Newsletter of the Venice Commission



In this issue:

MArch 2011 plenary session

All decisions of the March plenary

Meeting room of the Venice Commission

At its 86th plenary session on 25-26 March 2011,
the Commission

  • adopted opinions on:

- Hungary -  issues related to the adoption of the new constitution;

- Serbia - election of members of Parliament, in particular the issue of “imperative mandate"; financing of political activities;

- Turkey – draft law on judges and prosecutors;

- Ukraine – establishment and functioning of a Constitutional Assembly; draft law on languages;

- Bolivia - draft law on prosecutors.

  • adopted the reports on:

- rule of law;

- stocktaking on the notions of “good governance” and “good administration”.

  • was informed on the results of the meetings on constitutional and electoral reforms in Tunisia which took place in Tunis on 16-18 March 2011, in the presence of Mr Radhouane NOUICER, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Tunisia.

(read more...)

Selected opinions

  • Hungary -  3 issues related to the drafting of the new Constitution

On 21 February 2011, the Deputy Prime-Minister and Minister of Public Administration and Justice of Hungary, Mr. Tibor Navracsics, requested the Venice Commission’s opinion...

(read the summary)

  • Ukraine - draft law on languages

On 17 November 2010, the Chair of the Parliament of Ukraine requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on the “Draft Law on Languages in Ukraine”.

The Draft law was submitted to the Ukrainian Parliamentary Committee on Culture and Spirituality on 7 September 2010. It has engendered heated discussions in Ukraine, both within the political sphere and the civil society.

(read the summary)

  • Serbia - blank resignations and financing political activities

Requests from the Serbian authorities for opinion on both issues were received by the Commission at the end of February 2011.

(read the summaries)

  • Rule of law :  definition of the concept

The purpose of this study was to look for a consensual definition of the rule of law which may help international organisations in completing their task of disseminating this fundamental value.

(read the summary)


 Member states

Council of Europe

Parliamentary Assembly
The Assembly adopted on 13 April a Resolution on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Georgia which makes extensive references to the Venice Commission. Inter alia, the Assembly recommends that Georgia should adopt a new Election Code in co-operation with the Venice Commission and should revise the constitutional provisions on the vote of no confidence.

The Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly decided on 25 March 2011 to ask for the opinion of the Venice Commission on the new Constitution of Hungary, adopted on 18 April and enacted on 25 April, as indicated by the Hungarian authorities. The visit by the rapporteurs to Budapest is planned mid-May with a view to adopting the Commission's opinion at the June session.

Representatives of the three parties of the governing Alliance for European Integration addressed a request for interpretation of the constitutional rules on electing the President to the Constitutional Court. The request aims at establishing that the Constitution does not regulate the current situation of repeatedly failed elections and dissolutions of parliament and that this gap can be filled by organic law, including with respect to the majority required for electing the President.

The opinions adopted by the Commission on Serbia had a wide echo in Serbian public opinion. In accordance with the decision taken by the Commission at the plenary session, the draft interim opinion on the draft decisions of the High Judicial Council and of the State Prosecutorial Council on the implementation of the amendments to the laws on judges and on the public prosecution of Serbia was sent to the Serbian authorities.

Beyond Europe


The Commission's visit to Tunisia (16-18 March 2011) received a wide media coverage. The laws on the Independent Electoral Commission and on the Constituent Assembly have now been adopted. Once the electoral commissions are created, the “training of trainers” programme which the Tunisian authorities requested from the Venice Commission will be launched, in view of the elections which are scheduled for 24 July 2011.

A Commission delegation headed by Mr Buquicchio had meetings on 3 April with the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister for Justice and the Supreme Constitutional Court on possible co-operation with the Venice Commission. The members of the delegation also participated in a Conference on “Free and Fair elections – lessons learnt from other transitioning countries on managing elections”, organised by the American University in Cairo.

The visit to Rabat (29-31 March 2011) of a member of the Commission's Secretariat within the framework of a delegation of the CoE took place in the period of mobilization of all layers of the Moroccan society towards profound reforms initiated by King Mohammed VI. The delegation met the Heads or representatives of major institutions created or reformed to implement the reforms. In all meetings, the well-prepared Moroccan interlocutors showed a high level of knowledge of the Venice Commission's activities. Fields of possible co-operation were identified and interest in their promotion and further development were expressed.

  Link to the recent Venice Commission documents

  Meetings since last session (December 2010)

  • Democratic Institutions and Fundamental Rights

(

on the photo:
29 - 31/03/201
Morocco - Council of Europe delegation's visit
Rabat - Head of Council of Europe's delegation, Director General of DGHL Mr Ph. Boillat and Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign affairs of Morocco give a press conference.

  • Constitutional, Ordinary Justice and Ombudsmen 

(

on the photo:

Kazakhstan -
Conference on "Safeguarding constitutional human rights in pre-trial criminal proceedings"
Almaty - President of the Commission Gianni Buquicchio and President of the Constitutional Council Igor Rogov participating in the conference.

  • Elections and Referendums

Georgia – new draft electoral code 

Tbilisi – meetings with the Electoral Code Working Group, Chairman of the Central Election Commission, representatives of the civil society and of the international community.

(

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

28/02/2011 - 01/03/2011
Kyrgyzstan - A follow-up seminar on "Law-making techniques"  

At the request of the Kyrgyz authorities the Venice Commission in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice organised a follow-up training seminar for civil servants on issues related to law-making. The seminar consisted of both lectures and practical exercises.

(read more...)

Information about the Initiative

  • Long-term Assistance Expert Missions

14/03/2011 - 14/05/2011
- mission of assistance to the Central Election Commission 
Tirana - At the request of the Central Election Commission of Albania (CEC) in the context of the forthcoming local elections, a Venice Commission election expert assists the CEC in preparation of these elections. The expert assists the CEC on legal and technical issues, notably for the preparation of CEC instructions and of training manuals.


Available now from the Council of Europe Publishing: 

  • Bulletin on Constitutional Case-Law and CD-Rom - No 2010/1


Brochures available from the Secretariat of the Venice Commission :

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

  • Revised Statute of the Venice Commission (bilingual English-French)


Code of Good practice in electoral matters ( English, French, Russian, Spanish and Arabic)



  • Armenia – electoral law;

  • Belarus – official warning against Belarusian Helsinki Committee;

  • Bulgaria - state forfeiture of illegally acquired assets; electoral law (final opinion);

  • Georgia – draft new electoral code;

  • Hungary - new constitution;

  • Kyrgyzstanjudiciary: Constitutional Chamber in the Supreme Court, status of judges, the Council for the Selection of Judges ; electoral issues: presidential and MPs elections, CEC;

  • Montenegro – judicial council, courts, public prosecution;

  • Serbia - judicial reform 2 (interim opinion);

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

  • Turkey - draft law on the Constitutional Court.


Electoral issues:

  • 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


  • Constitutional justice                                    

  • Protection of minorities                                

  • Freedom of assembly                                   

  • Ordinary justice                                            

  • Ombudsmen 

Link to the calendar of forthcoming meetings

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