of situations of emergency
in Venice Commission member States
National governments have taken exceptional measures in order to handle the Covid-19 pandemic and slow down the spread of the virus.
Emergency measures may affect the normal functioning of State institutions and the democratic process and usually introduce additional limitations on fundamental rights and freedoms.
In the past three decades, the Venice Commission has examined the constitutional and legal framework of emergency powers in many countries (Armenia, Finland, France, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine). It has also prepared several general reports on this topic. In its Rule of Law Checklist, the Venice Commission elaborated specific benchmarks for the exceptions to the principle of legality in the emergency situations.
In April 2020 this material was summarised by the Scientific Council of the Venice Commission in a Compilation of the Venice Commission’s general reports and country-specific opinions on constitutional provisions and legislation on emergency situations (English, Russian, Romanian, Serbian, Spanish). Finally, in June 2020 the Venice Commission endorsed the report on the “Respect for Democracy Human Rights and Rule of Law during States of Emergency – Reflections” (English, French, Ukrainian, Spanish). This was followed in October 2020 by an “Interim Report on the measures taken in the EU member State as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and their impact on democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights” (English, French) - the first request made by the European Parliament to the Venice Commission. A final report will be adopted in due course.
The aim of this Observatory on the situations of emergency in Venice Commission member States, created by the Scientific Council, is to collect country-specific information on constitutional and extra-constitutional emergency powers, on relevant mechanisms of parliamentary and judicial oversight and on electoral experiences. The Observatory will thus provide systematised comparative information which may be used by lawyers, scholars, State officials, international and non-governmental organisations working in this field.
The information in the Observatory is based on the answers received from the individual members of the Venice Commission, in reply to a questionnaire (English, French). They have been complemented with information obtained from other open sources. The Observatory will be updated regularly, as more information becomes available.
Disclaimer: the information provided is accurate to the best of our knowledge. Readers are encouraged to inform the Secretariat of the Commission of any inaccuracy /outdated information regarding their countries.
Link to the Observatory:
In 2021 the Federación Iberoamericana del Ombudsman (FIO) issued a study overviewing the Covid-related measures in the Ibero-American region and the role of the Ombudsman institutions in this context. The text of study can be obtained here.