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66th plenary session of the Commission (Venice)

17/03/2006 - 18/03/2006

Secret detentions and transport of prisoners, election of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, property restitution to the victims of the South Ossetian conflict – the legal aspects of these issues were on the agenda of the 66th plenary session of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe held on 17 and 18 March in Venice (Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista).

The Venice Commission adopted an opinion on the international legal obligations of Council of Europe member States in respect of secret detentions and inter-state transport of prisoners. This opinion, requested by Dick Marty on 15 December 2005, is a part of the Council of Europe action related to the issue of secret detentions and transport of prisoners, which includes the Parliamentary Assembly inquiry into the allegations and the Secretary General's report under Article 52 of the ECHR made public on 1 March.

Following the request made by the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr Tihić, on 2 March 2006, the Venice Commission endorsed its draft opinion on the three different proposals for the election of the Presidency of the country. The draft opinion was delivered to the BiH Presidency on 7 March 2006.

The Commission also adopted its opinion on the restitution of property to the victims of the South Ossetian conflict. The opinion is the result of the comments by several experts, exchanges of views with the Georgian authorities, South Ossetian NGOs and international organisations present in Georgia, held in the course of the visit to Georgia in February 2006.

In the framework of the plenary session, the Council for Democratic Elections (CDE) – a tripartite organ of the Council of Europe comprising representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress and the Venice - held its session. The CDE discussed such issues as participation of political parties in elections and the revision of the electoral code of Georgia.

The Commission held exchange of views with:
-Mr Boualem Bessaïh, President of the Constitutional Council of Algeria, and with Mr. Mohamed Abdel Kader Abdallah, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of Egypt, Secretary General of the Union of Arab Constitutional Courts and Councils;
- the Southern African Judges Commission,
- Ms Jozefina Topalli, Speaker of the Albanian Parliament, and Ylli Bufi, Deputy Speaker of the Albanian parliament;
- Mr Gia Kavtaradze, Minister of Justice of Georgia.
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