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Activities by year: 2003

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Transparency of electoral process and electoral disputes - Georgia

18/12/2003 - 19/12/2003
The Venice Commission organised in Strasbourg, in collaboration with the Directorate of Political Affairs, an electoral training seminar, which focused on two main topics: transparency of the electoral process and electoral disputes in Georgia. In view of the presidential election of 4 January 2004, five experts mandated by the Venice Commission shared their international expertise with a high-level Georgian participants, including the Chairman of the Constitutional Court, the Chairman of the Supreme Court, members of the Central Electoral Commission and from Districts commissions, judges fro... read more

Electoral assistance to the Central Electoral Commission - Georgia

15/12/2003 - 10/01/2004
Two electoral experts of the Venice Commission assisted the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), in view of the presidential elections of 4 January 2004. The experts advised the CEC on the preparation of the Election Day, in particular concerning the voters’ lists and in the preparation of the CEC instructions; then, they assisted the CEC with view to a fair count of the results.
(Tbilisi)

Geneva Conventions after 11/9, the European Constitution, the Constitutional reform in Ukraine and free elections in South Caucasus - 57th Plenary Session of the Commission (Venice, Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista)

12/12/2003 - 13/12/2003
The Commission will finalise its reply to the question by the Parliamentary Assembly whether the Geneva Conventions for the treatment of prisoners of war and the protection of civilians should be amended in the light of post September 11 developments, in particularly taking into account the debate around the detainees kept in Guantanamo Bay.

The Commission will also round up its discussions on the impact of the future European Constitution on human rights protection in Europe. The coexistence of the EU Charter for Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Hum... read more

Establishment of the Southern African Judges Commission (SAJC)

07/12/2003
The Venice Commission achieved a major step in its co-operation with constitutional courts and equivalent bodies in the Southern African region when the Southern African Judges Commission (SAJC) was established last Sunday in Johannesburg. The SAJC is composed of Chief Justices of constitutional and supreme courts from English and Portuguese speaking countries in the southern part of Africa ranging from Uganda to Republic of South Africa.

This Commission has been primarily established to foster close ties between the courts of the region in view of supporting each other in case of ... read more

Electoral standards

03/12/2003 - 05/12/2003
The Venice Commission and the Council for Democratic Elections will take part in the second meeting of the Group of Specialists on Legal and Operational Standards for e-enabled voting, and will take part in the drafting of a relevant recommendation to be submitted to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Southern Africa - Constitutional Justice

28/11/2003 - 29/11/2003
2nd seminar of Liaison Officers of Constitutional and Supreme Courts of the Southern African Region
(Windhoek)

Symposium "Young people and democratic institutions: from disillusionment to participation"

27/11/2003 - 29/11/2003
This event, organised by the European Youth Centre of the Council of Europe, will aim at a better understanding of the behaviour of young citizens vis-à-vis democratic institutions and at improving youth political participation. The Venice Commission is invited to intervene on the participation of young people in elections.
(Strasbourg)

Albania - Constitutional justice

26/11/2003 - 27/11/2003
Conference in co-operation with the Constitutional Court, on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution
(Tirana)

Reform of civil service in Europe - UniDem Campus

24/11/2003 - 28/11/2003
The seminar focusses on the role of public administrations in a democracy, the principles established in ethical codes for public officials, the availability of information in the public sector, as well as human resources management and methods to improve the performance of civil servants.
(Trieste)

Third Seminar of the national correspondents of the Association of the Constitutional Courts using the French language (ACCPUF)

17/11/2003 - 19/11/2003
The Venice Commission will attend this seminar where it will present the role and the functioning of constitutional courts during elections.

The ACCPUF co-operates with the Venice Commission on the CODICES database, which compiles about 4500 decisions in 26 languages of 65 constitutional courts or similar bodies in Europe and elsewhere.
(Paris)

IInd Conference of Secretaries General of Constitutional Courts and Courts of Equivalent Jurisdictions (Madrid)

14/11/2003 - 15/11/2003

electoral assistance, Bosnia-Herzegovina

11/11/2003 - 18/11/2003
Further to the request of the High Representative of the United Nations (OHR) in Mostar, the Venice Commission sent an electoral expert to assist the Commission for Reforming the City of Mostar, set up in September 2003 by the OHR, in order to improve the city electoral system.
(Mostar)

Georgia - Parliamentary elections and Referendum of 2 November 2003

02/11/2003
The Venice Commission has stated in its opinion No 261/2003 that the (possible positive) result of the referendum, aiming at reducing the number of seats in the Georgian parliament, should not have any impact on the legislative elections conducted on the same day.

