Newsletter of the Venice Commission




Dear Reader!

This Newsletter presents to you the work of the Venice Commission since autumn 2010.

A particular highlight of the recent work of the Venice Commission was the organisation of the Second congress of the World Conference of Constitutional Justice together with the Supreme Court of Brazil. The Congress took place 16-18 January 2011 in Rio de Janeiro where 88 courts participated confirming the growing interest of non-European countries in co-operation with the Venice Commission.







Website of the Congress

Recent developments in the southern Mediterranean region indicate that the Venice Commission could play a useful role there and it may indeed be called upon to contribute to the establishment of democratic institutions in Tunisia, a member state of the Commission since 2010. In Central Asia the Commission is already very active through its joint programme with the European Union to strengthen the rule of law and its co-operation with Kyrgyzstan.

At the same time the Commission maintains its strong focus on Europe. At its last sessions in October and December 2010 it adopted not less than 20 opinions on legislative issues in European countries as well as 7 reports of a general character. For the first time the Commission adopted an opinion on Norway and an opinion at the request of the Turkish authorities.

Thomas Markert, Director, Secretary of the Venice Commission      

In this issue:


Contact us:





All decisions of the December plenary

Meeting room of the Venice Commission

  At its 85th plenary session on 17-18 December 2010,
  the Commission:

  • adopted opinions on:

Armenia - the draft Law on public assemblies and on the draft Law on making amendments and supplements to the Law on freedom of conscience and religious organisations (interim opinions jointly with the OSCE/ODIHR);

Belarus - the compatibility with universal human rights standards of an official warning addressed by the Ministry of Justice of Belarus to the Belarusian Association of journalists on 13.01.2010;

Bulgaria - the draft Law amending the law on judicial power and the draft Law amending the Criminal Procedure Code ;

(read more...)

Selected opinions

  • Russian Federation - dispatching troops abroad

In March 2010 Mr Dick Marty, the Chairman of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, requested the Venice Commission's opinion...
(read more...)

  • Serbia - financing political activities

In November 2010 the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia requested the OSCE/ ODIHR and the Venice Commission to review ...
(read more...)

  • Norway and United Kingdom - electoral issues

Upon requests of national authorities of Norway and the United Kingdom, the Commission - jointly with the OSCE/ODIHR ...
(read more...)

  • "Transnational" studies and reports
  • Independence of the judiciary - part II - Prosecutors;

  • Individual access to constitutional justice;

  • Electoral fraud.

(read more...)


All decisions of the October plenary

At its 84th plenary session on 15-16 October 2010,
  the Commission:

  • adopted opinions on:

-     the amendments to the draft Act of Bulgaria on Forfeiture in favour of the State of Illegally acquired assets ;

-     the compatibility with international standards of certain provisions relating to local elections and the statute of the City of Mostar (Amicus curiae brief for the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina);

-     the draft constitutional law on changes and amendments to the Constitution of Georgia;

-     the Law on Public Assembly of Serbia - jointly with OSCE/ODIHR;

-       the Act on State Language of the Slovak Republic;

(read more)

Selected opinions

  • Serbia and Ukraine - freedom of assembly   

At the request of national authorities the Commission adopted...(read more)

  • Georgia - constitutional reform

At the request of the Georgian authorities in May 2010, the Venice Commission followed the process of preparation of constitutional amendments ...
(read more)

  • Ukraine - laws on judiciary

On 15 June 2010, the Deputy Minister of Justice, Mr Prytyka, requested the Commission's opinion...
(read more)

  • "Transnational" texts and reports

-       Report on the role of the opposition;

-       Guidelines on Political Parties;

-       Report on the timeline and inventory of political criteria for assessing an election;

-      Participation of people with disabilities in elections - Interpretative Declaration of the Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters.  

(read summaries)


 Member states

Link to the interview with the First National Channel of Ukraine (in Ukrainian)

  • Ukraine

    On 30 October the Constitutional Court declared the Law of December 2004 amending the Constitution to be unconstitutional, due to procedural violations which occured at the time. There is a reference to Venice Commission's criticism of the amendments in the decision. PACE asked the Venice Commission to review the consequences of the decision which would seem to imply a return to the text of 1996 in which the President has a much stronger position.  The relevant opinion CDL-AD(2010)044 was adopted at the December 2010 session.

    The Secretary of the Venice Commission Thomas MARKERT gave a number of interviews on the issue.

"Turkey doesn't need tutelage"  -
Interview with daily "Zaman"
  • Turkey

    On 2 November 2010 the President of the Commission
    Gianni BUQUICCHIO made a speech at a Conference organised by the European Green Party on "Turkey in Europe" in Istanbul. In his speech he advocated in particular the adoption of a new Constitution. He also gave interviews to the leading Turkish media.

    Speech at the Conference

n documents

  Link to the recent Venice Commission documents

  Meetings since autumn 2010

  • Democratic Institutions and Fundamental Rights

(

on the photo:
28 - 29/11/2010
Ukraine - constitutional situation - visit in view of the preparation of the opinion

  • Elections and Referendums

(

on the photo:

Plenary Session of the Interparliamentary Assembly of the CIS Member Nations

  • Constitutional and Ordinary Justice  

(

on the photo:
16 - 18/01/2011
Second World Conference on Constitutional Justice

  • European Union's Initiative for the Rule of Law in Central Asia 

23 - 24/09/2010
Kyrgyzstan - Seminar on the law-making process  
(read more...)

About the Initiative

  • Long-term Assistance Expert Missions

15/09/2010 - 15/10/2010
Kyrgyzstan - 2nd mission of assistance to the Central Election Commission 

(read more...)


Available now from the Council of Europe Publishing: 


Brochures available from the Secretariat of the Venice Commission :

  • "Selected studies and reports"

  • "20 years of the Venice Commission - Key facts" (Spanish)

  • "Services provided by the Venice Commission to constitutional courts and equivalent bodies" ( English, French)



  • Armenia – electoral law;

  • Bulgaria - final opinion on state forfeiture of illegally aquired assets; electoral law;

  • Georgia - draft new electoral code;

  • Hungary - new constitution;

  • Serbia - judicial reform;

  • "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"- reform of the electoral code;

  • Turkey - draft Law on Judges and Prosecutors and draft Law on the Constitutional Court;

  • Ukraine – draft Law on languages


Electoral issues:

  • Draft Code of Good Practice on Financing of Electoral Campaigns 

  • Electoral rights of people with disabilities

  • Out-of-country voting

  • Use of administrative resources during electoral campaign


Democratic institutions and fundamental rights:


  • Extra-institutional actors in the democratic system (lobbying)

  • Freedom of religion - joint OSCE - VC revised guidelines

  • Good governance

  • Rule of law

Calendar of forthcoming meetings