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Recent and Current Events

Romania - Conference on the role of legal assistants of constitutional courts

31/05/2016 - 01/06/2016
Bucharest – The Venice Commission participates in a conference on “The role of Assistant-Magistrates in the jurisdiction of constitutional courts”. This activity is organised by the Constitutional Court of Romania.

Egypt - Annual Youth Forum

27/05/2016 - 30/05/2016
Alexandria – The Venice Commission will participate in the Regional Youth Exchange Programme "Do we need a gender agenda for politics?”

The event is organised by the Swedish Alexandria University and by the Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute.

The participation of the Commission experts is funded through the South Programme "Towards strengthened democratic governance in the Southern Mediterranean".

Latvia – International Conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Constitutional Court

26/05/2016 - 27/05/2016
Riga – Organisation by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia together with the Venice Commission of an International Conference on “Judicial Activism of Constitutional Courts in a Democratic State” in celebration of the Court’s 20th anniversary.

This activity is organised with the support of the Programmatic Cooperation Framework (PCF), which is a programme financed by the European Union and implemented by the Council of Europe.

Request for opinion - Turkey

26/05/2016
Paris - on 23 May 2016, the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly decided to request the opinion of the Venice Commission on “the duties, competences and functioning” of the “criminal courts of peace” established by the Law 5235 of Turkey.

New publication - Venice Commission opinions and reports in the electoral field

26/05/2016
Kyiv - The Venice Commission, in cooperation with the Election Law Institute of Ukraine, has issued a new publication in Ukrainian on all recent electoral opinions on Ukraine and general reports in the electoral field adopted by the Venice Commission.

The publication was presented in Kyiv at the National University “Kyiv-Mohila Academy”.

Electoral legislation in Ukraine in the context of European democratic standards - International scientific conference

26/05/2016 - 27/05/2016
Kyiv - Venice Commission in cooperation with the Election Law Institute of Ukraine and National University "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy" organised an international scientific conference on «Electoral legislation in Ukraine in the context of European democratic standards».

Mexico – The role of courts and the protection of political rights – International Conference

26/05/2016 - 27/05/2016
Mexico City – The President of the Venice Commission participated in an international conference on the role of courts and the protection of fundamental rights”.

Request for opinion - “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

25/05/2016
Council of Europe, Strasbourg - the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on the amended electoral code of November 2015 of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

Tunis - the foundations of independence of independent bodies - brainstorming workshop

25/05/2016 - 26/05/2016
Tunis - The Venice Commission participates in a brainstorming workshop on "the foundations of the independence of independent bodies." The event is organised by the instance of Truth and Dignity, by the UNDP and by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

This workshop will bring together representatives of independent bodies created after the revolution (ISIE, HAICA, INLUCC, IVD, IPSJJ) and aims to discuss the foundations of the independence of these bodies with particular emphasis on the following issues:

- the process of selecting and removing members of the instanc... read more

Georgia - forthcoming opinion - amendments to the Organic Law on the Constitutional Court of Georgia and to the Law amending on Constitutional Legal Proceedings

24/05/2016
Council of Europe, Strasbourg - In the framework of the preparation of an opinion on amendments to the Organic Law on the Constitutional Court of Georgia and to the Law amending the Law on Constitutional Legal Proceedings, representatives of the President of Georgia will provide information to the Secretariat. The Ministry of Justice and the Parliamentary Committee of Human Rights and Civic Integration the will provide information via Skype the following day.

New publication - The Freedom of Peaceful Assembly in Europe

24/05/2016
Max Plank Institute, Germany - The volume “The Freedom of Peaceful Assembly in Europe”, recently published by the Nomos publishing house, presents an overview of the current state of the legislation on the freedom of assembly in eleven selected member states of the Venice Commission: the UK, France, the US, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, the Russian Federation, the Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and Tunisia.

This publication may serve as a reference for researchers or practitioners who seek specific information on the legal bases, restrictions, or implementation of the freedom of assembly in... read more

Request for opinion – Georgia

20/05/2016
The Venice Commission received two requests for an opinion on amendments to the Organic Law on the Constitutional Court and on the Law on Constitutional Legal Proceedings of Georgia: from the Head of the Presidential Administration, on behalf of the President of Georgia, and from the Permanent Representative of Georgia with the Council of Europe, on behalf of the Georgian Government and Parliament. In view of the urgency of the matter, the President requested an opinion to be prepared within 10 days.