The number of seats in the parliament may only be reduced after the necessary changes are made to the Constitution and the relevant laws: only the parliament which will be elected in 2007 will thus be affected by this reform.

Electoral assistance - Georgia

26/10/2003 - 08/11/2003
Prof. Bernard Owen, electoral expert from the Venice Commission, is assisting the Central Electoral Commission of Georgia from 26 October to the 8 November 2003. This assistance concerns the preparation of the parliamentary elections held on 2 November 2003. More specifically, professor Owen is providing legal advice on regulations with regard to the functioning of the lower electoral commissions, counting of the ballots, and post E-day matters.

Professor Owen is closely working with the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in Georgia, Mr Plamen ... read more

Electoral issues

23/10/2003 - 25/10/2003
Participation in the annual conference of the Association of Central and Eastern European Election Officials on “Media and Elections and e-Voting”.
(London)

56th Plenary Session of the Commission (Venice)

17/10/2003 - 18/10/2003
The Venice Commission held its 56th plenary session on 17-18 October at its seat in Venice (Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista).

At the request of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe the Commission has discussed in the presence of the President of the Parliamentary Assembly, Peter Schieder, two reports. The first report concerns the question whether the Geneva Conventions for the treatment of prisoners of war and the protection of civilians should be amended to take account of post 9/11 developments. The other report deals with the impact of the future... read more

Constitutional Justice

16/10/2003 - 18/10/2003
XIIIth Conference of the European Constitutional Courts - preparatory meeting
(Nicosia)

6th meeting of the Council for Democratic Elections

16/10/2003
The most important item on the agenda of the next meeting of the Council for Democratic Elections will be a report on “electoral systems: table of available solutions and selection criteria “.

The Council for Democratic Elections includes representatives of includes of the Venice Commission, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe. The OSCE/ODIHR, the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE and the Association of Central and Eastern European Election Officials (ACEEEO) have observer status.

(Venice, Scuola Grande di San Giovanni... read more

Serbia - drafting of the Constitution

07/10/2003
The Commission have been closely involved in the constitutional reforms in Serbia and Montenegro since the beginning of the process. Currently, the Constitutional Commission of Serbia is preparing a draft of a new Constitution for the entity.

Nenad Canak, who chairs the constitutional sub-commission on the territorial organisation of Serbia, is quoted by Novi Sad’s Dnevnik newspaper on Tuesday as saying that differing views taken by the members of the Sub-commission could not be coordinated without the help of the Venice Commission, Belgrade media reported.

"After all,... read more

The Netherlands - members

03/10/2003
Reappointment of Mr Pieter VAN DIJK as member and Mr E. LUKACS as substitute member of the Commission in respect of the Netherlands

VIIIe Conférence internationale de Erevan sur "Les critères de base des restrictions aux droits de l'homme dans la pratique de la justice constitutionnelle" (Erevan)

03/10/2003 - 04/10/2003

UniDem Seminar in co-operation with the Information Centre of the Council of Europe in Moscow on "Direct Democracy: Referendum as a tool of Citizens' Participation in Public Life" (Moscow)

03/10/2003 - 04/10/2003

Seminar UniDem "Direct Democracy: Referendum as a Tool of Citizens’ Participation in Public Life

03/10/2003 - 04/10/2003

Armenia - Constitutional Justice Conference on "Basic Criteria of Limitation of Human Rights in the Practice of Constitutional Justice"

03/10/2003 - 04/10/2003

Limitations of human rights was the theme of the VIIIth Yerevan international conference organised by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the Constitutional Court of Armenia on 3 and 4 October. The event was organised within the framework of the constitutional justice activities of the Venice Commission. On this occasion a co-operation agreement between the Venice Commission and the Conference of the Constitutional Control Organs of the Countries of Young Democracy (CCCOCYD) was signed.

The conference brought together presidents and judges of 19 European court... read more

Electoral issues - Russian Federation

03/10/2003 - 04/10/2003
The Venice Commission in cooperation with the Information Centre of the Council of Europe in Moscow and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations organises a UNIDEM seminar "Direct democracy: referendum as a tool of citizens' participation in public life". This seminar will be attended by participants from the Russian Federation, Albania, France, Switzerland and Italy who will examine such issues as organisation of national, regional and local referendums, the experience of different countries and the organisation of referendums in countries-candidates for the EU membership. The s... read more

Romania

01/10/2003

The Prime Minister of Romania Mr Adrian NASTASE, addressing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, expressed his gratitude for the work done by the Venice Commission in relation to the Romanian Constitution and the Commission's contribution to the setting of standards with regard to the treatment of kin-minorities in Europe.

