Newsletter of the Venice Commission


 1 / 2013

In this issue:




december 2012 plenary session


All decisions of the December plenary

On the photo: PACE SG W. Sawicki, CDL Secretary T. Markert, PACE President J-C.Mignon and CDL President G. Buquicchio at the 93d plenary session

At its 93d plenary session on 15-16 December 2012, the Commission:

-        Paid tribute to the late Mr Lluís Maria de Puig, former President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe;

-           Adopted the opinions on:
draft constitutional amendments relating to the judiciary in Montenegro;

the constitutional situation in Romania, prepared at the request of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and of the Government of Romania;
the so-called "Lustration Law" of "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (amicus curiae brief);

the amendments to the electoral law of the Republic of Uzbekistan (joint opinion with the OSCE/ODIHR);

 -          Held an exchange of views with:
o    Ms Valgerður Bjarnadóttir, Member of Parliament and Chair of the Constitutional and Supervisory Committee of Iceland on the process of constitutional reform in that country and on the preparation of the Commission"™s opinion on the constitutional amendments;
Mr Ranko Krivokapi, Speaker of the Parliament of Montenegro,

Ms Mona-Maria Pivniceru, Minister of Justice and with Mr Ion Gȃlea, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania,
Mr Mustapha Ben Jaafar, President of the National Constituent Assembly of Tunisia, on progress in the preparation of the new Constitution and on the future elections, as well as on co-operation with the Venice Commission notably on the electoral law;

representatives of the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe;

-          Adopted the report on "Limitation of Mandates and Incompatibility of Political Functions";

 (read the synopsis of the plenary)

Selected opinions

  • Romania  - constitutional situation

On 6 July 2012, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe asked the Venice Commission to provide an opinion on the compatibility with constitutional principles and the rule of law of actions taken by the Government and the Parliament of Romania in respect of other state institutions.

On 9 July 2012, the Prime Minister of Romania, Mr Ponta, requested an opinion on the Government Emergency Ordinance on amendment to the Law no. 47/1992 regarding the Organisation and Functioning of the Constitutional Court and on the Government Emergency Ordinance on amending and completing the Law no. 3/2000 regarding the Organisation of a referendum.

(read the summary and key recommendations)

  • Montenegro  - draft constitutional amendments relating to the judiciary

On 6 July 2012 the Chair of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Mr Herkel, asked the Venice Commission to provide an opinion on the amendments to the Cardinal acts on the judiciary adopted by the Hungarian Parliament following the adoption of opinion CDL-AD(2012)001 by the Venice Commission. The Monitoring Committee asked, in particular, whether these amendments have addressed all the substantial concerns of the Venice Commission regarding the cardinal acts on the judiciary as voiced in opinion CDL-AD(2012)001.

(read the summary)

  • "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" - "lustration" law 

By a letter of 7 September 2012, the President of the Constitutional Court asked the Venice Commission to provide an amicus curiae opinion with respect to an application challenging the constitutionality of the Law on determining a criterion for limiting the exercise of public office, access to documents and publishing the cooperation with the bodies of state security (hereinafter: "˜Lustration Law"™) pending before the Court.

The European standards in the field of lustration mainly derive from three sources:

-       the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights;
the case-law of national constitutional courts;
-       Resolutions by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, namely Res. 1096(1996) on measures to dismantle the heritage of former communist totalitarian systems and Res. 1481(2006) on the need for international condemnation of totalitarian communist regimes. PACE Res 1096(1996) pointed to the "˜Guidelines to ensure that lustration laws and similar administrative measures comply with the requirements of a state based on the rule of law"™ (hereinafter: "the Guidelines") as a reference.

(read the summary)


 USA - Request for full membership of the Venice Commission

Strasbourg – The US Observer to the Council of Europe, Mr Evan G. Reade, on 30 January 2013 announced to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers   that his government sought full membership of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe. According to the Statute of the Venice Commission, the decision on membership is taken by the 2/3 majority of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

The USA have been following the work of the Commission as an observer since 10 October 1991.

