Landsbergis blasts Russian candidate

  • 2007-11-29
  • In cooperation with BNS
VILNIUS -- Europarliamentarian and veteran politician Vytautas Landsbergis has expressedoutraged over Russian representative Mikhail Margelov's potential candidacyfor the presidency of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), eventhough this nation is notorious for violations of human rights.

"Russia hasn't implemented a single of the commitments made when becominga European Council (EC) member, and in turn, the EC is ready to honor Russiawith presidency over the Assembly rather than announce a restriction onRussia's right to vote", Landsbergis said in a statement.

The former Lithuanian Prime Minister, who was the public face of the Baltic independence movement for many in the west, said Europe is making a joke of itself by giving theopportunity of presiding over PACE to a representative of the pro-Putin United Russia Party.

Margelov could take over the presidency over the Assembly from January 2008, though a final decision has yet to be made.

"As far as I know, it has already been negotiated; however a decisionhasn't been made. Well, he's nominated as a candidate to chairman. I don'tknow how the British Conservatives came to this decision," Landsbergis toldBNS.

In the opinion of the Europarliamentarian, the human rights situation inRussia is getting worse, and is the reason for hundreds of suits piledup in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), and the number is growing"despite the disappearances of prosecutors and other military terrorismmeans employed by Russia, especially in Chechnya."

The European Council is an organization established to fight againstviolations of human rights, which unites 47 countries of the continent.Member countries of the organization have signed the European Convention forthe Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and supplementaryprotocols.

Nations under the convention have made a commitment to respect humanrights and freedoms and their citizens have the right to reportactions made by country's institutions to the ECHR.

Russia became an EC member in 1996 and quickly became the leading subject of human rights complaints.

Last year, Russian citizens lodged 10,569 complaints against their country's institutions, accounting for over 22 percent of allcomplaints addressed to the Court.

PACE is itself no stranger to controversy. Estonian politicians have repeatedly accused the present chairman, Rene van der Linden of having pro-Russian leanings.