(Strasbourg, Council of Europe)

Georgia - New member

30/09/2003
Appointment of Mr John KHETSURIANI, President of the Constitutional Court, as member of the Commission in respect of Georgia

Japan - New observer

22/09/2003
Appointment of Mr Naoyuki IWAI, Consul, Consulate General of Japan in Strasbourg, as observer to the Commission in respect of Japan

Georgia - Electoral questions

22/09/2003 - 24/09/2003
In view of the parliamentary elections in Georgia on 2 November 2003, the Venice Commission organises an electoral training workshop for members of electoral administrations, judges dealing with electoral litigations, observers, and proxies.

The training will focus on three stages of the electoral process: the pre-electoral period (electoral campaign, role of electoral administrations), the election day (duties and responsibilities of voters, electoral administrations, observers and proxies), and counting and electoral litigation procedures.

At the last day of the traini... read more

Global workshop to draft and advance Model Election Law Provisions to ensure electoral participation of people with disabilities

21/09/2003 - 23/09/2003
This international workshop aims to facilitate the participation of citizens with disabilities in elections. It is co-organised by the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), and Inclusion International. The Venice Commission is invited to share its expertise on electoral issues.

After a first step in Sigtuna, Sweden (14 – 17 September 2002), where participants endorsed the Bill of Electoral Rights for Citizens with Disabilities, this 2nd workshop will aim a... read more

Electoral issues

18/09/2003 - 19/09/2003
The Venice Commission and the Council for Democratic Elections will take part in the second meeting of the Group of Specialists on legal, operational and technical Standards for e-enabled voting.
(Strasbourg)

Latvia, Member

11/09/2003
Reappointment of Mr Aivars Endziņš as member of the Commission in respect of Latvia

Moldova - federalism

11/09/2003 - 12/09/2003
Participation in the conference on
“Frozen conflicts in Europe - the approach of democratic security: the case of Transnistria”.
The event is organised by the Government of the Republic of Moldova in the framework of the Moldovan Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
(Chişinau)

Electoral training workshop (Baku)

08/09/2003 - 10/09/2003

Electoral matters - Azerbaijan

08/09/2003 - 10/09/2003
The Venice Commission in co-operation with Directorate General of Human Rights, Directorate General of Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe and the Central Electoral Commission of Azerbaijan is organising an Electoral training workshop with the participation of members of the central electoral commissions, members of lower electoral commissions, judges dealing with election matters, representatives and delegates of political parties and candidates, election observers, and media.
(Baku)

Lithuania - Constitutional Justice

04/09/2003 - 05/09/2003
Conference on "Constitutional Justice and the Rule of Law" in co-operation with the Constitutional Court of Lithuania on the occasion of its 10th anniversary.
(Vilnius)

Armenia

02/09/2003 - 03/09/2003
The draft law on Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) was discussed in the National Assembly. The event was co-organized by the National Assembly, OSCE and Council of Europe (Yerevan)

Albania - Electoral questions

01/09/2003 - 03/09/2003
The Venice Commission is organising, in co-operation with the Albanian Central Election Commission, a training workshop on elections with a view to the next local elections, which will take place on 12 October 2003. The first part of this workshop will deal with electoral litigation and is aimed at members of the Central Election Commission and the Electoral Appeal Body, as well as members of experts of the Constitutional Court. The second part will deal also with the composition and functioning of election commissions as well as with the electoral process itself - including vote counting - ... read more

Southern Africa - Constitutional Justice

21/07/2003 - 22/07/2003
Meeting of Presidents of Constitutional and Supreme Courts of the Southern African Region on the "Sustaining independence of the judiciary. Co-operation between the judiciary of the region"
(Zanzibar)

Azerbaijan - Constitutional Justice

14/07/2003 - 15/07/2003
Conference on the "Role of the Constitutional Court in the Protection of Democratic Values"
on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the Constitutional Court of Republic of Azerbaijan
(Baku)

Federalism - Moldova

04/07/2003 - 05/07/2003
The Venice Commission, in cooperation with the Moldovan authorities, is holding a conference on the "Consolidation of State and National Identity".

Some 40 participants - politicians and scientists - coming from Belgium, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Romania, the Russian Federation, Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine will focus on such issues as multiethnic state, protection of the rights of minorities and consolidation of democratic institutions.