 Working visit to Libya

Tripoli - Following the request of 27 September 2012 by the Vice President of the General National Congress of Libya, Dr. Saleh Mohammed ALMKHOZOM, for the Venice Commission's support to the Congress in its work of developing a constitution for a democratic Libya, a Venice Commission's delegation travelled to Tripoli.

Meetings were held with the National Congress of Libya and with the Presidency of the country on the process of preparing and adopting the new Constitution.

This activity was carried out jointly with the International Management Group (IMG) and within the framework of the co-operation of the country with the European Union. IMG and the EU Delegation suggested that the Libyan authorities ask for the assistance of the Venice Commission.

On the photo: the delegation and the organisers
at the National Congress of Libya

  •   Selected activities since the October 2012 session

  • Democratic Institutions and Fundamental Rights


Ukraine - Constitutional Reform

Kyiv - a delegation of the Venice Commission travelled to Kyiv to exchange views with the Constitutional Assembly of Ukraine on the progress regarding the constitutional reform and on the new law on the referendum. The delegation participated in the plenary session of the Constitutional Assembly, met with the opposition and international community representatives. 

  • Constitutional and Ordinary Justice


20th anniversary of the Lithuanian Constitution  

Vilnius - Celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania in co-operation with the Constitutional Court and Vilnius University was marked by an International Conference on "Standards of Europe's constitutional Heritage", University of Vilnius

  • Elections, Referendums and Political Parties

02 - 03/07/2012

Mexico - country visit - forthcoming opinion on the electoral legislation

Mexico City - A delegation of the Venice Commission travelled to Mexico to meet with different stakeholders in order to analyse the electoral legislation in the framework of the forthcoming opinion to be adopted by the Commission in March 2013.

  • Joint programmes with the European Union for Central Asia

13 - 14/11/2012
Central Asia - International Conference on women's rights  

Dushanbe - An international Conference on "Guaranteeing women's rights and improving mechanisms of access to justice for vulnerable groups " took place on 13-14 November 2012 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. It was aimed both at legal professionals and the civil society of the five Central Asian states - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The Conference participants looked at the issues of access to justice for women and other vulnerable groups including victims of domestic violence. They also discussed the socio-economic rights of women as well as the legal and social mechanisms of guaranteeing women's rights such as mediation and free legal aid.


Available now from Council of Europe Publishing:


In the series "Science and technique of democracy" No 50:

  • "European Electoral Heritage : 10 Years of the Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters"



  • Azerbaijan - draft law on defamation  

  • Georgia - amendments to the common courts law; amnesty law;  

  • Iceland - a proposal for a new Constitution

  • Mexico - electoral legislation 

  • Moldova - use of the communist symbols; immunity of judges; electoral legislation;

  • Monaco - compatibility of the Constitution with Council of Europe standards

  • Montenegro - relations between the state and church 

  • Morocco - setting up of the Authority for Parity and the Fight against Discrimination and the Consultative Council for Family and Childhood

  • Moldova, Russia, Ukraine - legal prohibition of so-called propaganda of homosexuality  

  • Russian Federation - amendments to the law on meetings and demonstrations

  • Serbia - draft laws on judges, on the organisation of courts and on the public prosecution service

  • "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - electoral code

  • Ukraine - law on referendums. 


   Electoral issues

  • Use of administrative resources during electoral campaigns

  • Consecutive terms in office as well as the limitation of the possibility to simultaneously hold mandates at different levels of power

  • Keeping politicial and criminal responsibility separate

  • Security Services - update of the Commission's study

  • Constitutional protection of childrens' rights

  • Parliamentary immunity


   Democratic institutions and fundamental rights


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

  • Freedom of religion and belief- joint OSCE/ODIHR-VC revised guidelines

  • Freedom of association - joint OSCE/ODIHR-VC guidelines


  • Freedom of religion and belief

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