Yearbook of European Law - Vol. 14

By Francis Geoffrey Jacobs | Go to book overview

Council of Europe -- Legal Co-operation in 1994

HANS-JüRGEN BARTSCH


I. Introduction

On 10 November 1994, Andorra became the 33rd member of the Council of Europe. The rush in 1993, when seven former East-Bloc countries joined the Organization, was followed by a temporary lull in 1994: no further East-European States were admitted.1 But the Council's development into a truly pan-European organization continued to dominate the political agenda and to influence the legal co-operation programme. Six applications for membership are still pending -- all from Central and Eastern European countries: Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Russia, and Ukraine.

It had been widely expected that a decision on the application by the Russian Federation would be taken already in 1995. However, as a reaction to Russia's military intervention in Chechnya, the Parliamentary Assembly decided to suspend its examination of Russia's application.2 But the door has not been shut. The programme of legal co-operation with Russia has been reinforced, with priority being given to three problem areas: experts drawn from 'old' member States provide advice and assistance in the drafting of new codes on criminal law and procedure, the re-organization of the judiciary, and the reform of the prison system.

Similar assistance is being provided to the other applicant States, including the two former Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Macedonia which are both expected to join the Council of Europe in the near future, possibly by the end of 1995. As a preliminary to full membership, Macedonia ('the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia', as it is officially called at the insistence of Greece) acceded, on 30 March 1994, to fourteen European Conventions, including several treaties in the legal field (on civil liability of hotel-keepers, supervision of conditionally sentenced or released offenders, the international effects of deprivation of the right to drive a motor vehicle, and animal protection). Greece reacted

____________________
1
Latvia was admitted on 10 Feb 1995, Moldova and Albania on 13 July 1995, bringing the number of member States up to thirty-six.
2
Resolution 1055 ( 1995) adopted on 2 Feb 1995.
© Hans-Jürgen Bartsch, 1995. Head of Division, Council of Europe, Strasbourg. Any views expressed are personal.

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