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Ukraine: Council of Europe Accepts Delegation Despite Executions

Strasbourg, 27 January 1998 (RFE/RL) -- The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe today agreed that the Ukrainian delegation should be allowed to participate in the current session despite concern about the continuing execution of criminals.

The vote in favor rejected a recommendation by the committee on legal affairs and human rights. The committee had proposed that the delegation be excluded from the current session because Ukraine has failed to honor the moratorium on executions it promised when it joined the Council of Europe in 1995. Ukraine had already been threatened with expulsion a year ago.

During today's two-hour debate, members of the Ukrainian delegation argued that a de facto moratorium on executions had been in effect since March last year and said that laws were now being drafted to make the moratorium official. They argued that a vote against the Ukrainian delegation could damage democratic forces in Ukraine.

It was recently reported that at least 13 people were executed by the state in 1997.