CE Official Urges Armenia to Honor its Commitmen’s

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Wrapping up his three-day visit to Armenia Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer urged Armenian authorities on Wednesday–July 10–to honor all the obligations the country has assumed when joining the pan-European organization 18 months ago.

"If Armenia wants to become a full-fledged member of the European family of nations–it should fulfill all the commitmen’s it undertook a year and a half ago when it joined the Council of Europe–including a full moratorium on death penalty," Schwimmer said–indicating that Armenia’should eliminate a legislative clause in its new criminal code–which–though has replaced the death penalty with life imprisonment–but has left a loophole which says that all criminals that committed crimes subject to death penalty may be executed before the new code is put into effect–a clear implication that the perpetrators of 1999 parliamentary killings must be executed.

"Council of Europe recognizes no reservations for its member countries and will not tolerate any exception," Schwimmer however said–adding that Armenia will some time in future join also the Council of Europe Protocol 13 that bans capital punishment in all circumstances.

Schwimmer argued that full and complete honoring of its obligations towards the Council of Europe would serve first of all the interests of Armenian citizens.

Schwimmer also spoke about the upcoming municipal elections slated for autumn–and also presidential and parliamentary elections–scheduled for next spring. "The outcome of all elections will have a key importance for the further democratization of Armenia," he said–adding that now when Armenia has become a Council of Europe member country it should handle the elections on an appropriate level.

Schwimmer also referred to the Azerbaijani complaints that it wants a Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) picked up reporter on Nagorno Karabakh be replaced. "The reporter is appointed by the PACE political affairs committee and no country is entitled to demand his or her replacement," he said–adding that the reporter will be arriving in the region in autumn and the report would be ready early next year.

And before concluding Schwimmer welcomed the cooperation between Iran and Armenia–saying that it was very important in terms of multi-cultural dialogue.

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