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Newsletter of the Venice Commission
4 / 2014


In this issue


December 2014 plenary session

 Decisions of the December plenary

At its 101th session in Venice 12-13 December 2014 the Commission: 

-         adopted the opinions on:

  • the Law on non-governmental organisations (Public Associations and Funds), as amended, of Azerbaijan;
  • the Draft law on the rights and duties of judges and the Judicial Council of Montenegro and on the Draft law on Courts of Montenegro;

-         adopted interim opinions on:

  • the Draft law on the State Prosecutor's Office of Montenegro and

  • on the Draft law on the Special Prosecutor's Office of Montenegro, and, in the light of the urgency of the domestic proceedings, authorised the rapporteurs to send the final opinions to the parliament of Montenegro prior to the March Plenary Session;

  • the Law on Government Cleansing ("Lustration Law") of Ukraine and agreed to continue co-operation with Ukraine with a view to the revision of this Law;

-        adopted the joint Venice Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR Guidelines on Freedom of Association ;

-         adopted the Amicus curiae briefs:

  • for the Constitutional Court of Georgia on the question of the defamation of the deceased;

  • for the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova on certain provisions of the Law on professional integrity testing (anti-corruption law) concerning, in particular, Constitutional court and ordinary court judges;

·        was informed on follow-up to:

  • the Amicus curiae brief on the Immunity of Judges for the Constitutional Court of Moldova;

  • the Joint Opinion on the Draft Law on the Public Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine;  

  • the Opinion on the Draft Law on making changes and additions to the Civil Code (introducing compensation for non-pecuniary damage) of the Republic of Armenia and

  • the opinion on the Draft Concept Paper on the Constitutional Reforms of the Republic of Armenia;

-        held an exchange of views inter alia with :

  • Mr Pavlo Petrenko, Minister of Justice of Ukraine, and with Messrs Leonid Yemets and Yegor Soboliev, Members of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine;

  • Mr Geoffrey Vos, President elect of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary, on future co-operation;


(read the synopsis of the plenary)

Selected opinions

  • Ukraine  - "lustration law"

    The law “On Government Cleansing” (hereinafter: “the Lustration law”) was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on 16 September 2014, and signed by President Poroshenko on 9 October 2014. Published in the Official Gazette on 15 October, it entered into force on 16 October 2014.

    On 3 October 2014, the Chairperson of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on the Lustration law.

    The interim opinion was discussed at the joint meeting of the Sub-commissions on fundamental rights and on Democratic Institutions on 11 December 2014 and was subsequently adopted by the Venice Commission at its 101st Plenary Session (Venice, 12-13 December 2014).

    On 11 December 2014, a Ukrainian delegation composed of Mr Pavlo Petrenko, Minister of Justice, Mr Leonid Yemets, Mr Yegor Soboliev and Mr Heorhii Lohvynskyi, MPs as well as Ms Tetiana Kozachenko, Head of the Department for lustration of the Ministry of Justice, travelled to Venice and submitted a set of arguments relating to the Lustration law to the rapporteurs and to the plenary session (12-13 December 2015).

    The Ukrainian delegation acknowledged the need to amend the Lustration law and sought the assistance of the Venice Commission in order to achieve an effective lustration framework which is in line with the applicable international standards. A visit by the rapporteurs is due mid-February 2015.


    (read the summary )

  • Azerbaijan - Law on non-governmental organisations   

    In a letter dated 29 September 2014, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr. Thobjorn Jagland, requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Non-Governmental Organisations (Public Associations and Funds) (hereinafter, “Law on NGOs”), as amended.  

    The 2014 opinion is based on the 2002 Law on NGOs as amended in 2009, already examined by the Venice Commission in its 2011 Opinion, and on the basis of unofficial translations of a set of amendments adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2013 and 2014.

    Due to the interlinks between this law and other legal acts amended simultaneously, the opinion also contains sections relating to such acts, when it was deemed necessary to include them to get a better understanding of the legal context within which NGOs operate in Azerbaijan.

    In accordance with the Venice Commission’s practice, the Rapporteurs agreed to visit Baku in the framework of the preparation of this Opinion in order to hold meetings with the representatives of the relevant authorities and civil society organisations. However, the planned visit was cancelled due to lack of official invitations and programme.

    Consequently, the 2014 Opinion has been drafted on the basis of available information without the input that could have been obtained during the visit.

    It is to be regretted that new amendments of relevance for this Opinion were enacted by Parliament and signed by the President while this Opinion was under preparation.

    (read the summary)  




    Visit of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights

    Strasbourg - The Inter-American Court of Human Rights judges visited the Council of Europe and met a delegation of the Venice Commission, led by its President, Mr Gianni Buquicchio. The main objective of this meeting was to explore possible ways of cooperation between the Inter-American Court and the Venice Commission. Six out of the seven judges of the Inter-American Court, including its President, Mr Humberto Sierra, as well as its Registrar, Mr Pablo Saavedra, came to Strasbourg on this occasion.

    Website of the IACHR

    Selected activities since the 100th plenary session

    • Democratic Institutions and Fundamental Rights

    Armenia – international conference on constitutional processes in post-communist countries - 03 - 04/11/2014

    Belgrade – following the requests for the Venice Commission’s opinion on the draft amendments and additions to the Law on the High Judicial Council and on the Law on the State Prosecutorial Council of the Republic of Serbia, a delegation of the Commission plans to meet with the authorities in order to discuss the draft amendments.  

    • Constitutional Justice

    Montenegro - Constitutional Court - 27 - 28/11/2014

    Budva – The Venice Commission participated in the Conference on "Constitutional protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms". One of the rapporteurs, Ms Wedam Lukic presented the Opinion on the Draft Law on the Constitutional Court of Montenegro, adopted by the Venice Commission at its 100th Plenary Session in October 2014).

    • Elections and Political Parties

    Tunis - presidential elections - legal assistance to PACE  - 20 - 24/11/2014

    Tunisia - At the request of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Venice Commission ensures legal assistance to the Election Observation Mission of the Assembly in the context of the presidential elections of 23 November 2014. of the Tunisian Electoral Body release of the PACE

    • Neighbourhood Cooperation

    Uzbekistan – Conference on application of ICT in courts -20/11/2014

    Tashkent - A conference on the use of information and communication technologies in courts was organised jointly by the Supreme Court of Uzbekistan, High Commercial court of Uzbekistan and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe.

    This activity brought together representatives of national institutions as well as participants from the Korea, Malta, Slovenia and Bulgaria.


    Available from the Council of Europe Publishing:

    • Bulletin of the Constitutional Case-Law: Issue 2014/2

  • Bulletin of the Constitutional Case-Law: Issue 2014/3



    • Armenia - constitutional reform;

    • Georgia - amendments to the Constitution;

    • Republic of Moldova  - draft amendments to the Law on Prosecutor's Office ;

    • Montenegro - revised draft law on the state prosecutor's office and draft law on the special prosecutor's office;

    • Montenegro - draft amendments to the law on medias

    • Ukraine draft Law on the judicial system and the status of judges, " lustration law".


    Electoral issues

    • Criteria for standing for local and regional elections

    • Method of nomination of candidates within political parties

    • The extent of the voter's choice: lists and candidates

    • Electoral lists and voters abroad

    Democratic institutions and fundamental rights

    • Security Services - update of the Commission's study

    • Rule of law - check list

    • Ombudsman institution


    • Constitutional justice
    • Ordinary justice

    Link to the calendar of upcoming events

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