In January 2020 the Venice Commission started implementing the project “Promoting Efficient Functioning of State Institutions and Public Administration in Central Asia”. The project is part of the broader joint Council of Europe-European Union “Central Asia Rule of Law Programme 2020 - 2023”. The Programme is financed by the Council of Europe and the European Union and implemented by the Council of Europe.
List of bilateral and regional activities organised by the Venice Commission
KYRGYZ REPUBLIC : "Criminal Justice and Human Rights- emerging trends and challenges" : international conference
20 October 2023
The Venice Commission organised, in co-operation with the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic, an international conference entitled “Criminal Justice and Human Rights - Emerging Trends and Challenges”. The conference, which took place on 20 October 2023 in Bishkek, gathered around 50 senior representatives of the Supreme and lower instance courts from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office, other relevant authorities and academia of Kyrgyzstan as well as Venice Commission experts. The conference aimed to analyse the perspective of the transition from an inquisitorial to an adversarial system based on international standards for protecting human rights. Various topics were tackled, such as prosecutorial bias in criminal proceedings and problems in ensuring the principle of adversarial proceedings, judicial control in pre-trial proceedings, presumption of innocence and problems of exemption from criminal liability.
KAZAKHSTAN: Constitutional justice: dignity, freedom, and justice for all: international conference
7-8 September 2023
Following the request of the Constitutional Court of Kazakhstan, the Venice Commission organised, on 7-8 September 2023, an international conference in Astana dedicated to the Constitution Day in Kazakhstan and the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The event was organised in the context of the establishment of the new Constitutional Court in January 2023, which was done with the support of the Venice Commission. The Constitutional amendments provided for individual access to the Constitutional Court in the form of a constitutional complaint against normative acts. The conference was attended by 185 senior representatives from 30 countries, namely from Constitutional Courts and equivalent institutions, Ombudsman institutions, as well as other international bodies such as UNDP, OSCE, GIZ and IRZ. The event was also attended by other Kazakh institutions, namely the Presidential Administration, Parliament, Human Rights Commissioner, Prosecutor General, Bar Association and academia. The discussions during the conference focused on the effectiveness of constitutional control and the way Constitutional Courts could respond to the quest for better protection of the citizens' rights. In this regard, the Venice Commission standards were highlighted by the Commission's members from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, and the Republic of Moldova, as well as by other experts of the Venice Commission who participated in the conference. The relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights was presented with the support of the HELP Programme. The representatives of the Constitutional Courts of Kyrgyzstan , Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan also attended the conference.
KYRGYZ REPUBLIC - “The Constitution as a foundation for building a democratic state under the rule of law” – international conference
21-22 June 2023
The Constitutional Court of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Venice Commission organised an international conference entitled “The Constitution as a foundation for building a democratic state under the rule of law”. The conference took place on 21-22 June 2023 in the Issyk-Kul region and was dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic. It gathered more than 100 representatives from constitutional courts from 16 countries worldwide. The Conference gave the opportunity to discuss the role of constitutional justice and its impact on the formation of a legal, democratic state. The participants shared their experiences in the field of constitutional control and discussed the challenges and perspectives for evolution of constitutional control in the era of global transformations. Venice Commission experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy and the Republic of Moldova presented the European model of constitutional review of legislation and the experience of the constitutional courts of their own countries in promoting constitutional values in society.
UZBEKISTAN - Models of constitutional complaints in Central Asian countries - international conference
25-26 May 2023
The Venice Commission organised in co-operation with the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan an international conference entitled “Models of constitutional complaints in Central Asian countries”. The conference took place on 25-26 May 2023 in Samarkand and gathered high-level representatives from the Constitutional Courts of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan and from Europe. More than 80 participants shared i best practices in the field of constitutional control including the role of individual constitutional complaint as an effective mechanism for the protection of the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens. Against the backdrop of constitutional reforms, that are being implemented in Uzbekistan, debates namely focused on the interaction between the parliament of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the human rights institutions of the Republic of Uzbekistan with the Constitutional Court of the country. Venice Commission experts from France, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Georgia participated in the event. Their presentations allowed to increase the understanding about the European model of constitutional control.
