21/10/2005 - 22/10/2005
The Commission will provide an assessment of the amendments to the Armenian constitution which will be submitted to a national referendum on 27 November 2005. The adoption of a constitution providing for an appropriate system of checks and balances is a key step for Armenia to meet European standards.
The Commission will also try to offer a viable solution to the complex issue of reviewing the decisions taken by the United Nations before its departure in 2003 to withdraw the licence to a number of police officers in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The recommendations on the first draft amendments to the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan are expected to be adopted in the presence of the Speaker of the Parliament Mr O.Tekebaev who requested the Commission’s opinion in July 2005. The Minister of Justice of Kyrgyzstan Mr M.Kaipov will present the point of view of the government on the constitutional reform initiated as a result of the “tulip revolution” earlier this year. The Venice Commission’s action in Kyrgyzstan is supported by the European Commission.
The Venice Commission will give its opinion on draft amendments to the Constitution of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” which provide the basis for judicial reform and on the chapter on the judiciary in the draft Constitution of Serbia approved by the Serbian government. Ms M. Mladenovska-Gorgievska and Mr Z. Stojkovic, the Ministers of Justice of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and of Serbia respectively will be present during the discussions.
As concerns Romania, the Venice Commission is expected to adopt, in the presence of State Minister Mr B. Marko, an opinion on the Draft Law on the Status of National Minorities, which provides inter alia for the introduction of a system of cultural autonomy. Another opinion should be adopted on the Draft Law on Religious Freedom, which is to replace an old legislation from 1948 on the general regime of religions.
The Council for Democratic Elections - a tripartite Council of Europe body comprising Parliamentary Assembly, Venice Commission and the Congress - which meets prior to the plenary will adopt joint with OSCE/ODIHR opinions on the electoral legislation of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The referendum on the Constitutional reform in Armenia is scheduled for 27 November and the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan on 6 November.
In addition, a comparative study on referendums is on the agenda of the plenary. This report, based on the contributions from more than thirty European countries, outlines direct democracy as it currently exists in Europe. The Venice Commission plans to elaborate European guidelines on referendums drawing on this comparative analysis.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe Terry Davis will address the Venice Commission on Friday morning 21 October 2005.