oral submissions;
- ensures constant exchange of information with national human rights structures and carries out targeted human rights activities with their staff members;
- organises conferences, colloquies, seminars, workshops and round tables with the different partners of the Commissioner;
- handles information provided to the Commissioner by governments, national parliaments, national human rights structures, international organisations, individuals and NGOs, in accordance with Resolution (99) 50;
- prepares and allocates the Office’s budget;
- takes into consideration in all its activities, as appropriate, the importance of internal and external communication, in close collaboration with the different MAEs concerned.
(General instruction drawn up by the Registrar and approved by the President of the Court in accordance with Rule 17, paragraph 4 of the Rules of Court)
The overall mandate of the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights (“the Court”) derives from Article 25 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“the Convention”), which provides: “The Court shall have a registry, the functions and organisation of which shall be laid down in the rules of the Court. The Court shall be assisted by legal secretaries.”
The overall mandate of the Registry is thus to assist the Court and the judges to fulfil the Court’s role under the Convention, which is to ensure the observance of the engagements undertaken by the contracting states (Article 19 of the Convention).
In this regard, the Registrar of the Court is responsible for the organisation and activities of the Registry under the authority of the President of the Court (Rule 17, paragraph 1 of the Rules of Court).
- To process and prepare for adjudication, within a reasonable time and through appropriate procedures, applications lodged with the Court under the Convention;
- to assist the Court in establishing and maintaining case-law which is coherent, consistent and of high quality and which ensures the application of common minimum standards of human rights protection throughout the community of Convention states;
- to render the Court’s case-law as accessible as possible and to disseminate to the public general and specialised knowledge of its activities, notably through the management of databases concerning its work and a human rights law library;
- to achieve the foregoing objectives in an efficient and cost-effective manner without dilution of the substantive and procedural rights contained in the Convention.
To meet these objectives, the Registry of the Court
- assures the handling of correspondence in connection with cases before the Court and the preparation of the case files, including in particular draft decisions and judgments, for consideration by the Court in its various compositions (Committees of three judges, Chambers of seven judges, the Grand Chamber of seventeen judges);
- under the supervision of the competent President, assures the organisation of the Court’s judicial business before the Sections and the Grand Chamber;
- assists the Court in co-ordinating and ensuring the consistency of its case-law;
- collects and analyses statistical data concerning the Court’s workload and its judicial activity, in order:
- to track the achievement of case-processing objectives and to advise on the appropriate use of resources in the light of the fluctuations in incoming applications;
- to monitor the efficiency and consistency of working methods, and to provide input to the constant process of review of working methods (under the supervision of the Court’s Standing Committee on Working Methods);
- in collaboration with relevant administrative entities of the Directorate General of Administration : l
- deals with staff matters (notably staff appointments, the appraisal system and in-house training), security matters and logistics;
- prepares the Court’s annual draft budget, maintains financial statistics and ensures the management of the budget in compliance with the Financial Regulations of the Council of Europe and the principles of sound financial management;
- administers the Court’s computer network, including software and hardware installation, website management, user support, training and security, and maintains and develops a number of databases;
- organises meetings and hearings, produces and distributes documents, and keeps the case files and archives of the Court;
- carries out, at the request of the Court or its judges, research into Convention case-law, comparative law, international law and academic writings;
- under the supervision of the Court’s Library Committee, runs the Human Rights Law Library;
- under the supervision of the Court’s Publications Committee, prepares publication of the Court’s official reports containing selected judgments and decisions, an annual report and other texts;
- ensures the availability of all judgments and decisions on the Internet and disseminates a monthly information note summarising selected pending and decided cases;
- in close co-operation with the Directorate of Communications, produces press releases and other information documents in relation to the Court’s activities and answers queries from journalists;
- organises visits to the Court by the general and specialised public and by groups of national judges, prosecutors, advocates and the like;
- provides specialist language input (translation, revision, advice) at the relevant stages of the Court’s and its Registry’s judicial and administrative work;
- provides general secretarial, administrative and legal assistance to the President and the Registrar in connection with all matters relating to their functions under the Rules of Court, including the servicing of the Plenary Court and the Bureau of the Court;
- contributes to the ongoing process of revising the Rules of Court (through servicing the Court’s Rules Committee).