Co-operation with Central Asia : highlights
Since 2007, the Venice Commission has established a good level of co-operation with national institutions of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, in various fields with funding provided by the European Union as well as by some Council of Europe member states.
Targeted co-operation projects based on demand
The Venice Commission was one of the first organisations to start targeted co-operation on rule of law issues with the countries of Central Asia. Based on its reputation as an independent and impartial instrument of legal co-operation, the Venice Commission managed to build very good working relations with different State institutions in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Although at a lesser level, representatives of Turkmenistan were involved in several multilateral activities of the Venice Commission.
Opinions on draft legislation
In 2010 – 2018 the Venice Commission has prepared several opinions upon request from national authorities of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. For example, the Commission adopted opinions on the amendments to the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan (2016), on the amendments to the Constitution of Kazakhstan (2017), on the Reform of the High Judicial Council of Kazakhstan (2018), the Administrative Procedure and Justice Code of Kazahkhstan (2018) and the draft Election Code of Uzbekistan (2018).
Regional projects: the Venice Commission takes part in the EU funded Central Asia Rule of Law Initiative
In 2009 the Venice Commission carried out a co-operation programme with five Central Asian countries with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany. Based on its success in December 2009 the Council of Europe and the European Commission signed an agreement for a joint action in the framework of the “EU – Central Asia Rule of Law Initiative”. The two year programme covered the following Central Asian countries : Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and it aimed at contributing to the development of the judicial system, law enforcement and modernisation of legislation. It offered tools for countries from the region to further develop the rule of law, comprising assistance to judicial systems and legal professions, as well as advisory services and regional exchange in the field of legislation. Some of the aspects of the Programme were:
- further development of constitutional mechanisms aimed at strengthening the principles of rule of law, separation of powers and legal certainty through reform of the existing legislation and its effective implementation;
- enhancing efficiency and independence of judiciary in general and Constitutional Councils and Courts in particular;
- assistance to the reform of the institution of public prosecution and other investigative bodies;
- further integration of international law into national legal systems;
- assistance to the reform of electoral systems and improvement of election administration;
- training of public administration officials, judges and lawyers.
Bilateral co-operation : support to the electoral reform in Kyrgyzstan
Following positive results of the Joint EU/CoE Venice Commission Regional Rule of Law programme in Central Asia (2010-2014), authorities of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan expressed their wish to continue working with the Venice Commission. Since February 2017, the Venice Commission started the implementation of a new project in the electoral field in Kyrgyzstan. This two-year project (2017-2018) is aimed at helping the country’s authorities in the elaboration of a comprehensive strategy and in the process of reform of the electoral legislation and practice in accordance with international standards by making tools and expertise available to national institutions involved in electoral reform.
List of implemented projects
- 2017 - 2018 - “Support to strengthening democracy through electoral reform in the Kyrgyz Republic” (funded by EU)
- 2013 – 2015 - “Support to the Kyrgyz authorities in improving the quality and efficiency of the Kyrgyz Constitutional justice system” (funded by EU)
- 2012 – 2014 - “Equal before law: access to justice for vulnerable groups” (funded by Finland)
- 2012 - 2014 - “Supporting constitutional justice, access to justice and electoral reform in the countries of Central Asia” (funded by EU)
- 2011 – 2012 - “Support to the electoral process in Kazakhstan” (funded by EU)
- 2010 – 2011- “Assistance to the authorities in reforming the legislation of Kyrgyzstan following the 2010 constitutional referendum" (funded by EU)
- 2009 – 2011 “Rule of law project” (funded by EU and Germany)