Rules of procedure of the advisory committee on the framework convention for the protection of National Minorities
These amended Rules of Procedure, adopted by the Advisory Committee on 21 February 2020, are provisionally applied by the Advisory Committee, in accordance with Rule 43 of the previous set of Rules of Procedure of the Advisory Committee, pending their approval by the Committee of Ministers.
Rules of Procedure of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
Adopted by the Advisory Committee on 29 October 1998, amended on 21 February 2020
The Advisory Committee,
Having regard to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (hereinafter referred to as "the framework Convention");
Pursuant to Rule 42 of the Resolution (2019)491 on the revised monitoring arrangements under Articles 24 to 26 of the Framework Convention (adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 11 December 2019 at the 1363rd meeting of the Ministers' Deputies);
Adopts the present amended Rules of Procedure, which have been approved by the Committee of Ministers on [date], at the [No.]th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies.
Organisation of the Committee
Presidency of the Committee
Rule 1 – Election of the President and the Vice-Presidents
1.1 The Advisory Committee (hereinafter referred to as "the Committee") shall elect from among its ordinary members a President and a first and second Vice-President.
1.2 Within the meaning of the present Rules, the President and Vice-Presidents remain “ordinary members” after they have been elected.
Rule 2 – Terms of office of the Bureau members
2.1 The President and Vice-Presidents shall be elected for a term of two years, provided that such period shall not exceed the duration of their term of office as ordinary members of the Committee. They may be re-elected.
2.2 When electing its President and Vice-Presidents, the Committee shall strive to achieve equitable geographical and gender distribution.
Rule 3 – Termination of functions before normal expiry of term of office
If the President or a Vice-President, before the normal expiry of her or his term of office, ceases to be an ordinary member of the Committee or resigns her or his office of President or Vice-President, the Committee shall elect a successor for the remainder of the term of that office.
Rule 4 – Rules for the elections of the President and the Vice-Presidents
4.1 The elections of the President and Vice-Presidents shall be held separately and by secret ballot.
4.2 Elections shall be by a majority of the ordinary members present.
Rule 5 – Voting rules in case of equal voting
5.1 If no ordinary member receives such a majority, a second ballot shall take place between the two candidates who have received most votes.
5.2 In the case of equal voting, the longer serving ordinary member shall be elected.
5.3 If the ordinary members concerned have served the same length of time in the Committee, the oldest of them shall be elected.
Rule 6 – Functions of the President
The President shall chair the meetings of the Committee, and perform all other functions conferred upon her or him by these Rules of Procedure or by the Committee, without prejudice to Rule 8.
Rule 7 – Functions of the Vice-Presidents
7.1 The first Vice-President shall take the place of the President if the latter is unable to carry out his or her duties or if the office of the President is vacant.
7.2 The second Vice-President shall replace the first Vice-President if the latter is unable to carry out his or her duties or if the office of first Vice-President is vacant.
7.3 If the President and the Vice-Presidents are at the same time unable to carry out their duties or if their offices are at the same time vacant, the duties of the President shall be carried out by the longest serving ordinary member.
7.4 Without prejudice to Rule 8, if two or more ordinary members concerned have served the same length of time in the Committee, the oldest of them shall carry out the duties of the President.
Rule 8 – Chairing during examination of the implementation of the Framework Convention by a Party
8.1 No member of the Committee shall chair when the Committee examines the implementation of the Framework Convention by a Party in respect of which this member was elected, or by a Party of which he or she is a national.
8.2 When the Committee examines the implementation of the Framework Convention by a given Party, no member of the working group set up to prepare such examination shall chair.
Bureau of the Committee
Rule 9 – Composition of the Bureau
The Bureau of the Committee shall consist of the President and the two Vice-Presidents.
Rule 10 – Functions of the Bureau
10.1 The Bureau shall direct the work of the Committee and perform all other functions conferred upon it by these Rules of Procedure or by the Committee.
