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Recent and Current Events

Russian Federation – Xth International Congress of Comparative Law

04/12/2020 - 05/12/2020
Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law under the Government
of the Russian Federation and the Venice Commission organised the X International Congress of Comparative Law entitled ”Constitutional evolution in Russia and in the modern world: dialectics of the universal and national”. Two members of the Commission present the reports on the place of national identity in a democratic state and on the creation of a democratic state based on the rule of law.

UKRAINE – forthcoming Urgent Opinion on the reform of the Constitutional Court – online meetings

03/12/2020
In the framework of the preparation of the Venice Commission’s urgent Opinion on the reform of the Constitutional Court, the rapporteurs held a series of online meetings with the authorities and other stakeholders on 3 December 2020.

The rapporteurs exchanged views with the representatives of:
• the Office of the President of Ukraine and the President’s Commission on Legal Reform,
• Judges of the Constitutional Court,
• the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Policy,
• civil society and the international community.

The Urgent Opinion is being prep... read more

UKRAINE – forthcoming Urgent Opinion – online meetings

02/12/2020
In the framework of the preparation of the Venice Commission’s urgent Joint Opinion on the legislative situation regarding anti-corruption mechanisms following judgment of 27 October 2020 No. 13-r/2020 of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, the rapporteurs held a series of online meetings with the authorities and other stakeholders on 2 December 2020.

The rapporteurs exchanged views with the representatives of the Office of the President of Ukraine, the President’s Commission on Legal Reform, the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Policy, the National Agency for Corruption Preventi... read more

Ukraine – Two urgent opinions on anti-corruption mechanisms and on the reform of the Constitutional Court respectively in preparation

30/11/2020
Following the request by the President of Ukraine on 25 November 2020 for an urgent opinion on the constitutional situation created by the Constitutional Court judgment No. 13-r/2020 of 27 October 2020, the Venice Commission will prepare two opinions, one relating to the anti-corruption mechanisms and the second relating to the reform of the Constitutional Court.

Following virtual meetings with the authorities and the stakeholders, both opinions will be issued the week of 7 December and will be subsequently presented at the 125th Plenary Session (11-12 December 2020) for endorseme... read more

Charter of European Political Parties for a non-racist society

27/11/2020
The Venice Commission participated in the Joint hearing with the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy and the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance on the Charter of European Political Parties for a non-racist society. A representative of the Venice Commission introduced the work of the Venice Commission and the possible future involvement of the Venice Commission in the field and actively participated in the discussions.

KAZAKHSTAN - Use of digital technologies in the process of selection, assessment and promotion of judges: international roundtable

25/11/2020
Nursultan - 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... read more

International day for the elimination of violence against women - Statement by the President and the Secretary a.i. of the Venice Commission

25/11/2020
The scourge of violence against women and domestic violence must be stopped!

Constitutions and legislation must provide adequate protection and the Council of Europe's Istanbul Convention gives additional tools, ideas and an international monitoring mechanism.

Gender equality is not an option, it is an obligation! So is safety, inside and outside the home.

The Venice Commission is ready to assist.

UKRAINE - request for urgent opinion

25/11/2020
The President of Ukraine, Mr Zelensky, requested an urgent opinion on the constitutional situation created by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Judgment No. 13-r/2020 of 27 October 2020.

"Covid-19 and the Ombudsperson - Rising to the Challenge of a Pandemic" - Webinar

24/11/2020
The President of the Venice Commission, Mr Gianni Buquicchio, participated in a webinar on "Covid-19 and the Ombudsperson - Rising to the Challenge of a Pandemic". The event was co-organised by the State Comptroller and Ombudsman of Israel and the International Ombudsman Institute.

REQUEST FOR OPINION - Republic of Moldova

24/11/2020
The People’s Advocate of the Republic of Moldova, Mr Cotorobai, requested an opinion of the Commission on a draft Law amending Law no 52/2014 on the People’s Advocate (Ombudsman) which provides for the establishment of a new public position - the People's Advocate (Ombudsman) for entrepreneurs rights.

BULGARIA – Urgent Interim Opinion upon request of the National Assembly issued

23/11/2020
Council of Europe, Strasbourg– The Venice Commission published on 20 November 2020 its Urgent interim opinion on the draft new Constitution of Bulgaria prepared upon the request of the President of the National Assembly of Bulgaria. The opinion focuses on the reform of the judiciary and the prosecution service where the most important amendments were made. Below are some main recommendations of the Commission.

