The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has resolved not to ratify the credentials of the Azerbaijani delegation, which were challenged on the opening day of the session, concluding that the country has “not fulfilled major commitments” stemming from its joining the Council of Europe 20 years ago.
“Very serious concerns remain as to [Azerbaijan’s] ability to conduct free and fair elections, the separation of powers, the weakness of its legislature vis-à-vis the executive, the independence of the judiciary and respect for human rights, as illustrated by numerous judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and opinions of the Venice Commission,” the Assembly said in a resolution, based on a report by Mogens Jensen (Denmark, SOC). The resolution was adopted today with 76 votes in favour, 10 against and 4 abstentions.
The Assembly also cited the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, noting that Azerbaijan’s leadership “did not acknowledge the very serious humanitarian and human rights consequences” stemming from the lack of free and safe access through the Lachin Corridor, and recalling the Assembly’s condemnation of the September 2023 military operation “which led to the flight of the entire Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia and to allegations of ‘ethnic cleansing’.”
Finally, the resolution cited a number of examples of “lack of co-operation” with the Assembly, including that its monitoring rapporteurs were not allowed to meet with persons detained on allegedly politically motivated charges, it had not been invited to observe the forthcoming presidential election, and other PACE rapporteurs had been refused visits to the country.
“The delegation of Azerbaijan may resume its activities in the Assembly when conditions provided by the Rules of Procedure are met,” said the parliamentarians.
Once a year on the opening day of each PACE part-session, national parliaments are invited to present the credentials of their delegations. The Milli Mejlis, Azerbaijan’s parliament, had presented the credentials of a twelve-member delegation.
Today’s decision concerns only the credentials of the Azerbaijani parliamentary delegation. Azerbaijan continues to be a full member of the Council of Europe.