KAZAKHSTAN - Adversarial trial and equality of arms in criminal proceedings - international conference
8-9 December 2022
The Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe organised a two-day conference entitled “Adversarial trial and equality of arms in criminal proceedings”. The event was attended by judges from the Supreme Court regional courts, representatives of other institutions of Kazakhstan as well as judges from other Central Asian countries (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan). It was opened by the acting Chairman of the Criminal Collegium of the Supreme Court, Ms Laura Agybayeva, by the Deputy Secretary of the Venice Commission Mr Schnutz Dürr and the European Union Ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan Mr Kestutis Jankauskas. The discussions focused on the challenges and the opportunities for further reforms in the judiciary by introducing the concept of adversarial trial and equality of arms concepts in criminal proceedings. Participants shared their experiences as regards the adversarial trial in different legal systems and mechanisms aimed at ensuring the impartiality of the judge. Venice Commission experts from Estonia, Georgia, Ireland, Moldova, and United Kingdom highlighted the most important features of the adversarial trial system both at the pre-trial stage as well as during the proceedings and the best European practices aiming to increase the fairness of the court’s decisions and enhance court public trust.
KYRGYZ REPUBLIC – “Judicial independence in the context of constitutional reforms" - International conference
The Venice Commission and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan organised on 16 September 2022 an international conference entitled “Judicial independence in the context of constitutional reforms”. More than 100 high-level representatives from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan attended the conference. The main topics discussed concerned the constitutional reform and the judicial independence, the limits to the interaction of the judiciary with the other branches of public authorities as well the various mechanisms for implementing he principle of independence of the judiciary. Venice Commission experts from Georgia, North Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, and the Republic of Korea presented their national experience and the Venice Commission standards in the field of judicial independence. The event was attended by judges from the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan, judges from the local courts, representatives the Constitutional Court of Kyrgyzstan as well as from representatives from various international organisations and other donors active in the country.
KAZAKHSTAN - International round table “Evolution of constitutional control in the context of societal and state transformation”
26 August 2022
The Venice Commission took part in an international roundtable entitled “Evolution of constitutional control in the context of societal and state transformation”, which was organised on 26th August 2022 by the Constitutional Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The event marked the Constitution Day of Kazakhstan and aimed to discuss the constitutional reforms in Kazakhstan, announced by the President Tokayev in March 2022, which also include the transformation of the Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan into a Constitutional Court. The round table took place simultaneously in Nur-Sultan at KazGUU university and Almaty at Narxoz university and was attended by the Presidents of the Constitutional Courts of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and Venice Commission experts from Armenia, Croatia, Georgia, and Korea. Members of the Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan, representatives of state bodies and organisations, members of the Scientific Council under the Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan, representatives of non-governmental and international organizations as well as representatives of foreign constitutional review bodies took part in the work of the round table. Participants discussed role, principles and functioning of the Constitutional Courts as well as models and regulation of the constitutional complaint also in light of the adoption in 2022 of the new Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan
UZBEKISTAN - Modernisation of the Public Administration in Central Asia and respect of the Rule of Law Principles – international conference
12-13 May 2022
The Venice Commission organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and the Civil service bureau of Uzbekistan an international conference entitled “Modernisation of the Public Administration in Central Asia and respect of the Rule of Law Principles”. The conference took place on 12-13 May 2022 in Tashkent as a hybrid event and brought together more than 80 senior civil servants from the following Central Asia countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as well as Venice Commission experts from France, Germany, Georgia, Italy and Portugal. The event was opened by Ruslanbek Davletov Minister of Justice of Uzbekistan, Gianni Buquicchio, President Emeritus and special representative of the Venice Commission, Charlotte Adriaen the European Union Ambassador to Uzbekistan, as well as by senior representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The conference aimed at facilitating dialogue and exchanges between the state institutions of Central Asian countries on how to improve the functioning of the public administration. The following topics were discussed during this two day event - the rule of law principles and constitutional and legal challenges as regards public administration reforms, innovation and digitalisation in the public administration, professional development, retraining and performance management in the civil service.