The Venice Commission regrets that the launch of the constitutional reform was not preceded by an appropriate public debate; however, it is commendable that the Venice Commis... read more

ALBANIA – forthcoming opinion – online meetings

23/11/2020 - 01/12/2020
On 23-24, 27 November and 1 December 2020 the Venice Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR held online meetings with Albanian authorities in the framework of the preparation of the draft opinion on the Electoral Law (amendments to the Constitution of 30 July 2020 and to the Electoral Code of 5 October 2020) upon the request by the President of Albania submitted on 21 October 2020.

The rapporteurs held online meetings with the President of the Republic of Albania, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice, the parliamentary majority and opposition, representatives of the major extra-parl... read more

Request for opinion – PACE/Georgia

19/11/2020
On 13 November 2020, the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee) decided to request the opinion of the Venice Commission on the recent amendments to the Law on Electronic Communications and the Law on Broadcasting in Georgia.

The draft opinion will be on the agenda of the March 2021 plenary session.

REPUBLIC OF KYRGYZSTAN - Urgent joint amicus curiae brief published

18/11/2020
The Commission made public today an Urgent joint amicus curiae brief on the postponement of the parliamentary elections motivated by a constitutional reform. The Urgent brief was prepared upon the request by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan of 4 November 2020, where the Constitutional Chamber put four questions to the Venice Commission.

In its amicus curiae brief, the Venice Commission notes that although national practice in the field of postponement of elections by the outgoing parliament is lacking, there are, nevertheless, several benchmarks which ... read more

Managing elections, including during pandemics: 17th EMBs conference conclusions

17/11/2020
The Venice Commission has published conclusions to its 17th international conference of Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) held online last week on electoral law and electoral administration in Europe.

Conference participants focused on two main issues:
• Recurrent challenges met and best practices used during electoral campaigns, voting operations, counting, tabulation and transmission of election results;
• Holding elections during emergency situations: challenges met, and solutions found by electoral management bodies during the COVID19 pandemic.

KOSOVO - forthcoming opinion – online meetings

16/11/2020 - 17/11/2020
On 16 and 17 November 2020 the Venice Commission held online meetings with Kosovo authorities in the framework of the preparation of the draft opinion on the draft law on government upon the request by the Prime Minister submitted on 26 October 2020.

The draft opinion is planned for the adoption by the December 2020 plenary session.

REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA - Urgent joint amicus curiae brief published

16/11/2020
The Commission made public today an Urgent joint amicus curiae brief on three legal questions concerning the mandate of members of constitutional bodies. The Urgent brief was prepared upon the request by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova of 09 October 2020.

ALBANIA – follow-up to the adopted opinion – exchange of views with the PACE Monitoring Committee

13/11/2020
Ms H. Kjerulf Thorgeirsdottir, member of the Bureau of the Venice Commission, participated in an online exchange of views with the PACE Monitoring Committee on the draft amendments to the Albanian law on the Audiovisual media. The Commission adopted an Opinion on this Law in June 2020 upon request by the Monitoring Committee.

TURKEY – exchange of views with the PACE Monitoring Committee

13/11/2020
The Venice Commission participated in the exchange of views with the Monitoring Committee of the PACE on the follow-up to Resolution 2347(2020) on “New crackdown on political opposition and civil dissent in Turkey: urgent need to safeguard Council of Europe standards” regarding the situation of dismissed and replaced mayors.

Mr Bußjäger, member of the Commission in respect of Liechtenstein, presented the Commission’s 2020 Opinion on the replacement of elected candidates and mayors in Turkey.

TUNISIA - Monitoring of the written press and social media during electoral campaigns - an online workshop

13/11/2020
Tunis - The Venice Commission in collaboration with the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) organised on November 13, 2020 an online workshop on the role of the ISIE in monitoring the written press and social media during election campaigns.

This workshop made it possible to initiate a reflection on the experience of media monitoring (written press and social media) by the ISIE during the last electoral campaigns of 2019, with the positive aspects and the difficulties encountered. The modalities of strengthening transparency on social networks were also examined through... read more

GEORGIA - exchange of views with the PACE Monitoring Committee

13/11/2020
Mr Nicolae Esanu, substitute member of the Venice Commission with respect to the Republic of Moldova, participated in an online exchange of views with the PACE Monitoring Committee on Georgia’s Law on Common Courts and on the selection and appointment of Supreme Court judges. The Commission adopted an Urgent opinion in June 2019 and an opinion on the draft Law in October 2020, upon the request by the Parliament of Georgia.

“Electoral law and electoral administration in Europe - Recurrent challenges and best practices” - 17th European Conference of Electoral Management Bodies

12/11/2020 - 13/11/2020
The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe held the 17th European Conference of Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) online, operating from the headquarters of the Council of Europe. This year the conference was devoted to the “Electoral law and electoral administration in Europe - Recurrent challenges and best practices”.

