Strasbourg, 17.04.2008 – In order to move forward, Armenia should urgently undertake reforms of the political system and of the electoral process, guarantee the independence of the judiciary, the public media and freedom of assembly, and stop the harassment of opposition media outlets, arbitrary arrests and politically motivated detentions, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) said today.
According to the resolution adopted, “the only way to allow the country to move forward with the above-mentioned urgently-needed reforms is the initiation of an open and constructive dialogue between political forces”, the parliamentarians said.
Following the proposals of the PACE rapporteurs on Armenia (Georges Colombier, France, EPP/CD, and John Prescott, United Kingdom, SOC), the parliamentarians listed a number of conditions for such a dialogue to start, notably the immediate opening of an independent inquiry into the events of 1 March (which resulted in 10 people killed and 200 injured), the urgent release of the persons detained on seemingly artificial and politically motivated charges and the revocation of the amendments recently adopted by the National Assembly to the Law on conducting meetings, assemblies, rallies and demonstrations, with immediate effect.
Unless these conditions are met and an open dialogue on the reforms mentioned is seriously engaged, “the credibility of Armenia as a member of the Council of Europe is put into doubt”, the parliamentarians said.
“The Assembly should therefore consider the possibility of suspending the voting rights of the Armenian delegation to the Assembly at the opening of its June 2008 part-session, if no considerable progress has been made on these requirements by then”, the resolution concludes.