2012-Vienna-SHDIM-Grossruck-NothelleGrossruck speaks at Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting in Vienna, 12 July 2012.VIENNA, 13 July 2012 – PA Vice President Wolfgang Grossruck (Austria) and the chairman of the PA's Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions Matteo Mecacci (Italy) participated in the OSCE's Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting on Elections and Election Observation that took place in Vienna on 12-13 July 2012.

Grossruck, who led the delegation, underlined the 20-plus years of experience of the PA in election observation. "When democratic systems are not working properly, when citizens are hindered to express their will in a free and fair procedure, and when they cannot resort to effective judicial remedies in their own country, then we have to state this in no uncertain terms," he said.

Grossruck emphasized that – while being clear when denouncing breaches – due respect for the sovereignty of the participating States made it imperative for observers to be extremely diligent in their work and to use an impeccable and credible observation methodology. In this context, he presented the pertinent Monaco recommendations, receiving a positive response from the Chair of the Permanent Council's Human Dimension Committee, Swiss Ambassador Thomas Greminger.

In the session on election observation and the electoral cycle Mecacci referred to the discussions about Belarus that had taken place during the Annual Session in Monaco. He deplored the restrictions on the free movement of Belarusian human rights activists, referring to the travel ban imposed on Viktor Kornienko from the Belarusian civil initiative "For Fair Elections", who had registered for participation in the meeting. Mecacci also reminded the audience that in most countries the core responsibility for elections lies with the parliaments and underlined the importance of the 1997 Cooperation Agreement.

During the meeting, the delegation was assisted by Ambassador Andreas Nothelle and the staff of the Vienna Liaison Office.