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The PACE Resolutions on Ukraine
21 May 2020 17:02

On April 9, 2014, the PACE Resolution 1988 (2014) "Recent developments in Ukraine: threats to the functioning of democratic institutions" was adopted, in which the Assembly fully recognises the legitimacy of the new authorities in Kyiv and the legality of their decisions, reaffirms its strong support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. This Resolution confirms the position of the PACE on the illegality of the so-called referendum held on March 16, 2014, in Crimea and Sevastopol, and it is noted that outcome of this referendum and the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation have no legal effect and are not recognised by the Council of Europe.

On April 10, 2014, the PACE adopted Resolution 1990 (2014) "Reconsideration on substantive grounds of the previously ratified credentials of the Russian delegation", in which the Assembly resolves to suspend the following rights of the delegation of the Russian Federation: the right to vote in the Assembly, the right to be represented in PACE governing bodies, the right to participate in the election observation missions. The grounds for challenging the credentials of the Russian delegation were the annexation of Crimea, the further threat of force, and interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine. The Assembly reserves the right to annul the credentials of the Russian delegation, if the Russian Federation does not de-escalate the situation and reverse the annexation of Crimea by January 2015.

On January 27, 2015, the PACE Resolution 2028 (2015) "The humanitarian situation of Ukrainian refugees and displaced persons" was adopted. The Assembly underlines that only a sustainable political solution based on respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and on respect for the rights of all citizens of Ukraine, can lead to the improvement of the humanitarian situation. The PACE calls on all parties, including the Russian Federation, to implement the provisions of the Minsk agreements. And calls on the Russian authorities to refrain from destabilising Ukraine and financing and providing military support to illegal armed groups and immediately release all prisoners of war and other Ukrainian citizens who remain illegally detained in Russian prisons.

On January 28, 2015, PACE Resolution 2034 (2015) "Challenge, on substantive grounds, of the still unratified credentials of the delegation of the Russian Federation" was adopted. In addition to the sanctions outlined in PACE Resolution 1990 (2014), the Assembly resolves to suspend the following rights of the Russian delegation: the right to be appointed rapporteur; the right to be a member of an ad hoc committee on observation of elections; the right to represent the Assembly in Council of Europe bodies as well as external institutions and organisations, both institutionally and on an occasional basis.

Resolution 2063 (2015) “Consideration of the annulment of the previously ratified credentials of the delegation of the Russian Federation (follow-up to paragraph 16 of Resolution 2034 (2015))” was adopted on June 24, 2015. The PACE recognized the presence of Russian military troops on the territory of Ukraine. In addition, the Assembly calls upon the Russian authorities to fully implement the Minsk Agreements and the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, to which the Russian Federation is a party, and use its influence on the pro-Russian illegal armed groups to do the same, immediately reverse the illegal annexation of Crimea, withdraw all its troops from Ukrainian territory, release all captives, in particular civilians and those held in the Russian Federation.

On June 25, 2015, PACE Resolution 2067 (2015) and Recommendation 2076 (2015) “Missing persons during the conflict in Ukraine” were adopted. The Assembly further urges the authorities of the Russian Federation, in particular, to release all prisoners illegally captured in Ukrainian territory; provide the families of missing Russian soldiers with accurate information on the fate and whereabouts of their missing relatives and immediately grant access to the territory of occupied Crimea to international human rights monitoring missions, to conduct an effective investigation and prosecute perpetrators in cases of abduction, enforced disappearances, torture and politically motivated killings of Ukrainian activists and members of the Crimean Tatar community.