TAJIKISTAN – Constitutional Justice and the Rule of Law – international round table
10 May 2022
The Venice Commission organised in cooperation with the Constitutional Court of Tajikistan an international round table on Constitutional Justice and the Rule of Law. The round table was held in Dushanbe on 10th May 2022. Senior representatives from the Constitutional Courts and Councils of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan attended this regional event as well as Venice Commission experts from Armenia, Georgia and Kazakhstan. The event was opened by Abdulkhafiz Ashurzoda, President of the Constitutional Court of Tajikistan as well as by Gianni Buquicchio, President Emeritus and Special Representative of the Venice Commission. The participants discussed such issues as:
• the rule of law as a fundamental constitutional principle
• the impact of constitutional justice on the strengthening of the state under the rule of law
• the role of the Constitutional Courts in shaping the rule of law principle and ensuring the protection of individual rights
- Proceedings of the round table (RU)
KAZAKHSTAN - Constitutional and international aspects of the upholding of the rule of law - international conference
22 April 2022
The Venice Commission and the United Nations Office in Kazakhstan organised on 22 April 2022 an international hybrid conference in Almaty dedicated to the “Constitutional and international aspects of the upholding of the Rule of Law”. The event was organised in cooperation with various state institutions of Kazakhstan namely the Constitutional Council, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Human Rights Commission under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Nursultan Nazarbayev Foundation and the Sorbonne Institute-Kazakhstan. The event coincided with the 10th anniversary of the accession of Kazakhstan to the Venice Commission and the 30th anniversary of the accession of the country to the United Nations. The President of the Venice Commission, Ms. Claire Bazy Malaurie, opened the event along with the President of the Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan, the Ambassador of the European Union to Kazakhstan as well as with high level representatives from the United Nations. Venice Commission experts from Croatia and Italy made presentations on the cooperation between Kazakhstan and the Venice Commission respectively in the field of administrative and constitutional justice.
KAZAKSHTAN - international round table "Role and place of the judicial councils in the judiciary and their current models"
24 November 2021
The Venice Commission organised, in co-operation with the High Judicial Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan, an international hybrid round table in Nur-Sultan entitled “The role and place of judicial councils in the judiciary and their current models”. The event aimed to support the efforts of the High Judicial Council of Kazakhstan to transform the Council from an autonomous state institution into a judicial self-government body.
The participants discussed various models of judicial governance and possible ways of applying best international standards in the development and modernisation of the High Judicial Council of Kazakhstan. They underlined the importance to streamline the mechanisms of functioning of judicial councils and similar bodies taking into account the framework of ensuring the independence of judges, the widespread introduction of modern technologies in the selection of judges and the improvement of specific programs for training judicial personnel. Various areas of work that could be explored for further strengthening the role and the autonomy of the High Judicial Council of Kazakhstan namely - increasing the representation of members who are not judges, while respecting international standards and recommendations in this area prepared by the Council of Europe including the Venice Commission and other international organisations, clear consolidation of the status of members of the Council and further improvement of the institutions for the competitive selection of judges, their professional assessment and disciplinary responsibility. The round table was opened by the President of the Venice Commission Mr Gianni Buquicchio and attended by senior representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan as well as by high level international experts from Council of Europe, OSCE, ENCJ and Russian Federation.
KAZAKHSTAN - Judicial reforms - international hybrid round table
27-28 October 2021
The Venice Commission took part in the international hybrid round table “Reforms of the Judiciary in Kazakhstan: addressing new challenges using the best international practices”, which was organised in Nur-Sultan on 27-28 October in cooperation with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan. High level officials from Kazakhstan, Council of Europe and the European Union, took part in the conference including the Venice Commission experts from Georgia, Russian Federation and Ukraine. Participants addressed issues related to the ongoing reforms in the justice sector in Kazakhstan and exchanged views about adversarial trial and equality of arms in criminal proceedings, administrative justice, the use of new technologies to improve the efficiency of justice, and new approaches in judicial training. Venice Commission experts made presentations in the field of administrative justice reforms and discussed the implementation of the new Administrative Procedural and Process related code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which entered int force on 1 July 2021. The Venice Commission adopted in 2018 an opinion on the draft text of the code
“UZBEKISTAN - five years of reforms” - high level conference
05 October 2021
The Venice Commission took part in the International conference “UZBEKISTAN: FIVE YEARS OF REFORMS” organised on 5 October 2021 in Tashkent as a hybrid event. The conference focused on the reforms carried out by the Republic of Uzbekistan since the adoption of the Strategy of Actions 2017-2021. The Vice President of the Venice Commission, Mr Philip Dimitrov, intervened in the first session of the conference entitled “Improving the state of society construction, scope of reforms to ensure the rule of law”.
KAZAKHSTAN - “Execution of the decisions of the Constitutionals Courts and equivalent bodies – theory and practice” - International online Seminar
25 June 2021
The Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan and the Venice Commission organised an international online seminar on the “Execution of decisions of constitutional courts and equivalent bodies – theory and practice”. The event was opened by Mr Kairat Mami, Chairman of the Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan, Mr Gianni Buquicchio, President of the Venice Commission and Mr Sven Olov Carlsson, European Union Ambassador to Kazakhstan. Four members of the Venice Commission participated in the seminar, namely from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Republic of Moldova and Georgia as well as representatives from the Constitutional Courts and equivalent bodies from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic.