10.2 When the Committee is not in session, the Bureau may, in urgent cases, decide on the Committee's behalf.
10.3 The Bureau shall inform the Committee at its next meeting of any decisions which it has taken under this paragraph.
10.4 The Bureau shall not decide on matters subject to a vote by a qualified majority of the ordinary members of the Committee.
Gender Equality Rapporteur
Rule 11 – Appointment and functions of the Gender Equality Rapporteur
11.1 The Committee shall appoint a Gender Equality Rapporteur for a term of two years, provided that such period shall not exceed the duration of her or his term of office as ordinary member of the Committee.
11.2 Her or his main task is to ensure that a gender perspective is integrated in the work of the Committee.
Secretariat assisting the Committee
Rule 12 – Secretariat
12.1 The Committee shall be assisted in its functions by a Secretariat.
12.2 The Secretariat consists of the Secretary and other staff necessary for the Committee to fulfil its functions, appointed by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
Functioning of the Committee
Rule 13 – Official and working languages
The official and working languages of the Committee shall be English and French. The Bureau may however, on an exceptional basis, grant leave for the use of another language when the Committee seeks assistance of outside experts or consultants.
Rule 14 – Committee and Bureau meetings
The Committee and its Bureau shall hold such meetings as are required for the exercise of their functions.
Rule 15 – Decisions on Committee meetings
15.1 The Committee meetings shall be convened at dates decided by the Committee.
15.2 The Committee shall meet at other times by decisions of the Bureau or if at least one third of its ordinary members so request.
Rule 16 – Notification of Committee meetings
The Secretariat shall notify the members of the Committee well in advance of the date, time and place of each Committee meeting.
Rule 17 – Agenda
17.1 Following consultations with the Bureau, the Secretariat shall transmit to the members a draft agenda simultaneously with the notification of the meeting.
17.2 The agenda shall be adopted by the Committee at the beginning of each meeting.
Rule 18 – Transmission of working documents
The Secretariat shall transmit to the members of the Committee the working documents for each meeting.
Rule 19 – Privacy of meetings
19.1 The Committee shall meet in camera, unless it decides otherwise.
19.2 Apart from the members of the Committee, only the designated members of the Secretariat of the Council of Europe, interpreters and persons providing technical assistance may be present at meetings held in camera, unless the Committee decides otherwise.
Rule 20 – Confidentiality of deliberations and documents
Members of the Committee, members of the Secretariat and other persons assisting the Committee are required to respect the confidentiality of the deliberations and documents of the Committee and of the information of which they have become aware at meetings held in camera, unless the Committee decides otherwise.
Rule 21 – Quorum
The quorum of the Committee shall be the majority of its ordinary members.
Rule 22 – General voting rules
The decisions of the Committee shall be taken by a majority of the ordinary members present, except when otherwise provided by the present Rules of Procedure.
Rule 23 – Right to vote
23.1 Without prejudice to Rule 33.3 of the present Rules, each ordinary member shall have one vote.
23.2 An ordinary member shall not take part in any vote on decisions of the Committee regarding the Party in respect of which he or she has been elected in accordance with Rule 19 of Resolution CM/Res(2019)49,2 and on decisions of the Committee regarding a Party of which he or she is a national.
Rule 24 – Request to submit a proposal in writing
A proposal must be submitted in writing if an ordinary member of the Committee so requests. In that case the proposal shall not be discussed until it has been circulated.
Rule 25 – Order of voting on proposals
25.1 If two or more proposals relate to the same subject, the Committee shall, unless it decides otherwise, vote on the proposals in the order in which they have been submitted.
25.2 In case of doubt as to the order, the President shall decide.
Rule 26 – Amendment to a proposal
26.1 When an amendment to a proposal is moved, the amendment shall be voted on first.
26.2 When two or more amendments to a proposal are moved, the Committee shall first vote on the amendment furthest removed in substance from the original proposal and then on the amendment next furthest removed from the original proposal and so on until all amendments have been put to the vote.
26.3 If one or more amendments are adopted, the amended proposal shall then be voted upon. In case of doubt as to the order, the President shall decide.
Rule 27 – Definition of an amendment
A motion is considered an amendment to a proposal if it merely adds to, deletes from or revises part of that proposal.
