Declaration by the Committee of Ministers on the execution of Mr Pavel Selyun in Belarus
[23/04/2014] The Committee of Ministers deeply regrets the recent execution of Mr Pavel Selyun, who was one of the four persons sentenced to death by the Belarussian authorities in 2013.
The Committee of Ministers believes that this is an inhumane practice and a violation of human dignity that neither brings relief to the families of the victims nor is a deterrent to crime. Such actions lead Belarus further away from the values of the Council of Europe.
The Committee of Ministers recalls its Declaration of 22 January 2014 and reiterates its appeal therein for the commutation of sentences handed down last year.
The Committee of Ministers strongly urges Belarus to establish a formal moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty.

Committee of Ministers deeply concerned at situation in Eastern Ukraine, expresses full support to Geneva Contact Group meeting
[16/04/2014] Council of Europe member States today expressed their full support to the four-party Contact Group meeting to be held in Geneva on 17 April 2014, and reiterated their commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes and their respect for international law and the territorial integrity, unity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.
Expressing deep concern at recent acts of violence and the occupation of administrative buildings in Eastern Ukraine, the Ministers Deputies called on all parties urgently to take steps to reduce tensions and engage without delay in dialogue for a peaceful and negotiated settlement.
The Deputies underlined the importance of inclusive preparation of free Presidential elections, scheduled for 25 May 2014, and called on all Ukrainian political forces to participate.
The Deputies reiterated their support to initiatives taken by the Ukrainian authorities to consolidate the functioning of democratic institutions, the protection of human rights and the rule of law, and welcomed recent contacts with the Council of Europe.
The Ministers Deputies welcomed the holding of the first meeting of the International Advisory Panel on investigations in Ukraine on 9 to 11 April 2014, and the Venice Commission visit to Ukraine on 15 April 2014 to provide assistance for reforms, in particular regarding the Constitution.
- Full text of the decision
- Previous decisions

1197th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies (16 April 2014)
[16/04/2014] At their meeting on 16 April 2014, the Ministers Deputies adopted a set of decisions on the situation in Ukraine, in particular to express their full support to the four-party Contact Group meeting to be held in Geneva tomorrow.
In addition, further to the 2nd part of the Ordinary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly held in Strasbourg last week, the Deputies held an exchange of views with Mrs Anne Brasseur, Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly.
They also held a discussion on the abolition of the death penalty in Europe, at the end of which they reiterated, inter alia, their strong call on the authorities of Belarus to establish without delay a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty.
The Deputies also adopted a Declaration on the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights and a Recommendation on a Guide to human rights for Internet users.
Finally, they approved the action plan 2014-2015 intended to support reforms in the field of human rights, rule of law and democracy in Azerbaijan, which will soon take over the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers.
The decisions adopted by the Committee of Ministers will be available shortly in the meeting file.

"The Council of Europe appeal to Russia to engage dialogue with Ukraine should be heard", says Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz
[07/04/2014] In a speech to the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly outlining the work of the Austrian chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers including the fight against corruption and efforts to increase ratifications of the Council of Europe Convention on Violence against Women Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz focused on the crisis over Crimea.
Highlighting difficult challenges ahead, Mr Kurz expressed satisfaction with the setting up of the Council of Europe's International Advisory Panel to oversee judicial investigations of violent clashes between protesters and security forces since the end of November 2013.
He underscored cooperation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE in reacting to the crisis and the importance of proposals for constitutional reform in Ukraine, and he reminded delegates that the treatment of Tartars and other minorities in Crimea is a "cause for concern", following a visit last month by Council of Europe experts for national minorities.
"Russia has consistently used the allegation of minorities not being properly treated as a pretext for actions taken", Mr. Kurz said. He stressed that the Council of Europe has made a "clear appeal" to Russia to enter into direct dialogue and hopes "that it would not fall on deaf ears".
In closing, the Foreign Minister told the assembled delegates that the 65th anniversary of the Council of Europe, to be celebrated next month in Vienna, may make some people "think of retirement" but "recent events show just how important the Council of Europe is".
- Video of the speech
- Report by the Chair

