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Setting up an independent European commission of inquiry into serious allegations of grave human rights violations

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Information report Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights Rapporteur: Ms Marina SCHUSTER, Germany, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

Summary

Back in 2009, the Parliamentary Assembly agreed to examine the advisability of setting up an independent European commission of inquiry into serious allegations of grave human rights violations ("the Cassese proposal").

The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, having balanced the costs and benefits of various options, has expressed its preference for strengthening the Assembly’s own investigatory powers rather than creating a completely new mechanism which would have limited added value with respect to the Council of Europe’s existing human rights monitoring bodies, such as the European Court of Human Rights and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT).

According to the Legal Committee, the Assembly’s present mechanism of parliamentary rapporteurs, mandated to prepare reports on specific topics, provides – to a certain extent – the possibility to implement certain elements of the Cassese proposal, which should be fed into the ongoing reform process of the Assembly:

– legally clarifying and strengthening, as appropriate, national delegations’ duty to co-operate with Assembly rapporteurs;

– clarifying and strengthening, in specific instances, the role of rapporteurs in following up Assembly resolutions and recommendations.