Rule 28 – Points of order
28.1 During the discussion of any matter, an ordinary member may at any time raise a point of order. An ordinary member may not, in raising a point of order, speak on the substance of the matter under discussion.
28.2 The point of order shall immediately be decided upon by the President.
28.3 Any appeal against the ruling of the President shall immediately be put to the vote.
Rule 29 – Order of precedence of motions
Without prejudice to Rule 28 of the present Rules, procedural motions shall have precedence in the following order over all other proposals or motions before the meeting:
(a) suspension of the meeting;
(b) adjournment of the meeting;
(c) adjournment of the discussion on the item in hand;
(d) closure of the discussion on the item in hand.
Rule 30 – Request for a vote by secret ballot
30.1 Without prejudice to Rule 4 of the present Rules, the Committee shall normally vote by show of hands. Upon a request of any ordinary member of the Committee, a roll-call shall be taken.
30.2 It shall be called in the alphabetical order of the names of the ordinary members of the Committee, beginning with the letter “A”.
30.3 A vote shall be held by secret ballot when a request to that effect is supported by one-third of the ordinary members of the Committee.
Rule 31 – List of decisions
At the end of each meeting the Secretariat shall submit to the Committee for its approval a list of the decisions adopted during the meeting.
Rule 32 – Meeting reports
A draft report of the meetings of the Committee shall be prepared by the Secretariat. The draft report shall be submitted to the Committee for approval.
Rule 33 – Procedure and specific voting rules in case of failure to meet the requirements for membership
33.1 If there are grounds to believe that an ordinary member no longer meets the requirements under Rule 6 of Resolution CM/Res(2019)49 – independence, impartiality and availability to serve effectively –, the Committee may, after the person in question has had an opportunity to state her or his views, decide to inform the Committee of Ministers of the matter.
33.2 Such a decision shall be taken by a two-thirds majority of the ordinary members of the Committee.
33.3 The ordinary member concerned shall not be entitled to vote on the matter.
33.4 Ordinary members shall declare any position or situation that may give grounds to believe that they no longer meet the requirements under Rule 6 of Resolution CM/Res(2019)49.
Rule 34 – Decisions taken by the Committee in application of Rule 40 of Resolution CM/Res(2019)493
Decisions of the Committee taken in application of Rule 40 of Resolution CM/Res(2019)49 shall be taken by a two-thirds majority of the ordinary members of the Committee.
Rule 35 – Specific voting rules for activity reports and thematic commentaries
Activity reports and thematic commentaries shall be adopted by a two-thirds majority of the ordinary members of the Committee.
Rule 36 – Use of electronic procedures
36.1 The Committee, and its Bureau, shall make the best possible use of interactive technologies for networks and meetings, and may use electronic procedures for any aspect of its work, unless otherwise provided in the present Rules of Procedure.
36.2 When a decision is taken using electronic procedures, the President or the Secretariat, where relevant, shall indicate in which manner and by what time-limit an answer is due.
Procedure concerning the consideration of state reports
Rule 37 – Consideration of periodical state report & voting rules
37.1 In accordance with Article 25 of the Framework Convention4 and Rule 25 of Resolution CM/Res(2019)49,5 the Committee shall consider periodical state reports transmitted to it by the Committee of Ministers and transmit its opinions to the Committee of Ministers.
37.2 Draft opinions shall be approved by, and opinions shall be adopted by, a majority of the ordinary members of the Committee.
Rule 38– Working groups and other subsidiary bodies
38.1 The Committee may set up working groups and other subsidiary bodies to consider specific questions, including periodical state reports.
38.2 The composition of subsidiary bodies and their terms of reference shall be fixed by the Committee. The Committee may also appoint rapporteurs to consider specific questions, including periodical state reports. Subsidiary bodies and rapporteurs shall report to the Committee.
Rule 39 – Assistance of outside experts or consultants
The Committee may seek the assistance of outside experts or consultants.
