Armenian MP Edmon Marukyan's speech at the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE), Strasbourg 11 October 2017.
October 13, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to thank the rapporteurs of both reports and Venice Commission for their extraordinary work and this important tool, the Rule of Law Checklist, which helps to introduce a new, uniform benchmark for measuring compliance with one of the founding principles of the Council of Europe.

This practical tool is surely going to become an effective monitoring and prevention instrument. The ALDE Group strongly supports the resolution and the report sharing the vision behind these steps.

Indeed, applying it to certain member States, it’s obvious that there are serious threats to the rule of law even among the member States of the Council of Europe. Where the findings of an analysis using the Rule of Law Checklist give rise to concerns, it should trigger a firm reaction on the part of all those involved in promoting and strengthening the principles of the rule of law.

Of course, we consider the Rule of Law Checklist as a practical tool not only for the Council of Europe but also for other national and international stakeholders, be they national or local State institutions, other international organizations or civil society. It will become a benchmark and guiding document for all States in their path to democratization, establishment of the rule of law and respect for human rights.

Let me make a reference to the work of Aristotle on the Rule of Law, which is still influential and actual in this period of history. Though he formulated the question of whether it was better to be ruled by the best man or the best laws, he approached that question realistically, noting that it depended not only on the type of law one was considering but also on the type of regime that enacted and administered the law in question (Politics 1282b).

So that is why I would like to raise my greatest concern regarding the decay of liberal democracies where the Rule of Law is losing its fundamental meaning. The increasing populist forces are trying to implant vague formulations within the law, which will later allow them to act against democratic principles at the meantime “acting according to the law” thus trying to coerce us into bending our principles.

Should we apply the Rule of law Checklist to this case there will not be room for misinterpretation and damage to democracy. The Checklist should become a binding document for all member states and others trying to achieve the implementation of these values, becoming a referencing point for all. Thus, it is our obligation to remain committed to the principles of democracy, human rights and rule of law showing our real and shared identity as full members of Council of Europe.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

օn behalf of ALDE group I call to all institutions of the Council of Europe to use this Checklist as a monitoring tool and fight for the values for which this respected institution is standing, to continue being a role model for all States in their path to democratization.

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