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Messages in reply to

the statement* of the President of the Venice Commission

at the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Commission

 

1.     Current and former members:

·       Mr Warren NEWMAN, Canada

·       Mr Michael FRENDO, Malta

·       Ms Janine M. OTÁLORA MALASSIS, Mexico

·       M. António Henriques GASPAR, Portugal

·       Mr Srdjan DARMANOVIC, Montenegro

·       Mr Pere VILANOVA TRIAS, Andorra

·       Mr Myron M. NICOLATOS, Cyprus

·       Mr Serhiy HOLOVATY, Ukraine

·       Mr Dan MERIDOR, Israel

·       M. Jean-Claude SCHOLSEM, Belgium

·       Mr Zlatko KNEŽEVIĆ, Bosnia and Herzegovina

·       Mr José Luis SARDON, Peru

·       Mr Josep M. CASTELLÀ, Spain

·       Mr Enver HASANI, Kosovo

·       Mr Ciril RIBIČIČ, Slovenia

·       Mr Francesco MAIANI, San Marino

·       Mr Peter BUßJÄGER, Liechtenstein

·       Mr Suk-Tae LEE, Republic of Korea

·       Ms Marta CARTABIA, Italy

·       Ms Maja PRELIĆ, Serbia

·       Mr Dainius Žalimas, Lithuania

·       Ms Jana BARICOVA, Slovak Republic
 

2.     Constitutional Courts:

·       Mr Farhad ABDULLAYEV, Azerbaijan, Chairman of the Constitutional Court

·       Ms Arta RAMA-HAJRIZI, Kosovo, President of the Constitutional Court

·       Mr Kairat MAMI, Kazakhstan, Chairman of the Constitutional Council

·       Mr Bakyt NURMUKHANOV, Kazakhstan

·       Mr Hrayr TOVMASYAN, Armenia, President of the Constitutional Court

·       Mr Valery ZORKIN, Russia, President of the Constitutional Court

·       Mr Zaza TAVADZE, Georgia, President of the Constitutional Court

·       Mr Karybek Duisheev, Kyrgyzstan, President of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court

·       Mr Olexandr Tupytskyi, Ukraine, Chairman of the Constitutional Court

 

3.     Other institutions:

·       Ms Erinda BALLANCA, Albania, Peoples’ Advocate

·       Mr Lorenzo CORDOVA, Mexico, President Councillor of the National Electoral Institute

·       Mr Rustam BADASYAN, Armenia, Minister of Justice

·       Mr Fadei NAGACEVSCHI, Republic of Moldova, Minister of Justice

 

1. Current and former members

 

·Mr Warren NEWMAN, Canada

Senior General Counsel, Constitutional, Administrative and International Law Section, Department of Justice

 

“Je tiens à vous remercier de nous avoir souligné la date du 10 mai, 30ème anniversaire de la fondation de la Commission, de façon si éloquente. Vos propos nous touchent.

Ce dimanche je lèverai mon verre à vous, tous et toutes.

Malgré la crise de pandémie qui nous secoue actuellement, souhaitons toujours une longue vie à la Commission !”

 

·Mr Michael FRENDO, Malta

Speaker Emeritus of the Parliament, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs

Member of the House of Representatives

 

“As Her Majesty the Queen said recently, we shall meet again. 

 

An incredible milestone! Surviving the test of time is proof of the Venice Commission filling a need in the search of humanity for freedom and representative governance. Setting standards, keeping democratic values and ideals alive and thriving. What a privilege to be part of this Commission at this time! Congratulations Venice Commission and all those who had the vision 30 years ago and who subsequently built it up stone by stone.”

 

·Ms Janine M. OTÁLORA MALASSIS, Mexico

Judge, Federal Electoral Tribunal

 

“Au cours de ces 30 dernières années le rôle de la Commission de Venise a eu une grande importance dans de nombreux pays afin de renforcer les régimes démocratiques. Souhaitons qu’aujourd’hui comme le souligne notre cher Président, la Commission assure aussi les droits fondamentaux des citoyens dans les pays qui ont pris des décisions exceptionnelles pour faire face à la crise du COVID 19. Puissions-nous nous retrouver au mois d’octobre pour fêter ensemble ce trentième anniversaire de la Commission.”
 