On April 21, 2016, the PACE adopted Resolution 2112 (2016) and Recommendation 2090 (2016) "The humanitarian concerns with regard to people captured during the war in Ukraine". The Resolution expresses the PACE's deep concern over the fate of hundreds of Ukrainian citizens abducted or captured as a result of the Russian Federation's attempted annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Russian military aggression in Donbas, as well as allegations of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners and acts of violence. pro-Russian militants in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and the Russian occupation authorities in the Crimea; states that Russian anti-extremism, separatism and terrorism legislation has been used to prosecute and imprison Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar activists on trumped-up charges. With this Resolution, the Parliamentary Assembly also responded to serious human rights violations in the Russian-occupied Crimea, in particular, to the occupiers' attempts to destroy the representative body of the Crimean Tatar people, the Mejlis. The PACE has condemned the ban on the Majlis as an extremist organization because it violates international democratic standards and demonstrates a systematic violation of the rights of Crimean Tatars.

On October 12, 2016, PACE Resolution 2132 (2016) “Political Consequences of the Russian Aggression in Ukraine” was adopted, in which the Assembly condemns the illegal Duma elections held on 18 September in occupied Crimea and considers their results null and void. The incorporation of Ukrainian sovereign territory into Russian federal constituencies and the creation of four single-member constituencies are blunt violations of international law and effectively compromise the legitimacy of the Russian Parliament – is said in Resolution. The Assembly reiterates its call on the Russian authorities to reverse the illegal annexation of Crimea and allow Ukraine to regain control of the peninsula.

On October 12, 2016, the PACE also adopted Resolution 2133 (2016) Resolution "Legal remedies for human rights violations on the Ukrainian territories outside the control of the Ukrainian authorities." PACE Resolution 2133 (2016) is the first international instrument to recognize the Russian Federation as a party to the conflict and to use the term "effective control". The document clearly states that "the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and the military intervention by Russian forces in eastern Ukraine violate international law and the principles upheld by the Council of Europe." It is noted that both in Crimea and in the conflict zone in the Donbas region, serious human rights violations have occurred, and are still occurring. Under international law, the Russian Federation, which exercises de facto control over these territories, is responsible for the protection of their populations. Russia must, therefore, guarantee the human rights of all inhabitants of Crimea and the “DPR” and “LPR”. The Resolution also calls on the Russian authorities to use all available legal means to repeal the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to outlaw the Mejlis, and to allow the Crimean Tatar people to choose their self-governing institutions, and to ensure unrestricted access by representatives of international organisations and consular officers of Ukraine to convicted persons displaced from territories temporarily not under Ukrainian control to penitentiary institutions in the territory of the Russian Federation.

On January 25, 2017, PACE Resolution 2145 (2017) "The functioning of Democratic Institutions in Ukraine" was adopted. The Parliamentary Assembly welcomes the ambitious reform programme put in place by the Ukrainian authorities to address the demands made by the Ukrainian population during the “Revolution of Dignity”. It recognises that these reforms are taking place in a challenging environment, as a result of the Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea. While recognising the links between the Minsk process and several reforms, the Assembly emphasises that the absence of progress in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements should not be used as an excuse for not maintaining the pace of, or commitment to, the implementation of the other reforms that are essential for the democratic consolidation of the country. Thus, PACE Resolution 2145 (2017) reiterates constant support of the Assembly of our state and its positive assessment of the process of implementation of the ambitious reform agenda in Ukraine.

On January 23, 2018, the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted Resolution 2198 (2018) and Recommendation 2119 (2018) "Humanitarian consequences of the war in Ukraine". The Parliamentary Assembly is alarmed by the humanitarian situation resulting from the ongoing Russian war against Ukraine, which is taking place in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and from the occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. More than 4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. The Assembly strongly condemns the Russian policy of shifting the demographic composition of the population of illegally annexed Crimea by forcing the pro-Ukrainian population and, in particular, the Crimean Tatars to leave their homeland, while at the same time increasing migration of the Russian population to the peninsula, and calls on the Russian Federation to put an end to this repression. The Assembly stresses that this Russian policy should be viewed as a violation of Article 49 of Geneva Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, according to which individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motivation. The resolution calls, among other things, on the Russian authorities to uphold all its obligations under applicable international law as an occupying power and to ensure respect for the human rights and the security of all people living in occupied Crimea. There are also calls to lift the ban on the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, as ordered by the International Court of Justice on provisional measures in the case of Ukraine v. Russia (19 April 2017), as well as the entry bans on its leaders, as the Mejlis is the legitimate self-representative organ of the Crimean Tatar community. Also, in the Resolution, the Assembly once again called on the Russian authorities to "execute in full all the demands contained in Assembly Resolutions 2132 (2016) on the political consequences of the Russian aggression in Ukraine and 2133 (2016) to stop military aggression against Ukraine and restore its territorial integrity" and "Resolutions 1990 (2014), 2034 (2015) and 2063 (2015) to ensure the rights of minorities in Crimea ”.