Moldova - Constitutionality of Constitutional Amendments – Roundtable

20/05/2016
Chisinau – The Venice Commission participated in a roundtable on “Constitutionality of Constitutional Amendments”, organised by the Constitutional Court of Moldova.

ECHR - Challenges to Implementing the Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights – International conference

19/05/2016 - 20/05/2016
University of Liverpool London Campus, London – The Venice Commission will participate in an international conference “Challenges to Implementing the Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights: Dialogues on Prisoner Voting Rights”.

The effectiveness of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is dependent on how readily its judgments are executed by the Contracting Parties. This workshop will look at one of the most controversial confrontations between the ECtHR and the Contracting Parties in its history: the prisoner voting issue.

The Council of Europe, Univer... read more

Belarus - Electoral standards and the electoral process improvement - Round Table

18/05/2016
Minsk – The Venice Commission participated in a round table on "Electoral standards and the electoral process improvement”. The event was organised by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in cooperation with the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus.

This activity falls in the framework of the Programmatic Cooperation Framework (PCF) for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus, funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe.

Russia – “Modern Constitutional Justice: Challenges and Prospects” – International Conference

17/05/2016
Saint-Petersburg – The President of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio addressed an international conference organised on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the activity of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation. The conference, which is part of the St. Petersburg Legal Forum, was devoted to the following topic: “Modern Constitutional Justice: Challenges and Prospects”.

Morocco - 17th Training session of collaborators of the Mediators members of the AOMF

17/05/2016 - 19/05/2016
Rabat - The Venice Commission contributes to a training session organised by the AOMF and the Mediator Institution of the Kingdom of Morocco in Rabat on 17-19 May 2016. The general subject of the session is “Communication objectives and strategies for the mediation institutions in the times of the “social web”.

This contribution is funded through the Joint EU - Council of Europe programme "Towards a Strengthened Democratic Governance in the Southern Mediterranean”

New publication - "Venice Commission reference texts in the field of elections and political parties"

13/05/2016
Council of Europe, Strasbourg – The Venice Commission has just published a new book containing its main reference texts in the field of elections and political parties in Russian language.

This publication represents a collection of the fundamental documents of the Venice Commission regarding the general conduct of elections and referenda, as well as the participation of political parties in elections. Each of the three sections of the book opens with the document where the main principles of the European electoral heritage are developed, in particular the “Code of good practice in... read more

Russia – forthcoming opinion on the law on non-desirable activities of foreign and international organisations– visit to the country

10/05/2016 - 11/05/2016
Moscow - In the framework of a request of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Venice Commission is preparing an opinion on the Law “on undesirable activities of foreign and international organisations”, adopted by the State Duma of the Russian Federation on 19 May 2015 (Federal Law No. 129-F3 on Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation).

The rapporteurs visited Moscow on 10-11 May to exchange views with the representatives of the State Duma, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Prosecutor’s General Office, the Human Rights Ombudsman, as well ... read more

Mexico – Financing of political parties and electoral campaigns - international workshop

05/05/2016
Mexico City – The National Electoral Institute of Mexico invited the Venice Commission to participate in an international workshop on “Financing of political parties and electoral campaigns”. The presentation of the Mexican system of control over financial resources of political parties and their ways of financing of electoral campaigns was followed by an exchange of experiences between different countries of Latin America and international organisations, notably the OAS (Organisation of American states), the Center for Electoral Promotion and Assistance (CAPEL) and the Venice Commission of t... read more

Malta - workshop on e-voting

04/05/2016
Valletta – The Venice Commission participates in a workshop on e-voting, organised by the Electoral Commission of Malta.

Armenia – preparation of the preliminary opinion on the draft electoral code

03/05/2016
Council of Europe, Strasbourg – At the request of the Armenian authorities, a meeting with representatives of the Venice Commission to discuss the latest version of the draft electoral Code took place at the Council of Europe’s premises, in the framework of the preparation of the joint opinion of the Venice Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR on this draft. The joint preliminary opinion will be released after the meeting.

Just published - “Mass surveillance: who is watching the watchers?”