·M. António Henriques GASPAR, Portugal

Judge Councillor, Supreme Court of Justice, Former President of the Supreme Court and of the High Judicial Council

 

“ Il y a des jours que, en ces temps si étranges que nous vivons, nous rappellent l’espoir de l’avenir.
 

C’est un privilège d’être membre de la Commission et de pouvoir remercier la grandeur du travail accompli pour consolider les idéaux de la démocratie et la force du Droit.

Avec la certitude faite d‘espérance qu’en octobre nous fêterons ensemble le futur dans le lieu des symboles de la Commission. 

 

·Mr Srdjan DARMANOVIC, Montenegro

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Montenegro

 

 “Thinking about three decades of the Venice Commission it seems almost incredible what we have achieved in this relatively short sequence of time. Gianni enlisted the most important, just to remind us. What a record!

 

I am proud to have been part of that and am sure it’s a feeling all of us have. But, the Commission is far from only celebrating its best days. Many important things are yet to come. We live in the time when democracy all over the world is passing through difficulties while authoritarians are living their heydays. As democracy cannot win without democrats, those who are to defend its core principles and values, there is a lot of work ahead the Commission.

I’m looking forward to these efforts and have no doubt we will, as always, do our part. 

Wish you all to stay safe and healthy, to have an enjoyable summer after difficult and “quarantined” spring and look forward to see you in October Plenary.”

 

·Mr Pere VILANOVA TRIAS, Andorra

Emeritus Professor of Political Science and Constitutional Law, University of Barcelona

 

 “I totally agree with all these messages. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to contribute to the works of VC. I am convinced that the way ahead will be even more demanding, and we have a lot of work to do.”

 

·Mr Myron M. NICOLATOS, Cyprus

President of the Supreme Court of Cyprus

 

“Congratulations for the excellent job the Commission has done, during the last 30 years.

I am sure that, in the years to come, more excellent work will be done for the benefit of Democracy, the Rule of Law and Human Rights in Europe and beyond. ”

 

 

“At these days I bring my memory back when I got a chance, at the beginning of March 1995, to be present for the first time at the plenary meeting of the Venice Commission chaired by President Antonio Mario La Pergola. Very soon after that Ukraine joined the Venice Commission. Looking at what had happened since then, I may say that all the following period was the time of rather useful cooperation between Ukraine and the Commission. Now, being contained in almost 100 documents (in particular 28 opinions and 2 Amicus Curiae briefs concerning the Rule of Law), this cooperation reflects a copious amount of intellectual nourishment, substantive legal doctrine and impressive practical guidance offered by the Venice Commission to Ukraine. All of which comprise the triad of European values - democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Because of the crucial role played by the Venice Commission, the triad now form the corpus of Ukraine's legal system and body politic. I thank very much all the members of the Venice Commission in the past and nowadays as well as members of the Secretariat who during 25 years assisted Ukraine to develop itself on the basis of European values.”

 

·Mr Dan MERIDOR, Israel

Lawyer, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice

 

“The Venice Commission has done a remarkable job in these thirty years.

 

The years ahead of us are even more challenging and the Venice Commission’s role will be of vital significance.

 

After the Second World War, Europe - and indeed the entire world - was shocked by the horrible consequences of that war. The danger in autocratic regimes, extreme nationalism and absolute state sovereignty became frighteningly clear. It seemed the lesson was learnt: One has to develop and defend democracy, human rights and the rule of law. 

 

Indeed, this was the trend in many parts of the world in recent decades all the way to the collapse of the communist regime in large parts of Europe. Sovereignty and the power of majority was limited. Human rights and international and European law were developed and strengthened. 

 

The Venice Commission played a remarkable role in that historic development.

 

Recently one sees a powerful trend in the opposite direction, a “backlash”. The hatred against “the other” (the Jew, the Muslim, the foreigner), xenophobia and extreme nationalism raise their heads again and shamefully sometimes help politicians get elected. The despise of the “elites” and populism seem to spread. The basic values of human rights, rule of law and democracy are under a heavy attack. The institutions sustaining and defending these values, namely: the judiciary, NGO’s and humanitarian international law are all being attacked of not being “patriotic enough”, and of preferring some irrelevant and naive values and foreign interests over the “national interest”. We feel again this evil spirit of unchecked national sovereignty, “illiberal democracy”, no regard to human rights and no respect to universal and European human values.