Committee of Ministers deems annexation of Crimea illegal and calls for measures concerning national minorities
[03/04/2014] The Council of Europe Ministers' Deputies continued to discuss the situation in Ukraine at their meeting on 2 and 3 April with the participation of the country's Acting Foreign Minister, Andrii Deshchytsia. In particular, the Minister reiterated Ukraine's commitment to implement reforms so as to reinforce protection of human rights and the democratic functioning of the country's institutions in line with Council of Europe values.
The Ministers' Deputies welcomed the Secretary General's proposals for immediate support measures for Ukraine, notably through the Venice Commission.
They also took note of an ad hoc report prepared at their request by the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, following a visit by a committee delegation to Ukraine from 21 to 26 March 2014.
In view of the concerns raised in this report, in particular regarding the safety of persons belonging to national minorities, the Deputies called on the parties concerned effectively to guarantee the rights of all such persons throughout Ukraine.

Supervision of execution of Court's judgments: encouraging results - Committee of Ministers publishes annual report for 2013 on the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights
[02/04/2014] The Committee of Ministers (CM) today made public the annual report for 2013 on its supervision of the execution of judgments and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. In accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights, the Committee of Ministers is responsible for supervising the execution of the Courts judgments by the states concerned.
The statistics 2013 confirm the positive trends of 2011 and 2012, and reveal a first decrease ever in the total number of pending cases. One can also note an all-time high in the number of cases closed through final resolutions. Like in 2012, the statistics 2013 also reveal improvements as to the respect of deadlines in the payment of just satisfaction.
At the same time, the report shows that the execution of cases revealing important structural problems remains a major challenge. However, several positive developments need to be mentioned, in particular, the improvement of domestic remedies and the importance attached, both by the CM and by the States, to the execution of pilot judgments.
The report 2013 illustrates the positive impact of the reform process commenced at Interlaken and continued at Izmir and Brighton by the high-level conferences of the Council of Europe held at those venues. This report, like the report for 2012, thus emphasises the need to carry on the efforts undertaken, the importance of the co-operation programmes, and the continued dedication of all stakeholders in the process of implementing the Courts judgments and decisions.

Committee of Ministers condemns the holding of the referendum in Crimea
[20/03/2014] In a decision adopted on 20 March, the Council of Europe Ministers' Deputies condemned the referendum conducted on 16 March by the Crimean local authorities, in violation of Ukrainian legislation. They reiterated their solidarity with Ukraine and its people and underlined that the current crisis in Ukraine must be resolved peacefully, based on strict adherence to international law.
To this end, they urged the Russian Federation to enter into direct dialogue with the Government of Ukraine. They also supported the Secretary Generals initiatives to assist the Ukrainian authorities in their efforts.
Deploring the decisions of the Russian Federation to admit Crimea and Sevastopol into the Russian Federation, the Ministers' Deputies firmly recalled the duty of all member States to comply with the commitments undertaken under the Statute of the Council of Europe.
The Ministers' Deputies will resume consideration of the situation in Ukraine at their next meeting on 2 April.
Current Chairmanship
14 November 2013 -
14 May 2014
  Austrian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers  
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Next Chairmanships
Azerbaijan: 14 May-November 2014
Belgium: November 2014-May 2015
Bosnia and Herzegovina: May-November 2015
Bulgaria: November 2015-May 2016
Estonia: May-November 2016

Previous Chairmanships
Photo gallery: Former CM Chairs (1992-2013)
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More information
The Committee of Ministers is the Council of Europe's decision-making body. It is composed of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the 47 member states or their permanent representatives in Strasbourg (more...).
Report by the Chair of the Committee of Ministers (February-April 2014)
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