03/05/2016
Council of Europe, Strasbourg – The Council of Europe Publishing, upon the initiative of the Venice Commission, has just published a new issue in the collection “Point of law – point of view” entitled “Mass surveillance: who is watching the watchers?”

In the past decades in several countries, a massive “surveillance-industrial complex” has evolved, which risks escaping democratic control and accountability and threatens the free and open character of our societies.

Certain surveillance practices endanger fundamental human rights, including the rights to privacy, freedo... read more

Poland – forthcoming opinion - country visit

28/04/2016 - 29/04/2016
Warsaw – a delegation of the Venice Commission travelled to Warsaw to discuss the recent amendments to the Law on the Police. It held discussions with the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of the Interior, Prosecutor’s Office, Chancellery of the Sejm and the Senate, Bar Council, Commissioner for Human Rights, Special Services Coordinator and NGOs.

The delegation was composed of Venice Commission members from the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland and 2 Secretariat officials.

The opinion of the Venice Commission on this issue has been requested by the Parliamentary Assembly... read more

Russia – forthcoming opinion - country visit

27/04/2016 - 28/04/2016
Moscow - a delegation of the Venice Commission travelled to Moscow and Saint-Petersburg to exchange views with the Russian authorities in the framework of the preparation of the final opinion on the amendments to the Federal Law on the Constitutional Court. The delegation held meetings with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, the Constitutional court.

The adoption of the final opinion is planned for the next Plenary session which will take place on 10-11 June 2016 In Venice.

Turkey – forthcoming opinion on the legal framework for the imposition of curfews – visit to the country

26/04/2016 - 27/04/2016
Ankara - In the framework of a recent request of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Venice Commission is preparing an opinion, to be adopted in June 2016, on the legal framework for the imposition of curfews in Turkey. The rapporteurs visited Ankara on 26-27 April to exchange views with the relevant authorities - Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, under Secretariat of Public Order and Security, the Constitutional Court – as well as with the representatives of political parties and of the civil society.

The delegation of the Commission is as follow... read more

Turkey - Constitutional Justice

25/04/2016 - 26/04/2016
Ankara - The President of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio participated in the event marking the 54th anniversary of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Turkey.

Spain – forthcoming opinion - country visit

25/04/2016
Madrid –In the framework of the preparation of an opinion on amendments to the organic Law on the Constitutional Court of Spain, a delegation of the Venice Commission composed by Vice-President Grabenwarter and Mr Neppi Modona, held meetings with the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Commission of the Congress of Deputies, the General Council of the Judiciary, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice and with academics.

Serbia - Early parliamentary elections - Legal assistance to PACE

22/04/2016 - 25/04/2016
Belgrade - A delegation of the Venice Commission provided legal advice to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe delegation observing the early parliamentary elections in Serbia scheduled on 24 April. The PACE delegation observed the opening, voting and counting processes of the early parliamentary elections. The team met with the representatives of political parties, NGOs and international community.

Financing of political parties - international conference organised by IFES

22/04/2016
Prague - IFES organised a meeting of the "Political finance community of practice", which brought together representatives of many international organisations active in the field of funding of political parties and election campaigns. A representative of the Venice Commission took part in a mapping exercise whereby current gaps and opportunities in the field will be identified.

Bulgaria – Independence and impartiality of the judiciary

21/04/2016 - 22/04/2016
Sofia – The President of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio was invited to participate in a High-Level Conference of Ministers of Justice and representatives of the judiciary on the "Strengthening the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, a prerequisite for the rule of law in member states of the Council of Europe".

This conference was organised by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Bulgaria in cooperation with the Council of Europe, in the framework of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Turkey – forthcoming opinion on the "Internet Law" – visit to the country

19/04/2016 - 20/04/2016
Ankara – In the framework of the preparation of an opinion on the regulation of publications on the internet and combating crimes committed by means of such publication, a delegation of the Venice Commission visited Turkey on 19-20 April 2016.

The delegation met with the representatives of the following Turkish authorities: the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications, the Telecommunication Communication Presidency, the Union of Access Providers, the Court of Cassation, the Union of Turkish Bar Associations, the Ministry of Justice, the Prosecutor’s Office, Peace... read more

Jordan - Women’s participation in elections – international workshop

19/04/2016 - 21/04/2016
Dead Sea – a delegation of the Venice Commission participated in a workshop entitled «The role of electoral management bodies in enhancing women’s participation in elections», which took place at the Dead Sea in Jordan, on 19-21 April 2016.
The Commission’s participation in the event was funded through the South Programme "Towards strengthened democratic governance in the Southern Mediterranean", a joint programme funded by the European Union and implemented by the Council of Europe.