- YouTube retransmission (RU and EN )
TRANSVERSAL ACTIVITIES : Venice Commission takes part in the 1st Steering Committee of the Central Asia Rule of Law Programme
04 June 2021
The Venice Commission took part in the first Steering Committee meeting of the Central Asia Rule of Law Programme 2020-2023 which was organised 4 June 2021 as an online event. The meeting gathered high level officials from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as well as representatives of the European Union and the Council of Europe.
The participants of this 1st Steering Committee discussed the progress of the implementation of the Central Asia Rule of Law Programme as well as national priorities and specific areas of cooperation for the year 2021. Venice Commission experts and national representatives presented the achievements of the third component of the Programme implemented by the Commission, namely the project “Promote efficient functioning of state institutions and public administration in Central Asia”.
UZBEKISTAN - “Tashkent Law Spring” International Legal Forum – Law 4.0.: the vision of law in the age of fourth industrial revolution
22-23 April 2021
Following an invitation by the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Mr. Ruslanbek Davletov, the President of the Venice Commission, Mr. Gianni Buquicchio, addressed the International Legal Forum “Tashkent Law Spring”. The event was entitled “Law 4.0. The vision of law in the age of fourth industrial revolution” and it was organised by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan 22-23 April 2021. A number of high ranking officials from different countries, international organisations and high level national and international experts attended the 2021 edition of this biennial forum.
KYRGYZ REPUBLIC - Joint OSCE/ODIHR-Venice Commission Opinion on the draft Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic - meeting of the Donors’ Partners Coordination Council
6 April 2021
Venice Commission experts participated in the Donors’ Partners Coordination Council Working Group for Rule of Law and Human Rights for Kyrgyz Republic, which took place in a form of a video conference on 6th April 2021. Representatives of the Kyrgyz NGOs and national legal experts also attended the event. Following a presentation of the Joint Opinion of the Venice Commission and ODIHR on the Draft Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic, the rapporteurs of the Commission and ODIHR experts had an exchange of views with members of the Working Group and Kyrgyz participants on the constitutional reform process and up-coming referendum organized on 11 April 2021. The Joint Opinion was adopted at the 126th Plenary Session of the Venice Commission in March 2021.
UZBEKISTAN - Coordination meeting with state institutions
25 March 2021
The Venice Commission organised a coordination meeting with the representatives from the state institutions of Uzbekistan, namely from the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General, the National Centre for Human Rights, Oliy Majlis, the Anti-Corruption agency and the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Brussels. The meeting served to discuss in detail concrete proposals for co-operation with the Venice Commission in the framework of the Central Asia Rule of Law Programme.
KYRGYZ REPUBLIC - Adoption of Joint Venice Commission – OSCE/ODIHR opinion on the draft Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic
19-21 March 2021
The Venice Commission adopted at its 126th Plenary Session a joint opinion on the draft Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic. The opinion was prepared by the Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR at the request of the Director of OSCE/ODIHR in December 2020. To prepare the opinion, representatives of the Venice Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR held online meetings on 4th March 2021 with the Ombudsman of Kyrgyzstan and representatives of civil society organisations. Although the opinion took note of some positive changes in the Draft Constitution, notably the establishment of the Constitutional Court, many provisions regulating the institutional framework and separation of powers, defining the powers and competencies of the President, the Parliament (the Jogorku Kenesh), the Government and the Judiciary, as well as some provisions dealing with human rights and freedoms were not in line with international standards and OSCE commitments. Moreover, the foreseen timeline and procedures leading to the adoption of the constitutional amendments raised serious concerns due to the absence of meaningful and inclusive public consultations and debate in parliament. The key recommendations of the Joint Opinion were: to ensure that the constitutional reform process allowed for informed, inclusive and meaningful discussions within and outside the Parliament; to review the powers given to the President in order to ensure the separation of powers; to provide stronger oversight capacities to the Jogorku Kenesh, including through committees; to reconsider provisions concerning the Kurultai; to include in the text of the Constitution the main features of the electoral system envisioned for the election of the Jogorku Kenesh ; to reinforce the independence of the judiciary from the legislative and executive branches of power; and to revise the provisions pertaining to human rights and fundamental freedoms, avoiding vague wording and language in the formulation of the rights of individuals and the obligations of the State.
