YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–At an April 4-6 seminar held in Tsaghkadzor–the "Process of fulfilling obligations before the Council of Europe (CE) pledged by Armenia," was discussed. The representative of the Secretary General of the CE to Armenia Natalya Vutova–warned that if Armenia fails–before the June 1 regular meeting of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE)–to ratify protocol 6 (which abolishes the death penalty)of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms –it will face serious problems.
Vutova emphasized that Armenia’s work towards fulfilling its obligations before the CE has been negligible. She stressed that Armenia has not adopted necessary laws on mass information–on alternative military service–and on ombudsmen–and has failed to implement constitutional reforms.
According to Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Armen Martirossian–some of the obligations can be fulfilled only after the May 25 referendum on Constitutional changes–and Armenia is obliged to ratify protocol 6 by June 1.
The CE–has been a "death-penalty-free zone" since 1997 and expects its observer states to share its fundamental values.
As an interesting side note–the United States and Japan–are the only two CE observer states to carry out executions–and have been asked by PACE to institute a moratorium on executions and to improve conditions on "death row" as first steps on the path to full abolition of the death penalty–or risk having their observer status called into question.