Request for opinion - Moldova

18/04/2016
Moldovan authorities requested an opinion of the Venice Commission on the draft law on the amendment and completion of the electoral code regarding direct elections of the President.

This activity falls in the framework of the Programmatic Cooperation Framework (PCF) for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus, funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe.

Electoral issues - 13th European Conference of the Electoral Management Bodies

14/04/2016 - 15/04/2016
Bucharest - The Venice Commission organised in cooperation with the Permanent Electoral Authority the thirteenth European Conference of the Electoral Management Bodies. The Conference was dedicated to "New Technologies in Elections: Public Trust and Challenges for Electoral Management Bodies". All details are available on the Conference's dedicated webpage (link below).

This activity partially falls in the framework of the Programmatic Cooperation Framework (PCF) for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus, funded by the European Union and the Council... read more

Spain: Seminar on political parties and referendums

14/04/2016 - 14/04/2016
Valladolid.- The Venice Commission was invited to attend a seminar organised on 14 April at the University of Valladolid, to discuss the relationship between forms of direct democracy, such as the organisation of referendums, and the role played by mechanisms of representative democracy through political parties.

Romania - Electoral matters – 1st scientific “Electoral Expert” debates

12/04/2016 - 13/04/2016
Bucharest - The Venice Commission organised, in co-operation with the Permanent Electoral Authority of Romania, the 1st “Electoral Expert” debates on “Electoral Law and New Technologies: Legal Challenges”. This conference aims in particular to address the implications of constitutional and international law principles in the field. The reports delivered at this occasion will appear in the "Electoral Expert" review published by the Permanent Electoral Authority of Romania, the only review dedicated to electoral law in Europe.

Freedom of assembly - guidelines

11/04/2016 - 12/04/2016
Warsaw - Representatives of the Venice Commission participated in the Panel meeting of the OSCE-ODIHR on the revision of the joint guidelines on freedom of assembly.

Portuguese-Speaking Countries - Constitutional Justice

07/04/2016 - 08/04/2016
Brasilia - The President of the Venice Commission participated in the IVth General Assembly of the Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions of the Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CJCPLP).

Ukraine - Media and elections in Ukraine: challenges and possible solutions - conference

05/04/2016
Kyiv - National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine, Central Election Commission, Verkhovna Rada and the Council of Europe organised a conference on «Media and elections in Ukraine: challenges and possible solutions», which took place on 5 April 2016.

An expert of the Venice Commission presented a report on the following subject: "Media coverage of elections: international experience and Ukrainian context".

The conference was organised with the financial support of the Council of Europe projects “Strengthening freedom of media and establishing a public ... read more

South Mediterranean - Regional UniDem Campus seminar for high-level civil servants

04/04/2016 - 07/04/2016
Rabat, Morocco - The Venice Commission, in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Service and Modernisation of the Administration of the Kingdom of Morocco, organised the second UniDem Campus seminar for high-level civil servants of the MENA region (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, the Palestinian National Authority and Tunisia).

The seminar focused on “Open government”. The topics discussed were as follows:
• Open government: principles and implementation;
• Citizen participation;
• Transparency and budgetary transparency, accountabi... read more

Kazakhstan - forthcoming opinion on draft Code of Judicial Ethics - visit to the country

04/04/2016 - 05/04/2016
Astana - At the request of the Kazakh authorities dated 20 January 2016, a delegation of the Venice Commission visited Astana on 4 and 5 April 2016 with a view of preparing an opinion on the draft Code of Judicial Ethics of Kazakhstan.
The opinion will be presented at the June 2016 plenary session in Venice.

“Blasphemy and other limitations of freedom of expression” - mini-publication

02/04/2016
Following the Joint Council on Constitutional Justice’s very successful mini-conference on “Blasphemy and other limitations of freedom of expression” held in Bucharest on 12 June 2015, the Secretariat of the Venice Commission produced a mini-publication of the presentations made at that event in order to broaden the access to these concrete examples and highlight the work of the Liaison Officers to the Venice Commission.

