On March 14, 2014, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, after three days of intense debate has approved its decision on the situation around the Russian Federation military occupation of the peninsula.
In the decision was clearly confirmed commitment of national governments of the member states the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations and Council of Europe. It was again stressed the imperative observance of territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine , guaranteed these fundamental instruments . In this regard, the Committee of Ministers called on all parties to the conflict to refrain from steps that would violate these principles.
The Committee of Ministers, as the main statutory body the Council of Europe, supported the Ukrainian authorities in carrying out the necessary reforms, including constitutional reform and reform of the electoral law. The Council of Europe and the Venice Commission will continue to provide all possible assistance to Ukraine in reforming its legal system. Thus, the Council reiterated the legitimacy of the current Ukrainian authorities.
In a decision, the Committee of Ministers welcomed the invitation of the Government of Ukraine to attract Expert Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities give prompt assessment of the protection of minorities in Ukraine.
In addition, the Secretary General was instructed to provide the necessary assistance in the conduct of the upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine to be held on May 25, 2014 .
The Council also welcomed the initiative of the Secretary General to bring the question of the legitimacy of the referendum in the Crimea to the Venice Commission. This authoritative body of the Council of Europe has repeatedly gave an assessment of the Constitution of Ukraine, including those defining the status and powers of the Crimea as well as the procedure for the holding of referendums in Ukraine. It is expected that the Venice Commission approves an opinion on this matter on 21 March during the next plenary session.
However, already at this stage, it is clear that the intention of the self-proclaimed authorities of Crimea to conduct on March 16 a referendum is against the Constitution of Ukraine, what is a major concern of the Council of Europe. This political message was clearly stated in the decision of the Committee of Ministers.