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IV. References by representatives of individual states 

 

Minister Zalkaliani, in December the United States will celebrate its 15th anniversary as an observer to the Council of Europe. We are proud to be full members of the Venice Commission and Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) and a state party to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. The joint legal opinions of the Venice Commission and the OSCE help countries such as Georgia and Serbia strengthen rule of law and democratic institutions, making them less vulnerable to external manipulation and pressure. Our joint election observation missions illustrate our strong commitment to helping states achieve their democratic aims with outcomes that reflect the will of their people.”

 

“We reaffirm the importance of protecting, reforming and renewing the rules-based international order, with the UN at its core. We are opposed to all attempts to undermine laws, norms and institutions that govern peaceful international cooperation. We are united in our commitment to multilateralism, democracy and the rule of law. In this context, Canada is joining the Council of Europe’s European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission), which will help Canada and the EU collectively advance democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

 

 

« Le Conseil de l’Europe dispose également, parmi ses organes, des vigies du quotidien, d’observateurs éclairés et attentifs dont la tâche est de prévenir les atteintes aux droits de l’Homme, de promouvoir leur respect, d’aider les États membres dans un cheminement qui n’a rien de toujours évident et de les conduire vers les plus hauts standards en matière de démocratie, de droits de l’homme et de prééminence du droit.
 

Je souhaite ici leur rendre hommage. Je pense d’abord à la Commission européenne pour la démocratie par le droit, plus connue sous le nom de Commission de Venise. Son rôle tout à fait unique d’expertise indépendante sur les questions constitutionnelles fut essentiel dans l’accompagnement des pays d’Europe centrale et orientale et des pays des Balkans vers l’État de droit. Son expertise, aujourd’hui reconnue bien au-delà des frontières du Conseil de l’Europe puisqu’en sont désormais membres 14 pays non européens, nous est tout aussi indispensable aujourd’hui. La Commission de Venise peut être saisie par l’Assemblée parlementaire du Conseil de l’Europe, ce qu’elle ne manque pas de faire.
 

Ce fut le cas de la réforme constitutionnelle en Turquie ou, plus récemment, de la loi polonaise sur les juridictions de droit commun, ainsi que des projets de loi sur le Conseil national de la magistrature et sur la Cour suprême. Mais elle est également souvent saisie par les États eux-mêmes. C’est le cas, encore cette année, de la loi sur l’enseignement en Ukraine ou d’un projet de loi sur les référendums en Arménie. Je crois que c’est là un signe très fort de son autorité et de la reconnaissance de l’indépendance et de l’impartialité de son expertise. »

(Full speech at the European Court of Human Rights, reference to the Venice Commission at 1:01:51).


 

“This is a package of amendments that has passed through the Venice Commission — the gold standard of European review. It has met — it’s gotten the Venice Commission’s seal of approval. And it will bring to your constitution European standards of decentralized power.”  

 

“We recommend Turkey… foster an independent judiciary and consult with civil society, OSCE/ODIHR, and the Venice Commission on any judicial reform;”

 

"We have discussed the situation in Ukraine in detail. We proceed from the assumption that there is no alternative to the implementation of all provisions, without exception, of the Package of Measures approved in Minsk on February 12, including those on dealing with the acute humanitarian problems, discontinuing the economic blockade, holding municipal elections, and reforming the constitution in keeping with the recommendations addressed to Ukraine by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe. The Commission’s recent report has expressed concern about delays in carrying out constitutional reforms in Ukraine, reforms that it has clearly affirmed. This was agreed in Minsk, where the constitutional reforms, including primarily the process of decentralisation, were mapped out in sufficient detail in concrete areas to be discussed at talks between Kiev and Ukraine’s regions, including Lugansk and Donetsk."
 

« Je souligne dans ce contexte en particulier le rôle d’accompagnement des accords de Minsk que le Conseil, notamment la Commission de Venise, peut jouer, en particulier dans le cadre de la réforme de la constitution, de la décentralisation et de l’organisation d’élections locales. »

 

“The French President and the German Chancellor welcomed the launch of the process to reform the Ukrainian constitution, which puts particular emphasis on the issue of decentralization. They signalled their appreciation of the efforts under way to conduct this reform in accordance with the Package of Measures adopted in Minsk and the recommendations of the Venice Commission.”

 

“The report of the Venice Commission will be studied in detail...the assessment of the legal experts of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission is very significant. The Commission has noted that the presidential system that Erdoğan aims to institute would be a step towards an autocratic order...The European Council and the European institutions must look in detail at the report and take a common position."

 

" We will organise a broad debate to identify the best solutions in Parliament for the electoral system and we will work with Venice Commission to find the best experience."

 

 “All the recommendations of the Venice Commission will be carefully reviewed. Parliament will not adopt any constitutional amendment if it is negatively assessed by the Venice Commission. ”

 

“We took into account the Venice Commission’s 2013 recommendations on the relationship between the political ministerial liability and the criminal liability, according to which the national penal provisions on the „abuse of office”, „abuse of power”, and similar expressions should be interpreted in a restrained sense and enforced at high level, so that they can be invoked only when the deed is serious."

 

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