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Rules of procedure

March 2005

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Adopted by the International Council of FIACAT in December 2004, entried into force in March 2005

Preamble

The International Federation of ACAT (FIACAT) has its registered office at 27 rue de Maubeuge, 75009 Paris, France.

It campaigns for the abolition of torture and uses all forms of appropriate action to oppose the use of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment, including capital punishment, throughout the world.

It acts as a link between ACATs worldwide. Its object consists in:

-  helping the ACATs to coordinate their action and to exchange views;
-  extending their work;
-  offering them support;
-  representing them in international relations and contributing to the work of international bodies;
-  maintaining contact with Churches, international Christian organisations and NGOs;
-  organising training seminars and developing training materials and action plans.

As set out in Article 15 of the Statutes, the Rules of Procedure shall complement FIACAT’s Statutes, detailing the day-to-day running of the Federation.

The Rules neither amend nor contradict the Statutes.

The Rules shall be applicable both to FIACAT’s members (the ACATs) and to its executive bodies (International Bureau, International Council, Secretariat) in the same way as the Statutes. They shall enter into force three months after being adopted by the International Council.

Article 1 - Membership

Any association wishing to apply for affiliation must have worked within the ACAT network for at least two years.

a) Conditions of affiliation

The association must:

-  have legal status in its own country;
-  hold a General Meeting on a regular basis, in accordance with its statutes;
-  state its acceptance of the FIACAT Charter;
-  engage in action which is linked to ACAT’s objectives in the country and is impartial and independent;
-  have worked consistently with FIACAT, in a spirit of mutual trust;
-  agree to pay an annual membership contribution to FIACAT in accordance with Article 13 of the Statutes.

b) Procedure

Any association wishing to become affiliated with FIACAT shall send the following documents to the International Secretariat:

-  a letter requesting affiliation;
-  its statutes;
-  a list of members of its executive body (e.g. board or executive committee), stating each member’s occupation, sex, faith and role within the organisation);
-  the minutes of the previous two General Assemblies;
-  total membership numbers;
-  a report detailing past and planned activities;
-  a report listing funding sources and budgets.

The International Bureau shall consider all applications and deliver an opinion thereon.

Should the Bureau give a favourable opinion, the International Council shall vote on the matter in accordance with Article 5 of the Statutes. The vote shall take place either at the following session or by correspondence.

Article 2 - Termination of membership

a) Grounds for termination

Other than in the case of voluntary termination of membership expressed in writing, an affiliated association’s membership may be terminated by the International Council in the following cases:

-  where there are serious grounds for doing so, such as failure to comply with the conditions of affiliation or any act which has jeopardised or is jeopardising the existence or credibility of the Federation or its affiliated associations;
-  where other reasons are stated by the International Council, such as failure to hold a General Meeting or unjustified failure to provide information on the association’s activities.

In accordance with Article 6(2) of the Statutes, the International Bureau may decide to exclude an affiliated association, while awaiting a decision in writing from the International Council, following:
-  non-payment of membership contributions;
-  absence of activity on the part of the association;
-  failure to report regularly to the International Bureau despite reminders;
-  dissolution or cessation of existence of the association.

b) Procedure

The International Bureau shall take its decision on the matter, if possible at its next meeting, and will issue a reasoned opinion. The Bureau may decide to exclude an affiliated association with immediate effect if there are serious grounds for doing so.

The International Secretariat shall inform the association of this decision and give it an opportunity to state its case.

After receiving the opinion of the International Bureau and a response from the association in question, the International Council shall take a vote in accordance with Article 6(3) of the Statutes. The vote shall be held either at its next session or by correspondence.

Article 3 - The International Council

a) Organisation

The International Council shall be convened, organised and run by the International Bureau. The President of the Federation shall chair Council meetings. His or her place may be taken by a member of the International Bureau.

b) Quorum

At the beginning of the International Council meeting, the President of the Federation shall establish that there is a quorum, i.e. that over half the affiliated associations are present or duly represented, in accordance with Article 8(2) of the Statutes.

If the quorum is not present, as set out in Article 8(5) of the Statutes, the International Bureau shall convene another meeting of the International Council within three months. No quorum shall be required for the proceedings at this meeting.

Having established that a quorum is present, two people shall, on a proposal from the Bureau, be elected by the International Council from among the representatives of affiliated associations with voting powers, to oversee the proper conduct of voting procedures.

c) Deliberations

The agenda, drawn up in advance by the International Bureau, shall be submitted at the beginning of the International Council meeting for approval by the representatives of the affiliated associations. Once the agenda has been adopted, any proposed amendments shall first be put to a vote by the International Council.

