Newsletter 2/2010 - April 2010

20th anniversary webpage

Dear Reader!

This Newsletter brings you up-to-date on the March 2010 plenary session and the activities of the Commission between the March and June sessions.

We are also happy to announce that on 5 June 2010 the Venice Commission will hold a ceremony to celebrate its 20th anniversary in Venice. Heads of states, Presidents of courts and ambassadors to the Council of Europe, the Secretary General and Presidents of all its statutory bodies and of the Court.

On the same occasion, the Bureau of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice will meet to discuss the second Congress  to be held in Rio di Janeiro on 16-18 January 2011.

In addition, on 10 May 2010 - on the day of the establishment of the Venice Commission - the President and the Secretary will hold a press briefing at the headquarters of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg (France).


Secretariat of the Venice Commission     


In this issue:
  • Highlights of the March 2010 session
  • Commission activities in the media
  • Publications
  • Forthcoming activities

  • Links

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    At its 82nd plenary session on 12-13 March 2010, the Commission:

    - welcomed the appointment of Mr Thomas Markert as Secretary of the Venice Commission;

    - adopted the opinions on the following issues:

    • Opinion on status of religious communities in Turkey and the right of the Orthodox Patriarch to use the title "ecumenical"

    This opinion was requested by the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and adopted by the Commission in March 2010 (CDL-AD(2010)005). The Commission decided to focus on the Situation of non-Muslim communities. For Muslim communities the situation is in some aspects different due to the existence of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet). The rapporteurs visited Turkey on 9-11 November 2009.

    It’s important to note that there is no uniform European model for the legal status of religious communities. This is a sensitive issue (more...)

    • When to dissolve the parliament of Moldova?

    The President of the Constitutional Court made a request to the Commission on 7 December 2009 for an opinion regarding a case brought by a group of deputies of Parliament on the interpretation of the articles in the Constitution on the election of the President and on the dissolution of the Parliament of Moldova. They allege that these articles could give rise to uncertainty with respect to the timing of the dissolution of Parliament by the President of the Republic. The Venice Commission adopted an amicus curiae brief for the Constitutional Court of Moldova. 

     The opinion CDL-AD(2010)002 states that the Article on the dissolution of Parliament applies to ... (more...)

    • Report on the independence of the judicial system - Part I - judges

    At its June 2009 plenary session, the Venice Commission adopted the first part of its Report on the Independence of the Judicial System, dealing with judges. This report had been requested by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which is interested both in an overview of existing standards but also in proposals for their further development.  (more...)



    The Venice Commission in the media

    • Political crises in Moldova - legal advice by the Commission
    The President Gianni Buquicchio and the Secretary of the Commission Thomas Markert as well as Mr Kaarlo Tuori (member, Finland),  Mr Jean-Claude Scholsem (substitute member, Belgium) and Ms Angelika Nussberger (substitute member, Germany), have visited Moldova in connection with the political crises in the country. The delegation held negotiations with all political forces trying to lead them to adopt a viable solution. The European Commission fully supports the position of the Commission expressed in its press release (see above entry "When to dissolve the parliament of Moldova?).
    • Situation in Kyrgyzstan - Statement of the President of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe Gianni Buquicchio  - 09/04/2010

    Strasbourg, Council of Europe - The President of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio expressed his deep regret concerning the loss of human lives and expressed hope that a peaceful solution could be found to the conflict in Kyrgyzstan, based on democratic principles, the rule of law and respect for human rights - the fundamental values of the Council of Europe.

    He recalled that the country was a full member of the Venice Commission and that the Venice Commission had been involved in the drafting of its Constitution and various efforts to reform it.  In view of the President Buquicchio the developments since the Tulip revolution of 2005 showed that long-term stability in the country could only be achieved if the democratic aspirations of the Kyrgyz people are respected. The Venice Commission is ready to assist the necessary constitutional and legal reforms once the situation permits addressing these issues.


    Activities since December 2009 plenary

    • Democratic Institutions and Fundamental Rights

    OSCE/ODIHR- Guidelines for review of legislation pertaining to religion or belief   12/12/2009 - 13/12/2009
    Milan - The Venice Commission participates in the first meeting of the OSCE/ODIHR working group on the revision of the Guidelines for review of legislation pertaining to religion or belief.


    • Elections and referendums

    Serbia - request for opinion -  16/12/2009
    Serbian authorities asked the Venice Commission to give an opinion on the law on referendums.

    Ukraine - Legal Advice to the Parliamentary Assembly  - 14/01/2010 - 18/01/2010
    Kyiv - At the invitation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Mr Srdjan Darmanovic, member of the Venice Commission, and Mr Pierre Garrone, Head of the Division of Elections and Referendums, take part in the Observation Mission of the Parliamentary Assembly as legal advisors at the occasion of the first round of the presidential elections (17 January 2010).

    • Constitutional and Ordinary Justice

    World Conference on Constitutional Justice   12/12/2009

    Venice - The 2nd Meeting of the Bureau of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice discussed the preparation of its 2nd Congress in Rio de Janeiro on 16-18.1.2011 (more...)


    Available now from the Council of Europe Publishing:  


    • Azerbaijan -  Normative acts
    • Belarus - Directive of Ministry of Justice to journalists and amendments to Electoral Code
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina - Electoral code, law on conflict of interest and the execution of the ECtHR 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 - amendments to the Election Code
    • Montenegro - amendments to the Election Code
    • Russian Federation - amendments to the law on Defence
    • Slovakia - Law on state language

    * - All reference to Kosovo shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.

    • Freedom of assembly - joint OSCE - VC guidelines
    • Freedom of religion - joint OSCE - VC guidelines
    • Evaluation of elections
    • Independence of judiciary - part II - prosecutors
    • Individual access to constitutional justice
    • Role of the opposition

    Ukraine - meeting on a draft Electoral Code   28/04/2010

    Kyiv – at the invitation of Verkhovna Rada, representatives
    of the Venice Commission participate in the Meeting on
    a draft Electoral Code of Ukraine.

    "Democracy and decentralisation" - international conference   03/05/2010 - 04/05/2010

    St. Gallen - Conference on "Democracy and decentralisation - Strengthening democratic institutions through participation" organised by the Venice Commission in the framework of the Swiss Presidency of the Committee of Ministers.

    Establishment of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe 20 years ago   - 10/05/2010

    Strasbourg, 10 May 1990 - Representatives of 18 (out of 24 ) Council of Europe member States  - Austria, Belgium,
    Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey
    adopted Resolution
    90(6) establishing a partial agreement "European Commission for Democracy through Law".

    Committee of Ministers Resolution 90(6)

    (more ...)