Following allegations of corruption against a former member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Assembly is now in need of formulating a response. To recapture the recent debate around transparency in the PACE, and to take stock of the latest developments, PACE members Pieter Omtzigt and Frank Schwabe were jointly hosting a side event at the PACE spring plenary session.
ESI's Gerald Knaus and John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International, spoke about the need to investigate the allegations and what is at stake.
In his statement, Gerald noted that "what started out as the Volonte Scandal now became the Agramunt Scandal" and recounted the long history of PACE president Pedro Agramunt's relations with the government of Azerbaijan and pointed out that this is just a symptom of the corruption that has taken root at the Council of Europe.
In our latest newsletter, we argued that:
"either there will be a decision for an "independent external investigation body without any further delay", as many delegations argued, as the bureau requested and as Jagland recommended. Or we will see continued delay, obfuscation, perhaps a weak and impossible mandate, or a farcical internal enquiry without resources, time and independence."
- El Confidencial, Rafael Méndez, "Cerco al 'embajador del caviar': el Consejo de Europa, contra Agramunt por ver a Assad" ("'Caviar Ambassador' under siege: the Council of Europe speaks out against Agramunt over his visit to Assad") (25 April 2017)
- ESI newsletter: Merchants of Doubt or investigating Corruption (21 April 2017)
- Open letter by civil society organisations to PACE: A call for launching external, independent, and impartial investigation into allegations of corruption and other violations of the Parliamentary Assembly Code of Conduct in connection with its work on Azerbaijan (20 April 2017)
- ESI: Open letter to PACE members: backing Sawicki – how to investigate corruption in Strasbourg (27 March 2017)
- ESI report: The European Swamp (Caviar Diplomacy Part 2) – Prosecutors, corruption and the Council of Europe (17 December 2017)
- ESI paper: A Portrait of Deception. Monitoring Azerbaijan or why Pedro Agramunt should resign (22 January 2013)
- ESI publications on Caviar Diplomacy