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Newsletter of the Venice Commission
1 / 2015


In this issue


March 2015 plenary session

Decisions of the March plenary

    At its 102nd session in Venice 20-21 March 2015 the Commission inter alia:

    -         Observed a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the deadly attack committed in Tunis on 18 March 2015 and expressed the firmest condemnation of all acts of violence and extremism as well as its sympathy for the families of the victims and for the Tunisian people;

    -         Adopted the opinions on

    o    the Draft Law on the Prosecution Service of the Republic of Moldova; (joint opinion by the Venice Commission, the Directorate of Human Rights and the OSCE/ODIHR);

    o    draft amendments to the Law on Media of Montenegro;

    o    the draft Law on the Judiciary and the Status of Judges and amendments to the Law on the High Council of Justice of Ukraine (joint opinion by the Venice Commission and the Directorate of Human Rights);

    -         Adopted the following reports:

    o    the update of the 2007 Report on the Democratic Oversight of the Security Services and Report on the Democratic Oversight of Signals Intelligence Agencies (SIGINT);

    o    the report on Proportional Electoral Systems: the allocation of seats inside the lists (Open/Closed Lists), previously adopted by the Council for Democratic Elections on 19 March 2015;

    o     the annual report of activities for 2014;

    -         Held an exchange of views with:

    o    Mr Vladimir Grosu, Minister of Justice, Ms Liliana Palihovici, Deputy Speaker of Parliament and with Mr Corneliu Gurin, Prosecutor General of the Republic of Moldova, and

    o    Ms Oksana Syroyid, Vice-Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada and with Mr Oleksiy Filatov, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine,

    o    Mr Pavlo Petrenko, Minister of Justice of Ukraine, on progress in the preparation of amendments to the Lustration Law of Ukraine,

    o    Ms Syroyid and Mr Filatov on the constitutional amendments with respect to the immunity of members of parliament and judges in Ukraine, on which the Venice Commission has been asked to prepare an opinion for the June Plenary Session;

    -         Endorsed the final opinions on:

    o    the revised draft Law on the Public Prosecutor’s Office and

    o    the revised draft Law on the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office of Montenegro, previously sent to the Montenegrin authorities;


(read the synopsis of the plenary)

Selected opinions

  • Ukraine  - judicial system and status of judges - draft amendments

    In a letter dated 13 November 2014, the Minister of Justice of Ukraine requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on the Draft law on Amending the Law on the Judicial System and the Status of Judges of Ukraine.

    On 3-4 February 2015, a delegation of the Venice Commission composed of Mr Gianni Buquicchio, Mr Thomas Markert and Ms Hanna Suchocka visited Kyiv and held consultation meetings with the President of Ukraine, Mr Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Minister of Justice Pavlo Petrenko and the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Volodymyr Groysman, on constitutional reform, reform of the judiciary, electoral reform and decentralisation.

    The request of 13 November 2014 made by the Minister of Justice was accompanied by an “Explanatory Note”, where it appears that the amendments aim to remedy a number of deficiencies in the judicial system, which the Venice Commission and the Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs have pointed out in their 2010 Joint Opinion on the Law on the Judicial System and the Status of Judges of Ukraine (CDL-AD(2010)026). According to the Explanatory Note, the draft amendments also aim to fulfil the requirements of the ECtHR judgment in the case of Oleksandr Volkov v. Ukraine (no. 21722/11, judgment of 9 January 2013).


    (read the summary )


  • Moldova - draft law on prosecutors office   

    On 18 November and on 19 November 2014 respectively, the Minister of Justice of Moldova sent letters to the Venice Commission and to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, requesting assistance from both institutions in reviewing the Draft Law on the Prosecution Service of the Republic of Moldova

    At the outset, OSCE/ODIHR, the Venice Commission and DG I welcome the Draft Law, which represents, overall, a substantial improvement of the current Law regulating the operation of the Moldovan Prosecution Service and reflects a genuine effort to modernize the existing legal framework, in line with relevant European standards and best practices.

