Credentials of the delegation of San Marino
30 January 1997
Rapporteur: Mr Peter SCHIEDER, Austria, Socialist Group
1.At the opening of the present part-Session Mr Speroni, a member of the Italian delegation, raised objections to the credentials submitted by the authorities of San Marino for their delegation which they confirmed for the 1997 Ordinary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly. In accordance with Rule 6, paragraph 7 of the Rules of Procedure, the credentials were referred, without debate, to the Committee on Rules of Procedure.
2.Rule 6, paragraph 7 provides that "in every case where there is an objection or credentials are contested, the reasons shall be stated and shall be based upon one or more of the relevant provisions of the Statute (in particular Articles 3, 25 and 26), including the democratic principles set out in the preamble to the Statute(2)."
3.Article 25 of the Statute of the Council of Europe states that the Assembly shall consist of "Representatives of each Member, elected by its Parliament from among the members thereof, or appointed from among the members of that Parliament, in such manner as it shall decide."
4. In challenging the credentials presented by the authorities of San Marino, Mr Speroni drew attention to the fact that Mr Bugli, a substitute in the delegation of San Marino, had been deprived of his national office by an organ which was not a tribunal of law. In particular, during the procedure, which dated back more than two centuries, Mr Bugli had allegedly had no sight of the charges against him; he had furthermore been unable to defend himself and was unable to appeal because such a remedy was impossible under the procedure in force. The system was thus undemocratic and contrary to the rule of law.
5.The Committee on Rules of Procedure notes that Article 25 of the Statute permits the appointment (as distinct from the election) of a national delegation under procedures decided by the national Parliament. Rule 6(7) of the Rules of Procedure refers to "the principle that national parliamentary delegations should reflect the various currents of opinion within their Parliaments." Moreover, another principle is that the Assembly should seek to avoid interference in the internal political affairs of a member State. A report on the designation of national delegations to the Parliamentary Assembly (September 1996, Doc. 7627) adds that "except in urgent cases, the Parliamentary Assembly should not, however, intervene until domestic remedies had been exhausted."
6.However, the Assembly recently strengthened its possibilities to control compliance with the principle of a pluralistic composition of national delegations by adopting Resolution 1104 (1996). Thus, paragraphs 5 and 6 of Rule 6 now provide as follows:
"5.In so far as this is possible given the number of their members, national delegations of the Assembly should be composed to as to ensure an equitable representation of the political parties or forces present in their parliaments.
6.When a parliament of a member state appoints a new delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly at the opening of the latter's parliamentary year or following parliamentary elections, it shall indicate the methods for the distribution of the seats on the delegation between the political groups existing within it."
7.As regards members of the Assembly who have ceased to hold a national parliamentary mandate, the Committee notes that there is a practice of extending or renewing the mandate of such members. Such a practice may raise questions about compliance with the spirit of Article 25 of the Statute.
8.In September 1996, the Bureau referred the issue of the deprivation of parliamentary status to the Committee on Rules of Procedure which is currently considering a draft report prepared by Mr Eörsi. In that case, Mr Lacour, a member of the French Senate and of the Parliamentary Assembly, had been deprived of his status as a senator on the basis of a decision of the Constitutional Council. However, the specific case was resolved in October 1996 when the President of the Senate and the Permanent Representative of France informed the Clerk of the Assembly that Mr Lacour was no longer a member of the delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly following elections.
9.In conclusion, the Committee on Rules of Procedure does not believe that, in the light of the present provisions of Article 25 of the Statute and of the relevant Rules of Procedure, or in the light of the practice and precedents of the Assembly, there are sufficient grounds for rejecting the credentials presented by the authorities of San Marino for the delegation to the 1997 Ordinary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly.
10. Consequently the Committee on Rules of Procedure proposes the following:
that the Assembly should approve the credentials of the delegation of San Marino;
that the authorities of San Marino should be invited to provide relevant information about the nature of the procedure and system at issue, in particular respect for the principles of democracy and the rule of law.
In the light of the information provided, the Committee may subsequently wish to reconsider the matter and formulate recommendations to the authorities of San Marino.
Reporting committee: Committee on Rules of Procedure
Budgetary implications for the Assembly: None
Reference to committee: decision of the Assembly on 28 January 1997
Draft resolution adopted by the committee on 30 January 1997
Members of the committee: Mrs Lentz-Cornette (Chairperson), Mr Rewaj, Mrs Pulgar, Mr Wallace (Vice-Chairpersons), MM. Açba, Alloncle, Averchev, Bianchi (Alternate: Giannattasio), Brancati (Alternate: Rigo), Cardona (Alternate: De Marco), Sir Sydney Chapman (Alternate: Sir Russell Johnston), MM. Dias, Djerov, Sir Anthony Durant, MM. Eörsi, Etherington, Frankl, Gjellerod, Goovaerts, Mrs Holand, MM. Jansson, Kandare, Korakas, Kostysky, Kyprianou, Laurinkus, Lesein, Magnusson, Maltsev, Marten, Nastase, Olivo (Alternate: Lorenzi), Proriol, Mrs Ragnarsdottir, MM. Schieder, Schloten, von Schmude, Seiler, Sinka, Slobodnik, Spahia, Tahiri.
N.B. The names of those members who took part in the vote are printed in italics.
Secretary of the committee : Mr Schade.
Note: 1by the Committee on Rules of Procedure.
Note: 2Preamble of the Statute, third paragraph: "Reaffirming their devotion to the spiritual and moral values which are the common heritage of their peoples and the true source of individual freedom, political liberty and the rule of law, principles which form the basis of all genuine democracy."