The languages of the conference are English, French, Moldovan and Russian
(Chisinau)

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Electoral issues

02/07/2003 - 03/07/2003
The Venice Commission and the Council for Democratic Elections will take part in the second meeting of the Group of Specialists on Legal and Operational Standards for e-enabled voting.
(Strasbourg)

Belarus - Constitutional Justice

26/06/2003 - 27/06/2003
Conference on "Strengthening of the principles of a democratic State ruled by law in the Republic of Belarus by way of the constitutional control".
(Minsk)

Constitutional Justice

18/06/2003 - 20/06/2003
Participation in the 3rd Congress of the Association of Constitutional Courts using the French Language (ACCPUF) on the principle of Fraternity
(Ottawa)

55th Plenary Session of the Commission (Venice)

13/06/2003 - 14/06/2003
The Venice Commission holds its 55th Plenary Session in Venice in the presence of Mr Peter Schieder, President of the Parliamentary Assembly. This time the Commission examines the proposed constitutional reform in Ukraine and adopt conclusions on the constitutional aspects of judicial reform in Bulgaria. The opinion on the draft law of Georgia on prohibition of activities of extremist organisations is also on the agenda as well as the Commission’s further involvement in the process of adopting new constitutions in Moldova and Serbia.

On the same occasion, the Council for Democrati... read more

UniDem seminar

23/05/2003 - 24/05/2003
"European and American constitutionalism",
organised by the Venice Commission in cooperation with the Institute of International Law, University of Göttingen, the Yale Law School and the Volkswagenstiftung
(Göttingen)

San Marino - New members

20/05/2003
Appointment of Mr Piero GUALTIERI as member of the Commission and Ms Barbara REFFI as substitute member in respect of San Marino

Electoral issues

19/05/2003 - 20/05/2003
The Venice Commission will take part in the third meeting of the expert group on international election standards, organised by the OSCE/ODIHR. One of the main objectives of the meeting is to ensure compatibility of electoral standards emanating from different international organisations, including those from the Venice Commission (Code of good practice in electoral matters).
Vienna

Bosnia and Herzegovina

19/05/2003
Participation in the colloquy of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on "Bosnia and Herzegovina on the road to European integration"
(Sarajevo)

Portugal - New members

14/05/2003
Appointment of Mr José CARDOSO da COSTA as member of the Commission and Ms Assunção ESTEVES as substitute member in respect of Portugal

Constitutional Justice

09/05/2003
2nd meeting of the Joint Council on Constitutional Justice
(Oslo)

Constitutional Justice

08/05/2003
Training session for liaison officers from constitutional courts and equivalent bodies on the use of CODICES, the entry masks and the Systematic Thesaurus
(Oslo)

Constitutional Justice

08/05/2003
Meeting of the Working Group on the Systematic Thesaurus
(Oslo)

Armenia - Electoral Issues

05/05/2003 - 08/05/2003
Venice Commission organises a training seminar on the electoral issues for the members of electoral commissions in view of the parliamentary elections on 25 May 2003.

The training will deal with the electoral campaign, the organisation of the Election Day, notably vis-à-vis observers and representatives of political parties, but also voters themselves. At the same time, the seminar aims to point out the problematic provisions of the electoral law regarding the post-electoral period in general, and the role of courts and electoral commissions in questions of appeals in particular.read more

United Kingdom - New substitute member

29/04/2003
Nomination of Professor Anthony BRADLEY as substitute member of the Commissioni in respect of the United Kingdom

Albania - Constitutional Justice

28/04/2003 - 29/04/2003
Conference " Effects of the Constitutional Courts' decisions" in co-operation with the Constitutional Court of Albania (Tirana)

Azerbaijan - Electoral issues

14/04/2003
The Head of the Legal Department of the Presidential Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr Shahin Aliyev, and the Head of the Presidential Administration Mr Safa Mirzoyev are in Strasbourg, at the invitation of the Venice Commission, for the final round of discussions on the future Electoral Code of Azerbaijan.

The implementation of the experts’ new recommendations concerning the draft Electoral Code of Azerbaijan constitutes the focus of the meeting. The composition of the Central Electoral Commission and its decision-making procedures are equally on the agenda.

OSC... read more

Request for opinion by PACE - Geneva conventions - new categories of combatants that have emerged recently

11/04/2003
The Venice Commission received from the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly a request for an opinion "regarding the possible need for a further development of the Geneva conventions, in light of the new categories of combatants that have emerged recently".

Electoral issues

10/04/2003 - 11/04/2003
As decided in the first meeting of the Group of Specialists on legal, operational and technical Standards for e-enabled voting (IP1-S-EE), the Venice Commission takes part, as an observer, in the first meeting of the Group of Specialists on Legal and Operational Standards for e-enabled voting (EE-S-LOS).

Bulgaria - Request for opinion

09/04/2003
Request by the Minister of Justice of Bulgaria for an opinion on the reform of the judicial system.