    The proposed changes concern various steps to secure the autonomy of individual prosecutors and the service’s own independence from external influence, the structure of the service and its demilitarisation, the appointment, tenure and removal of the Prosecutor General, the appointment and promotion of other prosecutors, as well as the performance evaluation and the disciplinary procedures.

    The above-mentioned improvements are welcome. The OSCE/ODIHR, the Venice Commission and DG I, however, suggest the following improvements to the Draft Law:

    A. To provide a more precise and narrow delineation of the powers of the Prosecution Service outside of criminal law and for judicial supervision of prosecutors’ actions in this area, including during the transitional period, and to consider amending the Constitution with a view to defining the competences of the Prosecution Service more closely and narrowly;


    (read the summary)  




    Venice Commission – Ukraine: Constitutional reform to be tackled urgently

    Kyiv – President of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio, Secretary of the Commission Thomas Markert, and the Commission Member Hanna Suchocka visited Ukraine and met with the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Volodymyr Groysman and Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko to discuss cooperation in the constitutional, judicial and electoral fields.

    Learn more about the visit

    Selected activities since the 101st plenary session

    • Democratic Institutions and Fundamental Rights

    Freedom of Association – Launching of the Guidelines - 05/03/2015

    Geneva - the Venice Commission participated in a launch event of the Joint Venice Commission - OSCE /ODIHR Guidelines on Freedom of Association, hosted by Switzerland. The President of the Venice Commission, the Director of OSCE/ODIHR and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association took part in the event. Link to the Guidelines' text

    • Constitutional Justice

    WCCJ - Meeting of the Bureau - 20/03/2015  

    Venice - The World Conference on Constitutional Justice, which has 95 member Courts, held the 9th meeting of its Bureau in Venice. Following the congresses in Cape Town (2009), Rio de Janeiro (2011) and Seoul (2014), the Bureau accepted the candidacy of the Constitutional Court of Lithuania to host the 4th Congress in Vilnius in 2017. The Bureau also examined the financial report and discussed activities in between the congresses.

    • Elections and Political Parties

    Belgium- 12th European Conference of the Electoral Management Body   - 30 - 31/03/2015

    Brussels – The role of electoral management bodies in ensuring neutrality, impartiality and transparency in elections was the focus of an international conference which took place in the Palais d’Egmont, Brussels, Belgium, on 30-31 March 2015.

    Conference webpage

    The main topic of the discussions was the future co-operation between Tunisia and the Venice Commission, notably in view of the implementation of the Constitution adopted on 27 January 2014.
    • Neighbourhood Cooperation

    Tunisia – Venice Commission at work on implementation of the Constitution -10/03/2015

    Tunis - The President of the Venice Commission, Mr Gianni Buquicchio‎, accompanied by the Deputy Secretary of the Venice Commission, Ms Simona Granata-Menghini met in Tunis with the President of the Republic, the Speaker of the Assembly of People's Representatives, with the Minister of Justice, with the Minister responsible for the relations with the constitutional institutions and the civil society and with other high authorities of Tunisia. 


    Available from the Council of Europe Publishing:

    • Bulletin of the Constitutional Case-Law: Issue 2014/2
    • Special Bulletin of the Constitutional Case-Law: Cooperation between courts
  • Bulletin of the Constitutional Case-Law: Issue 2014/3



            Armenia - constitutional reform;

              Georgia - amendments to the Constitution;

              Georgia - amicus curiae on the non-ultra petita rule in criminal cases;

              Hungary - on the recent amendments dealing with a number of media issues;

              Italy - on the Citizen's initiative bill on public participation, citizens' initiative, referendum and popular initiative and amendments to the provincial electoral law on the Province of Trento;

              Kyrgyzstan - amendments to the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan;

              Republic of Moldova - on the Law on the People's Advocate;

              Peru - draft anti-discrimination legislation;

              Ukraine - draft law on introducing changes to the Constitution of Ukraine on the immunity of Members of Parliament and 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

    • Rule of law - check list

    • Ombudsman institution

    • Restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of association of judges

    • Exclusion of offenders from Parliament


    • Constitutional justice
    • Prosecutors

    Link to the calendar of upcoming events

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