Representatives of electoral management bodies of Venice Commission member States, i.e. Europe and the Americas among other parts of the world, participated in the event. It was exceptionally open to public.

The following questions were addressed b... read more

BOLIVIA - IVth National Conference by the Plurinational Constitutional Court

12/11/2020
Sucre - On 11 and 12 November 2020 two representatives of the Venice Commission participated in the “IVth National Seminars: Evidential reasoning, fundamental rights and constitutional interpretation” (9th to 12th November 2020) organised by the Plurinational Constitutional Court of Bolivia.

The purpose of the seminars was to discuss the issues of evidential reasoning, fundamental rights and constitutional interpretation - important concepts for the application of the Constitutional Procedural Law.

The Seminars were focused on the following topics:

• Exchang... read more

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT - online Interparliamentary Committee Meeting

10/11/2020
The President of the Venice Commission Mr Gianni Buquicchio participated in an online meeting between the Interparliamentary Committee and national parliaments on the “First Annual Rule of Law Report by the Commission and the role of national Parliaments conference”, organised by the European Parliament.

The President presented the Venice Commission’s Interim Report on the measures taken in the European Union member States as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and their impact on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights.

Council of Europe Conference of Ministers of Justice

09/11/2020
The President of the Venice Commission participated in the online Conference of Ministers of Justice of the member States of the Council of Europe on the following topic: “Independence of Justice and the Rule of Law”. The Conference was organised by the Greek Chairmanship of the Council of Europe.

KYRGYZSTAN – request for Urgent amicus curiae opinion

09/11/2020
By letter of 4 November 2020, Mr Karybek Duisheev, the Chairman of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic, requested an urgent amicus curiae opinion of the Venice Commission concerning an application, pending before the Constitutional Chamber, on the postponement of the parliamentary elections motivated by a constitutional reform.

PACE - Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee

09/11/2020
The substitute member of the Venice Commission in respect of the Netherlands, Mr Martin Kuijer, participated in the meeting of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) held by videoconference on 9 November 2020.

Mr Kuijer presented the work of the Venice Commission concerning the freedom of association, with a specific focus on restrictions imposed in member States on foreign funding of associations.

BULGARIA - forthcoming Urgent Opinion – online meetings

05/11/2020 - 06/11/2020
The Venice Commission held online meetings with Bulgarian authorities in the framework of the preparation of the draft opinion on the draft constitutional amendments upon the request by the President of the National Assembly submitted on 18 September 2020.

Meetings - online - with the President of the National Assembly, representatives of parliamentary fractions of the National Assembly, the Minister of Justice and the Prosecutor General, judges of the Supreme Administrative Court and Supreme Court of Cassation, members of the Supreme Judicial Council and representatives of Bulgar... read more

“Time to debate” – President Buquicchio on a radio programme on the rule of law

05/11/2020
The Venice Commission President Mr Gianni Buquicchio participated in "Temps du débat" – a France Culture programme on the “Rule of Law: are Hungary and Poland threatening European solidarity?"

UKRAINE - Letter from the Venice Commission and GRECO relating to the Constitutional Court and the fight against corruption

31/10/2020
The Presidents of the Venice Commission, Mr Gianni Buquicchio, and of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), Mr Marin Mrčela, sent today a letter to the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

“Covid-19: states of emergency and democratic values. New contribution to the debate” - online international conference for Latin America

30/10/2020
The National Electoral Institute of Mexico and the Venice Commission organised an online conference entitled “covid-19. States of emergency and democratic values. New contribution to the debate - reports of the Venice Commission.“

The heads of the organising institutions, Mr L. Cordoba and Mr G. Buquicchio, opened the event. Representatives from several Latin American countries took part in the event.

This event was organised in the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the National Electoral Insti... read more

UKRAINE – adopted opinion – video conference with authorities

30/10/2020
The Venice Commission and the Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law (DGI) of the Council of Europe held online consultations with the Ukrainian authorities discussing the prospective implementation of the Joint Opinion on the draft amendments to the law “On the judiciary and the status of judges” and certain laws on the activities of the Supreme Court and judicial authorities (draft law no. 3711).

This event was organised with support of the Council of Europe projects "Support to the Implementation of the Judicial Reform in Ukraine" and “Supporting constitutional an... read more

GEORGIA – parliamentary election – legal assistance to the PACE election observation mission

29/10/2020 - 01/11/2020
Tbilisi - A delegation of the Venice Commission accompanied the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) election observation delegation to advise on the legal framework of the parliamentary election held on 31 October 2020 in Georgia.

The delegation held meetings with other international observers, representatives of the political parties, media and civil society.

The delegation observed the opening, voting and counting processes of the elections.