Ukraine - Request for opinon

02/04/2003
The Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has requested the Venice Commission to give an opinion on the draft law entitled "On Amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine", proposed by the President of Ukraine Kuchma.

The Venice Commission is to discuss the opinion at its next plenary session on 13 -14 June 2003 in Venice.

Electoral issues - Armenia

26/03/2003 - 29/03/2003
Venice Commission is assisting the Constitutional Court of Armenia in dealing with the applications lodged in connection with the last presidential elections. Two experts and one member of the Secretariat of the Commission are sharing their expertise with the judges, who are to find precise legal answers to the questions regarding electoral issues raised by the applications.
(Yerevan)

Electoral issues - Albania

24/03/2003 - 26/03/2003
Participation in the final meeting of the Bipartisan Committee for Electoral Reform. The meeting will focus in particular on complaints and appeals, voters’ lists and simplification of the election system.
(Tirana)

54th Plenary session of the Commission (Venice)

14/03/2003 - 15/03/2003
The Commission examines, at the request of the Parliamentary Assembly, the text of the draft Constitution of the Chechen Republic as submitted to referendum on 23 March 2003. Other topics include the laws on political parties of Armenia and Moldova, the draft Electoral Code of Azerbaijan, laws on national minorities in Croatia and Lithuania and the intended revision of the constitution of Ukraine.

Azerbaijan - electoral issues

26/02/2003 - 27/02/2003
The Venice Commission is invited by the Baku OSCE office to participate in a Conference on the Election Law in Azerbaijan.This conference is a further step in the co-operation between OSCE-ODIHR, Azeri authorities and the Venice Commission with a view to implement better electoral standards.

Ukraine - Constitutional reform

25/02/2003 - 26/02/2003
Upon the invitation of the President of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine representatives of the Venice Commission will have an exchange of views with an Ad-hoc Commission on Constitutional Reform in Ukraine established by the Parliament.
Kyiv

Serbia and Montenegro

17/02/2003
At the occasion of the meeting of experts on the Draft Charter on Human and Minority Rights of Serbia and Montenegro, Mr. Markert, Deputy Secretary of the Venice Commission, gave an interview to the FoNet news agency expressing the Commission's willingness to assist in the drafting of the new Serbian Constitution.

Azerbaijan - Electoral issues

13/02/2003 - 14/02/2003
Mr. Shahin Aliyev, Head of the Legal Department of the Presidential Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan, is invited to Strasbourg by the Venice Commission, to participate in discussions regarding the draft Election Code of Azerbaijan. The OSCE/ODIHR, co-organiser of this meeting, is the Venice Commission partner in this legal expertise. The meeting aims at the implementation of the Commission and OSCE/ODIHR recommendations on the draft Election Code of Azerbaijan.
Strasbourg

Serbia and Montenegro - Request for opinion

06/02/2003
On 4 February, with the adoption of the Constitutional Charter of the State union of Serbia and Montenegro, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia formally seized to exist. The Venice Commission assisted the Commission for Drafting of Constitutional Charter of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro - better known as the Constitutional Commission - in its work and followed closely the process of the adoption of the text.

The next legal text of a constitutional significance to be adopted by the new state union of Serbia and Montenegro is the Human Rights Charter. On 6 February 2003 the... read more

Electoral issues

30/01/2003 - 31/01/2003
The Commission was invited to a meeting on electoral standards in Europe, organised by the OSCE/ODIHR. The participants prepared the final version of the OSCE/ODIHR document on international standards and commitments concerning the right to democratic elections. One of the main objectives of the meeting was to ensure compatibility of electoral standards emanating from different international organisations, including those from the Venice Commission (Code of good practice in electoral matters).
Vienna

UniDem Campus - Trieste, Italy

27/01/2003 - 31/01/2003
35 civil servants from 11 countries will attend the regular UniDem Campus organised by the Venice Commission. This time the theme is "EU legislation: effectiveness and impact on national legal systems"

Draft constitution for Chechen republic - Request for opinon

17/01/2003
The President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Mr Peter Schieder, asked on 17 January 2003 the Venice Commission to give an opinion on the draft Constitution of the Chechen Republic. This draft will be submitted to a referendum on 23 March 2003.
The Venice Commission is to discuss the opinion at its next plenary session on 14 -15 March 2003.

Armenia - request for opinon

17/01/2003
On 17 January 2003 the Vice President of the National Assembly of Armenia, Mr T.Torosyan, asked the Venice Commission for its opinion on:

- the amendments to the proposed reform of the Armenian Constitution;
- the recently adopted law on political parties;
- the draft law on the Human Rights Defender

These opinions will be discussed with a view to adoption at the next plenary Session in Venice on 14-15 March 2003.

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