Any affiliated association may put forward a draft resolution to the International Council. To do so, it must have the backing of at least two other affiliated associations and submit the proposal to the International Bureau no later than two months prior to the International Council meeting.

In order to put a draft resolution to the International Council during the session itself, an affiliated organisation must have the backing of at least one quarter of the affiliated associations present or represented at the meeting. The International Council shall then elect, on a proposal from the International Bureau, a group of people responsible for finalising the text of the resolution which shall be submitted to the Council before the end of the session.

d) Voting

As set out in Article 8(6) of the Statutes, the International Council shall adopt its resolutions by an absolute majority, except where it is expressly stated in the Statutes that a two-thirds majority of affiliated members is required, which is the case for admitting or excluding an association, for amending the Statutes and for voluntary dissolution of the Federation.

Prior to the vote, the Chair of the meeting shall announce the minimum number of votes required for the resolution to be adopted. In the count, all votes shall have equal value.

In the event of a tie, a second vote shall be held after which, should there again be a tie, the President of the Federation shall have the casting vote.

Article 4 - The International Bureau

a) Composition

In addition to the conditions set out in Article 9(2) of the Statutes, the composition of the International Bureau shall reflect the diverse origins of the members of FIACAT and seek to achieve balanced representation in terms of gender, confession (Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and other Christian denominations) and geographical origins.

b) Candidates

To ensure that the International Bureau can function properly, candidates must satisfy a number of criteria, including:

-  having the appropriate expertise, experience and knowledge to enable them to take on specific responsibilities (post of treasurer, responsibility for matters pertaining to specific geographical regions, representing FIACAT in relations with international organisations and NGO coalitions, etc);
-  understanding the two working languages (French and English) and being able to express themselves in one or other of these languages;
-  being available to carry out the relevant work.

To be eligible to stand, a candidate must be nominated by an affiliated association.

No later than four months before the International Council meeting, the International Bureau shall send all affiliated associations a call for nominations, setting out the necessary conditions and suggesting a maximum number of Bureau members.

Any affiliated associations wishing to nominate a candidate must notify the International Secretariat no later than two months before the International Council meeting, by sending a detailed curriculum vitae of the nominee and a letter setting out his or her reasons for standing.

No later than one month before the International Council meeting, the International Secretariat shall send all affiliated associations a list of the candidates standing for election to the International Bureau, together with each candidate’s curriculum vitae.

c) Electoral procedure

There shall be two separate election procedures: one for the President of the Federation and one for the other members of the International Bureau. Voting shall be by secret ballot. On a proposal from the Bureau, the International Council shall set the maximum number of candidates to be elected to the Bureau.

In the case of the election of the President of the Federation, the Chair of the meeting shall invite the candidate(s) to introduce him or herself / themselves and explain why he/she/they has/have decided to stand.

When the vote is taken, ballot papers indicating a list of all the candidates in alphabetical order shall be distributed. Voters shall ring the name of their chosen candidate. For their ballot paper to be deemed valid, voters may ring one name only.

In the case of the election of members of the International Bureau, the Chair of the meeting shall invite the candidates to introduce themselves and explain their reasons for wishing to be elected. When the vote is taken, ballot papers indicating the number of members to be elected followed by a list of all the candidates in alphabetical order shall be distributed. Voters shall ring the names of their chosen candidates and vote for the required number of candidates.

To be elected, a candidate must gain an absolute majority of the votes cast. In the event of a tie, a second ballot shall be held after which, should there be a further tie, the President of the Federation shall have the casting vote.

d) Elected candidates

Once elected, members of the International Bureau shall not represent the affiliated associations which nominated them, nor any particular geographical region nor any particular denomination.

Article 5 - The President

a) Candidacy

Candidates for President must have served a full term or part of a term as a member of the International Bureau or, failing that, have worked closely with FIACAT.

b) Election

The President of FIACAT shall be elected separately from other members of the International Bureau and in accordance with the procedure set out in Article 4(c).

Article 6 - Working Groups

To assist FIACAT in its decision making and action, the International Bureau may set up permanent or ad hoc working groups.

These groups may, for example, focus on geographical areas, specific issues or the work of international organisations, organise training sessions or provide technical support.

Members of the working groups shall be chosen on the basis of their particular expertise.

Article 7 - Membership contributions

Each affiliated association’s annual contribution shall be set by the International Council on a proposal from the International Bureau.

Contributions shall be payable annually, by 30 June.

In years when an International Council is held, contributions must be paid by the commencement of the Council meeting for an affiliated organisation to have the right to vote.


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