 

This is a struggle for our identity, for justice and human dignity. It is a struggle to maintain a fair and proud balance between legitimate national causes and basic human rights and international - and European - law. 

 

The Venice Commission has the expertise, the experience, the professional excellence and the high respect thanks to its thirty years of activity and it can and should play a vital role in that on-going struggle.

 

I wish the Venice Commission every success facing these challenges.”

 

·M. Jean-Claude SCHOLSEM, Belgium  

Professor Emeritus, University of Liege

 

« Comme le plus ancien membre de la Commission (mais aussi le plus vieux!), je me réjouis profondément de tout ce qui a été accompli. J’en ressens une fierté profonde que je veux partager avec vous.

 

Comme le dit si bien notre Président Gianni, il reste beaucoup à faire et je suis convaincu que nous le ferons.

 

Longue vie à la Commission et espérons que nous retrouverons enfin les bâtiments splendides de la Scuola San Giovanni Evangelista. »

 

·Mr Zlatko KNEŽEVIĆ, Bosnia and Herzegovina

President of the Constitutional Court

 

“It is my honour and pleasure to congratulate with this jubilee. I am proud to have been a part of the most important professional organization for seven years now, which has changed the image of the legal profession not only in Europe but also in the world with its work and influence.

 

I am convinced that this Commission will continue to benefit the rule of law for the next thirty years.

 

I especially want to express my gratitude to the President who wisely and decisively leads our actions I thank all former and current members for their contribution as well as the secretariat whose work is to be commended.”

 

·Mr José Luis SARDON, Peru

Judge, Constitutional Court

 

“Happy 30th Anniversary, Venice Commission! It is a great honour to be part of your important endeavour to affirm democracy through the Law. A big hug to the other members of the Commission and the Secretariat on this such a meaningful date.”

 

·Mr Josep M. CASTELLÀ, Spain

Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Barcelona

 

“Happy 30th anniversary! Congratulations for the commitment and work developed to defend and promote constitutional democracy, the rule of law and human rights in European countries since the 1989 fall of the Berlin wall and later on in countries all over the world.

 

As President Buquicchio opportunely reminded us in the Statement on the occasion of the anniversary: "We must safeguard pluralistic democracy and prevent its degeneration into an authoritarian regime, where the winner takes all."

 

It is an honour to share with you all the membership of the Venice Commission. A special salute to all the people of the Secretariat.

 

Looking forward to our reunion in Venice for the celebration.”

 

·Mr Enver HASANI, Kosovo

Former president, Constitutional Court
 

“On the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the formation of the Venice Commission, I have the honour to express my congratulations with the wishes for its continuous work for the betterment of the rule of law in Europe and beyond. It has been an honour for me to be a member of the Venice Commission and getting to know President Buquicchio and all of you, to get such amount of knowledge as Carl Popper would say, that is tantamount of a new university degree in the field of law. 

 

I want to express my warmest thank to President Buquicchio for his warm welcome to me as representative of Kosovo to the Commission. Same thanks go to all the others who were so kind to me during my mandate there. I appreciate that the same welcome is being extended to my colleague who replaced me in the Commission, an outstanding lawyer, and intellectual. 

 

Reading today the speech of President Buquicchio about the vision and mission of the Commission is as of a providence. It shows how much can human will and expertise help other nations of former Communist Europe drag behind the values of modern constitutionalism. Then it may have seemed an illusion, but today it is a reality as very few have remained out of its effective influence.

 

Wishing the Commission a long and fruitful work, President Buquicchio all the best in his life, to persevere in efforts to shed light in the silhouette of the rule of law prevailing in the old Continent.”

 

·Mr Ciril RIBIČIČ, Slovenia

Professor Emeritus
 

“The Venice Commission is immensely important for all Council of Europe countries, its other Member States as well as for all other countries interested in the development and positive experiences in maintaining and developing the European democratic traditions. It would be a mistake to think that such positive influence is spread only through the opinions adopted by the Commission in which dilemmas that afflict individual Member States are resolved in a relatively short time.