On June 28, 2018, the PACE session adopted Resolution 2231 (2018) "Ukrainian citizens detained as political prisoners by the Russian Federation." In the document, the Assembly expresses concern by reports that as many as 70 or more Ukrainian citizens – widely considered, including by the European Parliament in its resolution of 14 June 2018 on Russia, to be political prisoners – are still detained in Crimea or the Russian Federation on politically motivated or fabricated charges.

On January 24, 2019, the PACE adopted Resolution 2259 (2019) "The escalation of tensions around the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait and threats to European security." Main requirements of the Resolution: immediately release the Ukrainian servicemen and ensure they are granted the necessary medical, legal and/or consular assistance in accordance with relevant provisions of international humanitarian law such as the Geneva Conventions; ensure freedom of passage in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait in accordance with the above-mentioned treaty and any other mutually agreed procedures, and to respect the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The adopted document is a significant step forward in the assessment of Russia's aggression against Ukraine by European politicians, as the text for the first time contains a reference to the Geneva Conventions, which de facto includes the status of "prisoners of war".

On June 24, 2019, the PACE adopted Resolution 2287 (2019) "Strengthening the decision-making process of the Parliamentary Assembly concerning credentials and voting" (return of the Russian Federation to the PACE). The resolution contains provisions that are critically unacceptable for the Ukrainian side, namely: - Clause 7 allows, as an exception, to "deviate" from the requirements of the CoE Statute and PACE Rules of Procedure and allow "member States which are not represented by a delegation to the Assembly" (actually only Russia) to present the credentials of their representatives and substitutes at the June 2019 part-session of the Assembly (before the Rules of Procedure, delegations provided for the submission of delegations for approval at the beginning of each regular annual session); - Paragraph 10, while retaining the very opportunity to challenge the powers of national delegations, removed from the procedure for challenging key rights - "rights of participation or representation in the activities of the Assembly and its bodies". Thus, Resolution 2287 (2019) significantly weakens the PACE sanctions mechanism. The Resolution fully satisfies the ultimate requirements of the Russian Federation. Conditions have been created for the resumption of full-fledged activity of Russian parliamentarians in the PACE.

On June 28, 2020, the PACE adopted Resolution 2292 (2019) "Challenge, on substantive grounds, of the still unratified credentials of the parliamentary delegation of the Russian Federation", which confirmed the powers of the Russian delegation to the PACE. The Assembly effectively disregarded all substantive arguments in challenging the powers of the Russian delegation and rejected all proposed by the delegations of Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Georgia and the United Kingdom amendments to the draft Resolution June Resolution 2287 (2019) " Strengthening the decision-making process of the Parliamentary Assembly concerning credentials and voting ".

On January 29, 2020, the Assembly considered the issue of appealing the powers of the Russian delegation, adopting Resolution 2320 (2020) "Challenge, on substantive grounds, of the still unratified credentials of the parliamentary delegation of the Russian Federation." Although the powers of the parliamentary delegation of the Russian Federation were approved in full to work at the PACE 2020 session, two important amendments for Ukraine were adopted during the consideration of this document, namely: № 13 (The Assembly calls on the Russian delegation to fulfil all recommendations included in Resolution 1990 (2014), Resolution 2034 (2015) and Resolution 2063 (2015) and №19 (indicating the unchanged position of the PACE on Crimea as a territory illegally annexed by the Russian Federation.) The document also contains several requirements for Russia, including the call to fully implement the Minsk Agreements, to which the Russian Federation is a party.

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