Newsletter of the Venice Commission



In this issue:


JUNE 2011 plenary session

All decisions of the June plenary

Meeting room of the Venice Commission

At its 87th plenary session on 17-18 June 2011,
the Commission

- adopted/endorsed opinions, inter alia, concerning

  • Armenia - the draft electoral code and a supplement to the penitentiary code ;
  • Belarus  - the compatibility with universal Human Rights standards of an official warning addressed by the Ministry of Justice to the Belarusian Helsinki Committee;
  • Bulgaria  - the Unified Electoral code and the 6th revised version of the draft law on forfeiture of assets acquired through criminal activity and administrative violation;
  • Hungary -  the new constitution;
  • ...;

- adopted the report on out-of-country voting;

held an exchange of views with:

  • Mr R. Ben Achour, State Minister in the Prime Minister’s office and newly appointed substitute member in respect of Tunisia, on recent constitutional developments in Tunisia, and was informed on recent and planned activities with regard to that country;

  • Mr Davit Harutyunyan, Chairman of the Standing Committee on State and legal affairs of Armenia,

  • Ms Margarita Popova, Minister of Justice of Bulgaria,

  • Mr Joszef Szàjer, MEP, Hungary

  • Ms Galina Skripkina and with other members of the delegation from the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan;

  • Mr Ranko Krivokapić, Speaker of the parliament of Montenegro,

  • Mr Farouk Ahmed Sultan, President of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt.

-   took note of the compilations of opinions and reports on  

o        the protection of minorities and

o        constitutional justice;

-          decided to re-establish the Sub-commission on Latin America;


(read more...)

Selected opinions

  • Hungary -  the new Constitution

On 25 March 2011, the Chair of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Dick Marty asked the Venice Commission to prepare a legal opinion on the new Constitution of Hungary. The Opinion was discussed and adopted during the Commission’s plenary meeting on 17 June 2011 in Venice in the presence of representatives of the Hungarian authorities. ...

(read the summary)

  • Moldova - elections of the President

Since 2009, despite repeated dissolutions of parliament, several attempts to elect the president and an attempt to modify the Constitution through referendum, the political and institutional stalemate in Moldova - resulting mainly from the constitutional provisions  on the procedure of the election of the President (Article 78) - remains unresolved, and the President of the country still has to be elected.
On 19 April 2011, the Constitutional Court of Moldova requested the Venice Commission to give an amicus curiae brief on the issues raised in the constitutional complaint brought by the group of deputies concerning the procedure for the election of the President.

(read the summary)

  • Belarus - official warning against Belarussian Helsinki Committee (BHC)

The Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus issued a written warning to the BHC on 12 January 2011, the day after the BHC had sent a communication to the UN Special Rapporteur.  In its statement, the BHC said inter alia that about 700 arrested  persons in the aftermath of presidential elections were not allowed to meet their advocates in private. The warning stated that the said communication was “an attempt to discredit the Republic of Belarus in the eyes of the international community".

(read the summary)

  • Out of country voting - report

National practices regarding the right to vote of citizens living abroad are far from uniform in Europe. However, developments in legislation, such as the judgment delivered in 2011 by the European Court of Human Rights in a case concerning Greece, which is not yet final, point to a favourable trend in out-of-country voting, in national elections, at least as regards citizens who have maintained ties with their country of origin.   

(read the summary)

  • Hungary - European Parliament refers to the Commission's opinion on the new Constitution

    On 5 July 2011 the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on the new Constitution of Hungary, which contains many references to the Venice Commission opinion (see above CDL-AD(2011)016) but is even more critical. Inter alia the Parliament:

"1.         Calls on the Hungarian authorities to address the issues and concerns raised by the Venice Commission and to implement its recommendations, either by amending the new Constitution or through future cardinal and ordinary laws,
2.         Instructs its relevant committees to follow up the matter, in cooperation with the Venice Commission and the Council of Europe, and to assess whether and how the recommendations have been implemented."

The Venice Commission stands ready to assist the Hungarian authorities in this process upon their request.

  • North Africa - concrete activities
    Co-operation with the countries of North Africa is becoming concrete. In Tunisia several Commission members took part in a seminar on gender equality and a very successful training session on electoral disputes was organised for administrative judges (cf. Part VI). The European Union, member states and the organs of the Council of Europe continue to strongly support an active role of the Commission in the region.

The Commission will organise in November, together with the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, a conference on the Constitution–drafting process. Also in November, an intercultural workshop on democracy will take place in Morocco.

  •   Selected activities since March session

  • Democratic Institutions and Fundamental Rights

02 - 04/04/2011
- International conference – “Free and Fair Elections”  

Cairo - The Venice Commission was invited to participate in an international conference entitled ““Free and Fair Elections: Lessons Learnt from other Transitioning Countries on Managing Elections”, which was organised by the American University in Cairo.

Representatives of the Commission delivered presentations on electoral observation and monitoring.

on the photo - programme of the conference

  • Constitutional, Ordinary Justice and Ombudsmen 

on the photo:
23 - 25/05/2011

Conference of European Constitutional Courts  

Bucharest - The Venice Commission participated in the XVth Congress of the Conference of European Constitutional Courts.

  • Elections and Referendums 

on the photo:
12 - 13/05/2011

8th European Conference of Electoral Management Bodies
Vienna - The Venice Commission and the Federal Ministry of the Interior of Austria co-organised the 8th European Conference of EMBs on the subject “Elections in a Changing World”. The conference brought together representatives of the national authorities responsible for elections of more than 30 countries worldwide and of international organisations active in the domain.

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

28 - 29/04/2011
Uzbekistan - seminar on "The independence of the judiciary and its relationship with the prosecution service”  

Tashkent - The Venice Commission, in cooperation with the Research Centre to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, is organising a seminar on "The Independence of the judiciary and its relationship with the prosecution service: perspective for developing a relationship and establishing the principle of rule of law".

More information about the Initiative


Available now from the Council of Europe Publishing: 

  • Bulletin on Constitutional Case-Law and CD-Rom - No 2010/2


Brochures available from the Secretariat of the Venice Commission :

  • Code of Good practice in electoral matters (English, French, Russian, Spanish electronic versions)

  • Revised State of the Venice Commission (bilingual)


Code of Good practice in electoral matters (Arabic)



  • Armenia – electoral law;

  • Azerbaijan - political parties; NGOs;

  • Belaruscompatibility with universal human rights standards of Article 193-1 of the Criminal Code of Belarus vis-à-vis the rights of non registered associations in this country;

  • Georgia – draft new electoral code;

  • Montenegrodraft law on the Ombudsperson;

  • Peru - amicus curiae re. crimes against humanity;

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

  • Turkey - draft law on the Constitutional Court;

  • Ukraine - parliamentary elections; judiciary and status of judges; freedom of assembly; the Bar association.


  Electoral issues:

  • 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


  • Freedom of assembly                                   

  • Ordinary justice                                            

  • Ombudsmen 

Link to the calendar of forthcoming meetings

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