KOSOVO – request for an opinion

26/10/2020
The Prime Minister of Kosovo requested an opinion of the Venice Commission on the draft "Law on the Government of the Republic of Kosovo".

“Thirty-year quest for democracy through law” - jubilee volume

19/10/2020
At its 124th Plenary Session in October 2020 and following the adoption of its 1000th opinion, the Venice Commission presented its jubilee volume “Thirty-year quest for democracy through law”. Some sixty authors – members and former members of the Commission, as well as experts – present in depth various aspects of the work of the Commission, covering the Commission’s wide field of expertise.

The table of contents of the book and information on orders can be consulted via the link below.

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AND ITS IMPACT ON DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE – Council of Europe Working group on democracy and technology (GT-DT)

22/10/2020
The Venice Commission participated in a meeting of the Working group on democracy and technology (GT-DT) of the European Committee on Democracy and Governance (CDDG).

The working group’s mandate is to do the preparatory work for the CDDG study on digital transformation and its impact on democracy and governance. The group also prepares the recommendations and guidelines on new technologies and the different stages of the electoral process.

A representative of the Venice Commission presented its work in this area, in particular the “Draft principles for a fundamental rig... read more

ALBANIA - request for opinion

21/10/2020
The President of Albania requested an opinion of the Venice Commission on the amendments to the Constitution of 30 July 2020 and to the Electoral Code of 5 October 2020.

GEORGIA - Holding elections during a pandemic – Webinar

20/10/2020
The Venice Commission organised in cooperation with the Central Election Commission of Georgia a webinar on “Holding elections during a pandemic”.

A member and experts of the Venice Commission intervened on the following topics:

- “Elections under states of emergency – Reflections issued from the Report on respect for Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law during states of emergency”.
- national examples of elections held recently under the health crisis.

Strengthening the visibility of independent Tunisian bodies - online workshop on strategic communication and media relations

20/10/2020
Tunis - The Venice Commission organised on 20 October 2020 an online workshop dedicated to the strategic communication of the independent bodies of Tunisia and their relations with the media. This workshop is a continuation of a first event held in Tunis in October 2019 which focused on the various challenges encountered by the authorities in their strategic communication.

The meeting aimed to deepen this theme by addressing the modalities of implementing an effective communication strategy, in line with the mandates and budgets of the bodies. The link between the communication st... read more

REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA - Holding elections during a pandemic – Webinar

15/10/2020
The Venice Commission organised in cooperation with the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Moldova a webinar on “Holding elections during a pandemic”.

A member and experts of the Venice Commission intervened on the following topics:

- “Elections under states of emergency – Reflections issued from the Report on respect for Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law during states of emergency”.
- national examples of elections held recently under the health crisis.

TOWARDS A USER-ORIENTED ADMINISTRATION - 11th UniDem Med - webinar

13/10/2020 - 15/10/2020
The Venice Commission has organised the 11th UniDem Med Regional Seminar entitled "TOWARDS A USER-ORIENTED ADMINISTRATION " in co-operation with the Ministry of the Economy, Finances and Public Administration Reform of the Kingdom of Morocco. This seminar is taking place as a videoconference from 13 to 15 October 2020.

It is bringing together around 60 senior international experts and public officials from six Southern Mediterranean partner countries (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon -Morocco, Palestine* and Tunisia) with the aim to exchange best practices as regards the principles... read more

The Venice Commission is concerned by the risk of paralysis of the Ombudsman institution of Poland

12/10/2020
Strasbourg, Council of Europe – Today the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe issued the following statement:

“The term of office of the current Polish Human Rights Commissioner expired on 9 September 2020. While the successor has not yet been elected, on 17 September 2020 some MPs requested the Constitutional Court to declare unconstitutional the provision of the Human Rights Commissioner Law stating that the outgoing Commissioner performs his duties until the incumbent assumes the position.

The Ombudsman is an important element in a State based on democracy, t... read more

REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA – request for opinion

09/10/2020
By letter of 9 October 2020, Ms Domnica MANOLE, the President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova, requested an urgent amicus curiae opinion of the Venice Commission on three legal questions concerning the mandate of members of constitutional bodies.

124th Plenary session of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and 30th anniversary ceremony

08/10/2020 - 09/10/2020
Due to the worsening sanitary conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony devoted to the 30th anniversary of the Venice Commission has been postponed to a later date. The 124th Plenary Session therefore took place exclusively on-line.

The Commission adopted the draft opinions on current constitutional reforms in Iceland and Malta, on functioning of the judiciary in Georgia and Ukraine, on bar associations in Turkey, on freedom of assembly in Kosovo and freedom of religion in Uzbekistan.

In addition, the Commission adopted the draft Reports on criminal liabi... read more

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