Rule 40 – Requests for additional information
When the Committee requests, in accordance with Rules 31 or 40 of Resolution CM/Res(2019)49,6 additional information from a Party, the Committee shall indicate in which manner and by what time limit the said information should be submitted.
Rule 41 – Co-operation and exchange of information with other Council of Europe bodies
The Committee may, where appropriate, co-operate and exchange information with other bodies of the Council of Europe with relevant expertise, including the Committee of Experts established under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
Rule 42 – Information on the non-submission of periodical state reports
At each session, the Secretariat shall notify the Committee of all cases of non‑submission of periodical state reports. In such cases the Committee may make proposals for measures to be taken.
Rule 43 – Outline for periodical state reports
43.1 The outline for initial periodical state reports may, when necessary, be considered by the Committee with a view to making suggestions for its improvement to the Committee of Ministers.
43.2 The Committee may also suggest to the Committee of Ministers an outline for subsequent periodical state reports to be submitted under Article 25, paragraph 3, of the Framework Convention.
Rule 44 – Follow-up to opinions, conclusions and recommendations
44.1 The Committee shall strive to ensure its representation in a follow-up activity organised by a Party, at the request of the Party concerned.
44.2 When instructed by the Committee of Ministers, in accordance with Rule 41of Resolution CM/Res(2019)49,7 to participate in the monitoring of the follow-up to conclusions and recommendations, the Committee shall apply mutatis mutandis the procedure concerning the consideration of periodical state reports.
Amendments to the present Rules of Procedure
Rule 45 – Specific voting rules
45.1 The present Rules of Procedure may be amended by a decision taken by a majority of the ordinary members of the Committee. Such amendments are subject to the approval of the Committee of Ministers and shall enter into effect on the date of such approval.
45.2 Prior to the approval of the Committee of Ministers, amendments to the present Rules of Procedure may be provisionally applied by the Committee.
 Rule 42 of Resolution CM/Res(2019)49 – The Advisory Committee shall draft its rules of procedure which shall be submitted to the Committee of Ministers for approval. The same procedure shall apply to any subsequent modification to the rules of procedure.
 Rule 19 of Resolution CM/Res(2019)49 – Ordinary members shall not have the right to take part in a possible vote regarding the opinion on the Party in respect of which they have been elected to the list.
 Rule 40 of Resolution CM/Res(2019)49 - If the Advisory Committee considers, on the basis of the information at its disposal, that a situation or development warrants an urgent examination in the light of the principles set out in the Framework Convention, it may make an urgent request for information to any Party to the Framework Convention. If necessary, the Advisory Committee may, after having notified the Committee of Ministers and with the agreement of the Party concerned, carry out a country visit to that Party, in accordance with, mutatis mutandis, rules 32 to 36. The Advisory Committee shall transmit its findings and conclusions to the Party concerned and to the Committee of Ministers and shall make them public together with any comments from the Party concerned.
 Article 25 of the Framework Convention – 1. Within a period of one year following the entry into force of this Framework Convention in respect of a Contracting Party, the latter shall transmit to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe full information on the legislative and other measures taken to give effect to the principles set out in this framework Convention. 2. Thereafter, each Party shall transmit to the Secretary General on a periodical basis and whenever the Committee of Ministers so requests any further information of relevance to the implementation of this Framework Convention. 3. The Secretary General shall forward to the Committee of Ministers the information transmitted under the terms of this Article.
 Rule 25 of Resolution CM/Res(2019)49 – The Advisory Committee shall consider the periodical State reports and shall transmit its opinions to the Committee of Ministers.
 Rule 31 of Resolution CM/Res(2019)49 – The Advisory Committee may request additional information from the Party whose report is under consideration and seek where appropriate information from international organisations, ombudsmen and national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as from representatives of civil society and non-governmental organisations.
 Rule 41 of Resolution CM/Res(2019)49 – The Advisory Committee shall be involved in the monitoring of the follow-up to the conclusions and recommendations on an ad hoc basis, as instructed by the Committee of Ministers. In this context, Parties may be invited to inform the Advisory Committee of the follow-up given to the Committee of Ministers’ conclusions and recommendations in due time following their adoption.