Newsletter 3/2010 - August 2010

20th anniversary webpage ( updated) 

Foreword by Thomas MARKERT

Dear Reader!
The celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Commission on 5 June was the highlight of the Commission’s activities in recent months. The large attendance at this event, including leading politicians, diplomats and representatives of the legal community confirmed the importance the Commission has acquired over the 20 years of its existence.

All speakers confirmed the outstanding Commission's contribution to the promotion of the Council of Europe values especially but not only in the new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe. Nobody could have expected, when the Commission was established, that it would become such an important body.

The plenary session the previous day as well as the requests for opinions addressed to the Commission subsequently showed that demand for the Commission’s services is continuing to increase. The Commission is currently involved in two major constitutional reforms, in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, and it adopted opinions on the electoral legislation of four countries (Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Montenegro). Other sensitive issues on the Commission’s agenda include amendments to the Law on Defence of the Russian Federation, the Slovak law on the state language and judicial reform in Ukraine.

Thomas Markert,
Director,  Secretary of the Venice Commission   


In this issue:
  • Highlights of the June 2010 session
  • Recent events
  • Publications
  • Forthcoming activities




    Contact us:





    At its 83rd plenary session on 4 June 2010, the Commission:

    - held an exchange of views with Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe;

    adopted opinions on the following issues:

    • Opinions on electoral legislation 

    The Commission adopted opinions on the Electoral Codes of Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Montenegro.



    • Kyrgyzstan - opinion on constitutional reform and June 2010 referendum

    On 23 April 2010 Mr Omourbek Tekebaev, Vice –President of the provisional government of Kyrgyzstan asked the Venice Commission to examine the new draft Constitution which will be submitted to referendum on 27 June.   (more...)

    • Documents of transnational interest

    The Commission adopted two documents of transnational interest, i.e. report on counter-terrorism measure and human rights and the joint with the OSCE guidelines on freedom of assembly.


    • US Secretary of State Hilary R. Clinton refers to the Venice Commission - 02/07/2010


    On 2 July 2010, in the course of her visit to Europe, at the closing of the Strategic Partnership Commission meeting in Kiyv, Ukraine, US Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton mentioned the Venice Commission in connection with the judicial reform in Ukraine.

    Link to the full text of the remarks
    Link to the "References" page of the Commission

    26/4/2010 – Former member of the Commission for Croatia Mr Stanko Nick, who was the one of the first to participate in the work of the Commission since its establishment in 1990, passed away.

    A diplomat always constructive in his remarks,  showing great knowledge and integrity, Mr Nick was a member of the Commission’s Bureau, a member of the sub-commissions for minorities, for international law, for federal and regional states and for the Mediterranean.

    In Mr Nick’s memory the Commission held a minute's silence at its 83rd session.


  • 22/6/2010 - PACE elects substitute member of the Venice Commission Angelika Nussberger judge at the European Court of Human Rights (link to the press release, cv and results of voting by the PACE)
  • Meetings since the March 2010 plenary
    • Democratic Institutions and Fundamental Rights

            Request for opinion on the amendments to the law on Defence of the Russian Federation   - 17/03/2010


    • Elections and referendums

      "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" - electoral reform  

      17/03/2010 - 18/03/2010


    • Constitutional and Ordinary Justice

      International Association
      of Constitutional Law  

    Available now from the Council of Europe Publishing: 

    • Science and technique of democracy N 48 - "Supervising electoral processes"
      (currently 30% off!)

    • Bulletin on Constitutional Case-Law and CD-Rom - No 2009/2


    Available from the Secretariat of the Venice Commission :

    • Annual Report of Activities - 2009

    • 20 years of the Venice Commission - Key facts

    • Publications of the Venice Commission



    • Belarus – warning to the journalists by the Ministry of Justice and freedom of media
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina - amicus curiae opinion on the constitutionality of certain provisions of the election law
    • Bulgaria – draft law on state forfeiture, draft amendments to the law on judicial power and to the criminal code
    • Georgia - constitutional reform
    • Norway - certain aspects of the electoral system
    • Russian Federation – amendments to the law on defence
    • Slovakia - law on state language
    • Ukraine - new law on judiciary and status of judges and some aspects of the prevention of the abuse of the right to appeal, peaceful gatherings, electoral code
    • United Kingdom – election observers' code of practice  
    • Compatibility of acts by UNMIK and EULEX with European standards


    • Evaluation of elections

    • Extra-institutional actors in the democratic system

    • Freedom of religion - joint OSCE - VC guidelines

    • Good governance

    • Independence of the judiciary - part II - prosecutors

    • Individual access to constitutional justice

    • Role of the opposition

    • Rule of law

    • Voting abroad



    Link to the calendar of the forthcoming conferences and meetings