New publication - Judicial systems of Central Asia: a comparative overview

23/03/2016
Council of Europe, Strasbourg – The Venice Commission has published an overview of the judicial systems of Central Asia. It aims to be a short guide for lawyers and academics wishing to familiarise themselves with the judiciary of the following five Central Asian States: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The idea of the publication was not to assess and evaluate, but to provide an overview of the judiciary in the region, contributing to a better understanding of the typical features, setting out the different national characteristics and helping the... read more

PACE – Request for opinion - Ukraine

18/03/2016
Paris – During its meeting in Paris on 9 March 2016, the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly decided to request the opinion of the Venice Commission on the amendments to the Law on the election of the people’s deputies of Ukraine (law n˚ 3700).

This activity falls in the framework of the Programmatic Cooperation Framework (PCF) for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus, funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe.

Rule of Law - The Venice Commission adopts the Rule of Law Checklist

18/03/2016
The Rule of Law is a topical theme. Far from being confined to the discussion of specialists, it has become a subject of political discussion and assessment. It is essential for these discussions and assessments to fully understand their subject. The Venice Commission did this by adopting the Rule of Law Checklist. The Checklist aims at enabling an objective, thorough, transparent and equal assessment. Various actors wishing to assess the respect of the Rule of Law in a country now have therefore a reliable tool for doing so. This applies, for example, to parliaments and other State authoriti... read more

Declaration by the Venice Commission on undue interference in the work of Constitutional Courts in its member States

16/03/2016
At its 106th plenary session (Venice, 11-12 March 2016), the Venice Commission had to discuss several cases of undue interference in the work of Constitutional Courts in its member States, a topic which will also be a focus of the 4th Congress of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice (Vilnius, 10-13 September 2017).

A specific opinion, adopted at the 106th plenary session, dealt with amendments to the Law on the Constitutional Tribunal of Poland.

The Venice Commission expresses serious concern over statements made by the President of Turkey who has declared tha... read more

Kazakhstan - request for opinion and visit to the country - draft Code of Judicial Ethics

15/03/2016
At the request of the Kazakh authorities dated 20 January 2016, a delegation of the Venice Commission visited Astana on 4 and 5 April 2016 with a view to preparing an opinion on the draft Code of Judicial Ethics of Kazakhstan.
The opinion will be presented at the June 2016 Plenary Session in Venice.

France - the framework of the constitutional reform to be improved to comply fully with European standards

15/03/2016
Strasbourg, Council of Europe – The Venice Commission published an opinion in which it states that the framework of the current constitutional reform in France could be improved. In particular, any decision to deprive persons of their nationality must fully respect the right to a fair trial and the principle of proportionality.

In the Commission’s opinion, the introduction of a system for the deprivation of nationality or the rights attached to nationality, applying to all French nationals, whether of French origin or naturalised, or mono-, bi- or multinational, does not in itsel... read more

PACE – Request for opinion – Turkey

15/03/2016
Paris – During its meeting in Paris on 9 March 2016, the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly decided to request the opinion of the Venice Commission on the compatibility of the legal framework governing curfews in Turkey with Council of Europe standards.

Armenia - Electoral reform - country visit

14/03/2016 - 16/03/2016
Yerevan - From 14 to 16 March 2016, a delegation of the Venice Commission visited Armenia to discuss the ongoing draft electoral reform with the national authorities.

This activity falls in the framework of the Programmatic Cooperation Framework (PCF) for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus, funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe.

World Conference on Constitutional Justice - Bureau

12/03/2016
Venice - The World Conference on Constitutional Justice held a meeting of its Bureau.

106th Plenary Session of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe

11/03/2016 - 12/03/2016
Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista, Venice - The Commission

- Held an exchange of views with Mr Kristaq Traja, Chair of the High Level Expert Group on the Amendment of the Constitution of Albania, and adopted the final opinion on the draft constitutional amendments on the judiciary of Albania;

- Held an exchange of views with Mr Thomas Campeaux, Director of Public Liberties and Legal Affairs, Ministry of the Interior, and adopted the opinion on the draft constitutional law “on protection of the Nation” of France, previously examined by the Sub-Commission on Fundam... read more

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