Allow me to explain this on the Slovenian example. The Venice Commission adopted only one opinion with respect to Slovenia, which dealt with the relationship between a legislative referendum and constitutional amendments. Its opinion helped resolve a constitutional and a political crisis. Nevertheless, the influence of the Venice Commission in the next 20 years on the development of democracy has been an important one. On the basis of its opinions regarding other Member States, the Commission continued to monitor whether, and to what extent, the development in Slovenia is compatible with the European standards of human rights protection and the Rule of Law. For my part, through publications in professional journals (Pravna praksa), my book Between law and justice and my lectures to students at the Ljubljana Faculty of Law, I continuously informed the Slovenian legal community and broader public on the inconsistencies between the opinions of the Venice Commission and the legal regulation and political practice in Slovenia.

The 30th anniversary of the Venice Commission coincides with the conclusion of my eight-year term as its member. Allow me, therefore, to express my thanks to all with whom I collaborated in these year in which I had the privilege of meeting the foremost authorities in constitutional law and the law of human rights. I wish the Venice Commission, its leadership and its President much success in confronting the deviations from the standards of European democratic standards. ”
 

“ It is a honor and a privilege to be a member of the Venice Commission. Considering the challenges that democracy, human rights and the rule of law are facing, its mission is as relevant today as it ever was. The independence, diversity and expertise of its membership, as well as its credibility and its ability to engage in dialogue with national stakeholders, are invaluable assets. They put the Venice Commission in the position to make a unique contribution to the cause of democracy in the coming 30 years. It will be our task to realize this potential. ”
 

·Mr Peter BUßJÄGER, Liechtenstein

Member of the Constitutional Court

 

“Happy 30th anniversary of the Venice Commission! I am honoured to be member of this distinguished group and I am happy to contribute to the progress of democracy and the rule of law. I wish the Venice Commission continued steadiness and consistency in achieving its goals.

 

Looking forward to our reunion in Venice.”

 

·Mr Suk-Tae LEE, Republic of Korea

Justice, Constitutional Court
 

“It is my pleasure and honor to pay homage to the 30th anniversary of the Venice Commission.

The Venice Commission made the best contribution to spreading the "rule of law" worldwide. I would like to express my deep appreciation to the President and the staff of the Secretariat for their dedication to the Venice Committee.

The role of the Venice Commission will be further expanded in the future, and the "rule of law" will be firmly established. In addition, the Venice Commission will contribute to the greater respect for the human rights of citizens around the world.

Despite the spread of COVID-19, I sincerely wish the safety of my esteemed the President, the staff of the Secretariat, and my colleagues. I am looking forward to meeting my dear colleagues again in Venice.”

 

·Ms Marta CARTABIA, Italy

President of the Constitutional Court

 

“I would like to congratulate President Buquicchio and the other members for this important anniversary of the Venice Commission.  We are celebrating a unique institution; whose authority and credibility depends more on the independence and expertise of its member than on its formal powers. Over its first thirty years the Commission has achieved impressive results in supporting all efforts to implement and to preserve the rule of law, the democratic principles and the protection of human rights throughout the European continent and beyond. It is a honour and a privilege to be a member of the Venice Commission and to participate to its activities. As President Buquicchio says: “The Commission is needed now more than ever before”.

 

 

·Ms Maja PRELIĆ, Serbia

Member of the Council for "Chapter 23"

 

“On behalf of Mr Backović (Serbian member of the Commission) we would like to congratulate the 30th anniversary to all you who have been part of this precious and successful story! Many challenges are still in front of us and we have to do our best to maintain the reputation that this institution has built in the past thirty years.

 

On the Serbian example we know how much the Venice Commission contributed in the process of developing a modern democracy and healthy society based on European standards. In addition to the great value of legal advice provided by the Commission to individual countries, it is particularly important to note that its studies, reports and overall activities present a cornerstone of the European constitutional heritage through which the basic principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law are being promoted and illuminated worldwide for previous, current and next generations.”

 

·Mr Dainius Žalimas, Lithuania

President of the Constitutional Court

 

“On behalf of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as personally, let me extend sincere congratulations on the 30th anniversary of the activity of the Venice Commission.

