Council of Europe Treaty Series
The Governments of the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of Denmark, the French Republic, the Kingdom of Greece, the Irish Republic, the Italian Republic, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Norway, the Kingdom of Sweden, the Turkish Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
Whereas under the provisions of Article 40, paragraph a, of the Statute, the Council of Europe, representatives of members and the Secretariat shall enjoy in the territories of its members such privileges and immunities as are necessary for the exercise of their duties;
Whereas under the provisions of paragraph b of the above-mentioned article, the members of the Council have undertaken to enter into an agreement for the purpose of fulfilling the provisions of the said paragraph;
Whereas in pursuance of the above-mentioned paragraph b, the Committee of Ministers has recommended to member governments the acceptance of the following provisions,
Have agreed as follows:
Part I Personality Capacity
The Council of Europe shall possess juridical personality. It shall have the capacity to conclude contracts, to acquire and dispose of movable and immovable property and to institute legal proceedings.
In these matters the Secretary General shall act on behalf of the Council of Europe.
The Secretary General shall co-operate at all times with the competent authorities of the members to facilitate the proper administration of justice, secure the observance of police regulations and prevent the occurrence of any abuse in connection with the privileges, immunities, exemptions and facilities enumerated in the present Agreement.
Part II Property, funds and assets
The Council, its property and assets, wheresoever located and by whomsoever held, shall enjoy immunity from every form of legal process except in so far as in any particular case, the Committee of Ministers has expressly authorised the waiver of this immunity. It is, however, understood that no waiver of immunity shall extend to any measure of execution or detention of property.
The buildings and premises of the Council shall be inviolable. Its property and assets, wheresoever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation or any other form of interference whether by administrative, judicial or legislative action.
The archives of the Council, and in general all documents belonging to it or held by it, shall be inviolable wheresoever located.
Without being restricted by financial controls, regulations or financial moratoria of any kind:
The Council, its assets, income and other property shall be exempt:
Part III Communications
The Committee of Ministers and the Secretary General shall enjoy in the territory of
each member, for their official communications,
treatment at least as favourable as that
accorded by that member to the diplomatic missions of any other government.
No censorship shall be applied to the official correspondence and other official communications of the Committee of Ministers and of the Secretariat.
Part IV Representatives of members to the Committee of Ministers
Representatives at the Committee of Ministers shall, while exercising their functions and during their journeys to and from the place of meeting, enjoy the following privileges and immunities:
In order to secure for the representatives at the Committee of Ministers complete freedom of speech and complete independence in the discharge of their duties, the immunity from legal process in respect of words spoken or written and all acts done by them in discharging their duties shall continue to be accorded, notwithstanding that the persons concerned are no longer engaged in the discharge of such duties.
Privileges and immunities are accorded to the representatives of members, not for the personal benefit of the individuals themselves, but in order to safeguard the independent exercise of their functions in connection with the Committee of Ministers. Consequently, a member not only has the right, but is under a duty to waive the immunity of its representative in any case where, in the opinion of the member, the immunity would impede the course of justice, and where it can be waived without prejudice to the purpose for which the immunity is accorded.
Part V Representatives to the Consultative Assembly
No administrative or other restriction shall be imposed on the free movement to and
from the place of meeting of Representatives
to the Consultative Assembly and their
Representatives and their substitutes shall, in the matter of customs and exchange control, be accorded:
Representatives to the Consultative Assembly and their substitutes shall be immune from all official interrogation and from arrest and all legal proceedings in respect of words spoken or votes cast by them in the exercise of their functions.
During the sessions of the Consultative Assembly, the Representatives to the Assembly and their substitutes, whether they be members of Parliament or not, shall enjoy:
This immunity also applies when they are travelling to and from the place of meeting of the Consultative Assembly. It does not, however, apply when Representatives and their substitutes are found committing, attempting to commit, or just having committed an offence, nor in cases where the Assembly has waived the immunity.
Part VI Officials of the Council
In addition to the immunities and privileges specified in Article 18 below, the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General shall be accorded in respect of themselves, their spouses and minor children the privileges and immunities, exemptions and facilities accorded to diplomatic envoys in accordance with International Law.
The Secretary General will specify the categories of officials to which the provisions of Article 18 below shall apply. He shall communicate them to the governments of all members. The names of the officials included in these categories shall from time to time be made known to the above-mentioned governments.
Officials of the Council of Europe shall:
Privileges and immunities are granted to officials in the interests of the Council of Europe and not for the personal benefit of the individuals themselves. The Secretary General shall have the right and the duty to waive the immunity of any official in any case where, in his opinion, the immunity would impede the course of justice and can be waived without prejudice to the interests of the Council of Europe. In the case of the Secretary General and of the Deputy Secretary General, the Committee of Ministers shall have the right to waive immunity.
Part VII Supplementary agreements
The Council may conclude with any member or members supplementary agreements modifying the provisions of this General Agreement, so far as that member or those members are concerned.
Part VIII Disputes
Any dispute between the Council and private persons regarding supplies furnished, services rendered or immovable property purchased on behalf of the Council, shall be submitted to arbitration, as provided in an administrative order issued by the Secretary General with the approval of the Committee of Ministers.
Part IX Final provisions
The present Agreement shall be ratified. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary General. The Agreement shall come into force as soon as seven signatories have deposited their instruments of ratification.
Nevertheless, pending the entry into force of the Agreement in accordance with the provisions of the preceding paragraph, the signatories agree, in order to avoid any delay in the efficient working of the Council, to apply it provisionally from the date of signature, so far as it is possible to do so under their respective constitutional systems.
In witness whereof the undersigned plenipotentiaries, being duly authorised to that effect, have signed the present General Agreement.
Done at Paris, this 2nd day of September 1949, in French and in English, both texts being equally authentic, in a single copy which shall remain in the archives of the Council of Europe. The Secretary General shall transmit certified copies to each of the signatories.
The Council of Europe and the Government of the French Republic,
Whereas it is necessary to define the privileges and immunities to which the Council of Europe shall be entitled in French territory in respect of indirect taxes;
Whereas they wish to conclude an agreement supplementary to the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities in accordance with Article 20 of this General Agreement,
Have designated as their representatives for this purpose:
for the Council of Europe,
Mr J.-C. PARIS, Secretary General of the Council of Europe,
for the Government of the French Republic,
His Excellency Mr R. SCHUMAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
who have agreed as follows:
Notwithstanding the fact that the Council of Europe does not in principle claim exemption from excise duties and sales taxes included in the price of furniture and premises, in cases where it makes for its official use major purchases the price of which includes duties and taxes of this kind, the French Government shall, wherever possible, take appropriate administrative measures for the reduction or refund of the amount of these duties and taxes.
This Agreement shall come into force from the date of signature.
In witness whereof the respective representatives, duly authorised, have signed this Agreement.
Done at Paris, this 18th day of March 1950.