Adoption of Venice Commission opinion on the “Concept Paper on improving of the legal framework of the Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan”
19-21 March 2021
By letter dated 20 January 2021 the Chairman of the Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan, Mr Kairat Mami, requested the Venice Commission’s opinion on the “Concept Paper on improving of the legal framework of the Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan.” The opinion was adopted and at the March 2021 plenary session of the Venice Commission. To prepare the opinion, the Venice Commission previously organised meetings with representatives of the Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan as well as with representatives of the non-governmental sector.
TURKMENISTAN - Coordination meeting with state institutions
16 March 2021
The Venice Commission organised on 16th March 2021 a coordination meeting with the representatives of several state institutions of Turkmenistan. Representatives from the following institutions took part in the meeting namely the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Parliament, the Ministry of Justice, the Prosecutor General, the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Belgium, the Civil Service Agency, and the Supreme Court. The Ministry of Foreign affairs reconfirmed the commitment of Turkmenistan to cooperate with the Venice Commission in the framework of the Programme and as a complement of the work done by the other international partners active on the ground.
KAZAKHSTAN – Referral of the decisions to the Constitutional Council by ordinary courts – international round table
26 February 2021
The Venice Commission organised, in co-operation with the Constitutional Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan, an international online round table on the question of referral of the decisions to the Constitutional Council by ordinary courts. The round table brought together representatives from various national institutions of Kazakhstan (Presidential administration, Parliament, members and staff of the Constitutional Council, scientific institutions, and representatives from non-governmental bodies. Members of the Venice Commission from France, South Korea, Moldova, and Italy took part in the event and shared their experience with their counterparts from Kazakhstan. The round table served as a complementary activity for the preparation of the legal opinion on the “Concept Paper on improving of the legal framework of the Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan”.
KAZAKHSTAN - Use of digital technologies in the process of selection, assessment, and promotion of judges: international online roundtable
25 November 2020
The President of the Venice Commission, Mr. Gianni Buquicchio, addressed an online international roundtable entitled «Modern digital and Human Resources technologies in the selection of candidates for judges, assessment of work and promotion of judges», which took place on 25th November 2020. Experts of the Venice Commission as well as senior civil servants and experts from UNDP, World Bank, OSCE/ODIHR, France, Spain, Italy, Russian Federation, Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan participated in this online regional event organised by the High Judicial Council and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the World Bank and the UNDP.
KYRGYZ REPUBLIC - Urgent joint amicus curiae brief on the postponement of the parliamentary elections motivated by a constitutional reform
18 November 2020
The Commission published on 18th November 2020 an urgent amicus curiae brief on the postponement of the parliamentary elections motivated by a constitutional reform. The urgent brief was prepared upon the request by Mr. Karybek Duisheev, Chairman of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan dated 4 November 2020. In its amicus curiae brief, the Venice Commission has noted that although national practice in the field of postponement of elections by the outgoing parliament is lacking, there are, nevertheless, several benchmarks to be followed in order to ensure the respect of international principles and best democratic practices.
The Commission stated that when the mandate of parliament is prolonged beyond the constitutional duration because the elections are postponed, parliament has only diminished powers and does not have the legitimacy to carry out constitutional reforms. At any rate any constitutional and legislative amendment must respect the procedure and timeframe set out in the Constitution and the law.
IVth Congress of the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions (AACC)
27 August 2020
The President of the Venice Commission Mr. Gianni Buquicchio delivered a speech at the opening of the online IV Congress of the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions (AACC). The 2020 Congress was entitled “The Rule of Law, the Value of the Person and the Effectiveness of the State”. Kazakhstan holds the presidency of the Congress until 2021.
UZBEKISTAN - Samarkand Human Rights Web Forum
12 – 13 August 2020
The President of the Venice Commission Mr. Gianni Buquicchio delivered a speech at the opening of the 2020 Samarkand Human Rights Web Forum. The event was dedicated to the International Youth Day in the framework of the UN75 Initiative of the United Nations and was organised by the National Centre for Human Rights of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
KAZAKHSTAN - “Presidential government. Constitutional practice and political practices” – international video conference
24 April 2020
On 24 April 2020 the President of the Venice Commission, Gianni Buquicchio took part in a video conference on “Presidential government. Constitutional practice and political practices” organised by the Foundation of the 1st President of Kazakhstan, the Constitutional Council, and the Ministry of Justice of Kazakhstan.