 

Each and every time I think of the activities of the Venice Commission, I recall what has always seemed to me to be most important – discussions in the search of the truth and of the best possible solution. It is this characteristic that is inherent in democracy, whose essence is not to impose the will of the majority, but to give consideration to all opinions. The Venice Commission stands out as being capable of holding its firm position, while at the same time maintaining a balance between differing points of view; it is also notable for its capacity to find a common understanding, a common denominator. Moreover, all this is achieved by the Commission without departing from – the overarching goal – the protection of European democratic values and principles.

 

This year, a 30th anniversary is also celebrated by Lithuania – thirty years ago the independent democratic state of Lithuania was restored. I have no doubt that our democracy would not have been so mature if, in solving constitutional justice cases, we had been unable to make such extensive use of the recommendations from the Venice Commission and its compiled database of constitutional case law. These recommendations by the Venice Commission can confidently be called the European standards of constitutional jurisprudence, thus also one of the principal sources for the development of official constitutional doctrine.

 

We have also been pleased to be able to share our own experience, participate in discussions, and provide our opinion. Most importantly, we all have awareness that, regardless of fervent disagreements that occur at times, the ultimate solution will always be based on the principle of the rule of law.

 

In expressing my congratulations on your 30th anniversary, I would like to wish you strength and perseverance in remaining a faithful defender of democracy and the rule of law. And – above all today – I wish you good health!”

 

 

·Ms Jana BARICOVA, Slovak Republic

Judge, Contitutional Court

 

„It is my sincere pleasure to congratulate the Venice Commission on this year’s jubilee marking the 30th anniversary of the Commission’s hard work in promoting and defending the rule of law, democracy and human rights. Considering the challenges Europe and the greater world are currently facing in upholding these values, its mission is as relevant today ever before.

 

I am proud to have been a part of this expert organisation for six years now and to have been able to share all the valuable experience with its other members in our common striving for maintaining the high level of European constitutionalism. Let me also express my gratitude for the Commission’s assistance especially in the last six years, as its opinions have been invaluable to the Slovak Republic as well as to the Constitutional Court.

 

I hope to meet you at the celebrations of the Commission’s 30th anniversary, which are to take place in Venice in October 2020.“

 

2.Constitutional Courts

 

·Mr Farhad ABDULLAYEV, Azerbaijan, Chairman of the Constitutional Court

Text of the letter

 

·Ms Arta RAMA-HAJRIZI, Kosovo, President of the Constitutional Court 

Text of the letter

 

·Mr Kairat MAMI, Kazakhstan, Chairman of the Constitutional Council 

  Text of the letter

 

·Mr Bakyt NURMUKHANOV, Kazakhstan

Liaison Officer, Constitutional Council

 

“Let me congratulate you with 30th Anniversary of the Venice Commission. Working with Commission and you more than 10 years I can say that activity of the Commission, its Secretariat and staff plays important role in strengthening of rule of law and democracy in all over the world. I wish you and your team only progress, new ideas and successes in promotion of legal values. “

 

·Mr Hrayr TOVMASYAN, Armenia, President of the Constitutional Court

Text of the letter

 

·Mr Valery ZORKIN, Russia, President of the Constitutional Court 

      Text of the letter

 

·Mr Zaza TAVADZE, Georgia, President of the Constitutional Court

      Text of the letter

 

·Mr Karybek Duisheev, Kyrgyzstan, President of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court

     Text of the letter

 

·Mr Olexandr Tupytskyi, Ukraine, Chairman of the Constitutional Court

     Text of the letter

 

3.Other institutions

 

·Ms Erinda BALLANCA, Albania, Peoples’ Advocate

     Text of the letter

 

·Mr Lorenzo CORDOVA, Mexico, President Councillor of the National Electoral Institute

     Text of the letter

 

·Mr Rustam BADASYAN, Armenia, Minister of Justice

 

“I would like to congratulate the Venice Commission and you personally, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Commission. During these 3 decades the Commission has been providing valuable expertise and support to the young and developing democracies in the Europe and beyond. It is true, that the name of the Venice Commission has become a brand guaranteeing the compliance with the best legal standards of Democracy and the Rule of Law and your personal input in this is highly appreciated. “

 

 

·Mr Fadei NAGACEVSCHI, Republic of Moldova, Minister of Justice

      Text of the letter

 

 

_______________________
* - Text of the statement of the President of the Venice Commission

 

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