Newsletter 1/2010 - February 2010

Dear Readers!

This year the Venice Commission celebrates its 20th birthday.

On 10 May 1990 in Strasbourg the Statute of the partial agreement entitled "European Commission for Democracy through Law " Res(90)6 was adopted by the 18 founding states, members of the Council of Europe - Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France,

Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

Since then, the Commission has given some 400 opinions and studies concerning 35 countries on various topics in the constitutional law field. With the accession of Mexico on 3 February 2010, the Commission counts 57 full member states and the population "covered" by its expertise is about 1.3 billion people. Currently, the President of the Commission is Gianni Buquicchio, elected by the members of the Venice Commission in December 2009, and the Secretary is Thomas Markert, appointed by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on 24 February 2010.

This Newsletter aims at bringing you up-to-date on the most recent activities of the Commission. Your comments are most welcome at

Secretariat of the Venice Commission      

In this issue:
  • Highlights of the December 2009 session
  • Constitutional Justice 
  • Commission activities in the media
  • Forthcoming activities and

  • Links

    Contact us:


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    At its 81st plenary session on 12-13 December 2009, the Commission adopted the opinions on the following issues: 

    The Commission exchanged views with the President of the State Constitutional Commission of Georgia...(more...)

    • New Enlarged Bureau of the Venice Commission

    The Venice Commission, at its 81st plenary session on 15 December 2009, elected its Enlarged Bureau for a period of 2 years as follows:

    President:                                                      Mr Gianni Buquicchio (Italy)

    1st Vice-president,
    President of the Scientific Council
           Mr Jan Helgesen (Norway)

    Vice-presidents:                                          Ms Finola Flanagan (Ireland)
                                                                              Mr Peter Paczolay (Hungary)

    ( more...)

    • Luxembourg - Constitutional reform

    At the request of Mr. Paul-Henri Meyers, Chairman of the Commission on Institutions and Constitutional Revision of Luxembourg, the Venice Commission gave an opinion (more..)

    • Ukraine - the order of organising and conducting peaceful events

    At the reqeust of the Office of the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine the Venice Commission assessed - in cooperation with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights - (more...)

    • Report on constitutional amendment procedures

    At the invitation from the Council of Europe's "Forum for the Future of Democracy" held at the end of 2009, the Venice Commission carried out a study on constitutional provisions for amending national constitutions. For this purpose, a systematic compilation of amendment provisions in the constitutions of the member states of the Council of Europe and a number of other States has been prepared (more...)


    World Conference on Constitutional Justice

    93 individual courts and 9 regional or linguistic groups participated in the first World Conference on
    Constitutional Justice, held in Cape Town 22-24 January 2009.

    The 2nd Congress of the World Conference would be held, upon invitation by the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil,
    in Rio de Janeiro on 16-18 January 2011 on the topic “Separation of Powers and Independence of Constitutional
    s and Equivalent Bodies”.


    Constitutional Justice in 2009

    In 2009, the Venice Commission provided opinions on legislation on the Constitutional Court of Latvia and on the possible establishment
    of a Constitutional Court of the Palestinian National Authority. 4 amicus curiae opinions were given for the Constitutional Courts
    of Albania, Georgia (2) and the Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan.

    The Venice Forum, which allows for confidential quick exchanges ... (more)


    The Venice Commission in the media

    • The Euronews channel has broadcasted an interview with the President Gianni Buquicchio for a week in the beginning of February 2009 "What is the role for the Venice Commission, at work since 20 years?" 
    Link to the Programme

    • The working visits of the President of the Commission in February 2010 to Georgia and Moldova in connection with the recent constitutional reforms in these countries, received broad local media coverage as did the Conference on implementation of the decision of the ECtHR in the case of Sejdic and Finci v. BiH, organised in cooperation with Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Sarajevo in January 2009.


    Activities since October 2009 plenary session:

    • Democratic Institutions and Fundamental Rights

    Visit to Luxembourg - Constitutional revision

    Luxembourg - A delegation of the Venice Commission met with the
    Commission on Institutions and Constitutional Revision of Luxembourg
    in the framework of the preparation of an opinion on the draft revision of
    Luxembourg's Constit ution


    • Elections and referendums

    "Quality of Elections - Making Democracy strong" - International Conference  
    20/10/2009 - 21/10/2009

    President Hotel, Kyiv - In cooperation with the Agency for Legislative
    Initiatives, the Central Electoral Commission of Ukraine, the Parliamentary
    Committee for Public Authorities and Local Self-Governance Development
    of Verkhovna Rada (

    • Constitutional Justice

    Conference of European Constitutional Courts 
    15/10/2009 - 16/10/2009

    Bucharest - The Commission participated in the preparatory meeting for
    the XVth Conference of European Constitutional Courts.

    Opinions :
      • Azerbaijan -  Normative acts
      • Belarus - Directive of Ministry of Justice to journalists
      • Bosnia and Herzegovina - Electoral code, law on conflict of interest and the execution of the ECHR judgement
      • Bulgaria - Illegally acquired assets
      • Georgia - Constitutional reform, reform of the election code and amendments to the law on assembly
      • Kosovo - Compatibility of acts by UNMIK and EULEX with European standards
      • Moldova - Constitutional reform and amicus curiae on presidential elections
      • Serbia - Referendums
      • Slovakia - Law on state language
      • Turkey - Religious communities
      • Ukraine - Judicial reform
      • Freedom of assembly - joint OSCE -VC guidelines
      • Freedom of religion - joint OSCE-VC guidelines
      • Evaluation of elections
      • Independence of judiciary
      • Role of the opposition
      • Thresholds and other restrictions on access to Parliament
        • 82nd Plenary session of the Venice Commission -

        12-13 March 2010 - Venice, Scoula Grande de san Giovanni Evangelista   


          Issues in the series “Science and technique of democracy”: 

          • No 46 – “Cancelling of electoral results” - March 2010
          • No 47 – “Blasphemy, insult and hatred - Finding answers in a democratic society" - March 2010

           - Bulletin on Constitutional Case-Lawissue 2009/1 - March 2010