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Recent and Current Events

“Holding elections during a pandemic” - Webinar

17/08/2020
The Venice Commission and the State Election Commission of Montenegro are co-organising a webinar dedicated to “Holding elections during a pandemic”, which will take place online on 17 August 2020. There will be exchanges of views on theoretical aspects and practical implications of holding elections during a pandemic, including in the context of the Montenegrin elections.

UKRAINE - Request for opinion

14/08/2020
The Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament requested an opinion on 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.

BELARUS - International electoral standards must be respected - Statement by President Buquicchio

12/08/2020
Council of Europe, Strasbourg - Democratic elections are an expression of the sovereignty belonging to the people of a country. It is the free expression of the will of the people that provides the basis for the authority and legitimacy of government. The rights of citizens to vote and to be elected at periodic, democratic elections are internationally recognised human rights.

Democratic elections cannot be achieved without respect for human rights, in particular freedom of expression and of the press, freedom of circulation inside the country, freedom of assembly and freedom of... read more

REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA – Forthcoming opinion – Online meetings

06/08/2020
In the framework of the preparation of the joint Venice Commission - OSCE/ODIHR opinion on the draft Law no. 263 amending the Electoral Code, the Contravention Code and the Code of Audiovisual Media Services, a number of video meetings took place with various Moldovan stakeholders, including the State Secretary of Justice, the Legal Committee of the Parliament, the Central Election Commission and the Ombudsperson.

The draft opinion is prepared at the request of the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Moldova. It will be produced as part of the Partnership for Good Governance, co... read more

ICELAND - Request for opinion

05/08/2020
The Venice Commission is preparing, at the request of the Prime Minister of Iceland, an opinion on four draft constitutional bills on the protection of the environment, on natural resources, on referendums and on the President of Iceland, the Government, the functions of the executive and other institutional matters.

REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA – Request for opinion

24/07/2020
The Venice Commission is preparing, jointly with OSCE/ODIHR, at the request of the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, an urgent opinion on the draft Law no. 263 amending the Electoral Code, the Contravention Code and the Code of Audiovisual Media Services. This opinion will be produced as part of the Partnership for Good Governance, co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe, through the Quick Response Mechanism.

UKRAINE – Urgent Opinion published - Draft Law on All-Ukraine Referendum

22/07/2020
Strasbourg - The Venice Commission adopted an “urgent joint opinion” with ODIHR on Ukraine’s Draft Law 3612 concerning Democracy Through All-Ukraine Referendum.

The opinion, requested in May by the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, was adopted already on 21 July before the next Venice Commission plenary session, given the need for legal expertise before possible passage in the Ukrainian parliament.

The joint opinion welcomes Ukraine’s efforts to amend its legal and institutional framework relating to national referendums and to bring it into compliance with relevant stand... read more

“Using new technologies in the electoral process” - Online conference

21/07/2020
The Venice Commission in cooperation with the Permanent Electoral Authority of Romania held an online conference entitled ““Using new technologies in the electoral process”. The Council of Europe’s reflections and work on e-voting as well as relevant national experiences were discussed.

Request for an opinion - the European Parliament - the legal framework and practices of EU member states during the Covid-19 crisis

15/07/2020
On 11 June 2020, the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament decided to support the request from the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) for a report from the Venice Commission on the measures taken in the EU member states since the Covid-19 crisis and their impact on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights.

Venice Commission launches its Observatory on the emergency situations

10/07/2020
Strasbourg, Council of Europe – Today the Venice Commission has published its Observatory on the emergency situations in Venice Commission member States.

The aim of this Observatory on the situations of emergency, created by the Scientific Council, is to collect country-specific information on constitutional and extra-constitutional emergency powers, on relevant mechanisms of parliamentary and judicial oversight and on electoral experiences. The Observatory will thus provide systematised comparative information which may be used by lawyers, scholars, State officials, international... read more

POLAND – 2nd round of the presidential election – legal assistance to the PACE election observation delegation

11/07/2020 - 13/07/2020
Warsaw - A delegation of the Venice Commission will accompany the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) election observation delegation to advise on the legal framework of the second round of the presidential election held on 12 July 2020 in Poland.

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

ARMENIA – Council of Europe Action plan 2019-2022 - Steering Committee

07/07/2020
Yerevan – Strasbourg – A representative of the Venice Commission will participate in a videoconference between representatives of the national authorities of Armenia and their Council of Europe interlocutors. He will introduce the opinions on the judicial code and on the constitutional implications of the Istanbul Convention (on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence). The purpose of the event is to review the progress of the implementation of the Council of Europe Action Plan 2019-2022 for Armenia and programming future co-operation between the Council of Europ... read more

Modalities of elections during a pandemic - Hearing in the Georgian Parliament

03/07/2020
The Estonian member of the Commission Mr Oliver Kask and the Irish member Mr Richard Barrett participated in the exchange of views between the PACE President Mr Rick Daems and the Georgian Parliament. The purpose of the event is to look at the concrete modalities of elections in the context of health emergencies such as the COVID19 pandemic.

The event was organised by the PACE and the Legal Committee of the Parliament of Georgia.

Council of Europe Monitoring and Advisory Bodies - Videoconference of the Chairs

29/06/2020
The President of the Venice Commission participated in the video meeting of the Chairs of the Council of Europe Monitoring and Advisory Bodies.

The meeting was followed by a thematic discussion focusing on the
(1) contribution of the monitoring bodies to the implementation of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) in view of its 70th Anniversary, including an exchange of experiences, and
(2) lessons to be learnt from the COVID-19 crisis for the work of monitoring bodies.

PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights – exchange of views

29/06/2020
The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the PACE held an exchange of views with Mr Nicos Alivizatos, member of the Venice Commission in respect of Greece, on the Commission’s Opinion on draft amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation related to the execution in the Russian Federation of decisions by the European Court of Human Rights (CDL-AD(2020)009).

POLAND - Presidential election – legal assistance to the PACE election observation delegation

26/06/2020 - 29/06/2020
Warsaw - 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 presidential election held on 28 June 2020 in Poland.

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

TUNISIA - Meeting with representatives of the independent public bodies

25/06/2020
Tunis - In the framework of the Support Project for Independent Bodies in Tunisia (PAII-T), a joint European Union - Council of Europe project (2019-2021), representatives of the Venice Commission participated in a meeting with representatives of the Ligue of the Tunisian independent public bodies (LIPI). Discussions focused on the overall mission of the Coordinator of the LIPI as well as on cooperation between the Commission and the independent bodies in 2020.

UKRAINE - 24th anniversary of the Constitution – international online conference

25/06/2020
The Constitutional Court of Ukraine in cooperation with the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and with the support of OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine, organised an international online conference on the occasion of the 24th anniversary of the Constitution of Ukraine and the 30th anniversary of Venice Commission of the Council of Europe.

The conference title is „Mutual Achievements of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) and Bodies of Constitutional Justice; the problems of interpretation in constitutional adjudication“. The Commissio... read more

A Call to Defend Democracy – President Buquicchio signs the open letter

25/06/2020
More than 500 political, civil leaders, Nobel Laureates and pro-democracy institutions, including the President of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, have signed an open letter to defend democracy.

This open letter was initiated by the Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and the Washington-DC-based National Endowment for Democracy.

UKRAINE – forthcoming opinion – video meetings

24/06/2020
In May 2020, the Chairman of The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Mr Dmytro Razumkov requested an opinion of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe on the draft Law on democracy through all-Ukrainian referendum.

In the framework of preparation of the draft opinion, experts from the Venice Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR participate in consultations with the Ukrainian stakeholders from 19 to 25 June 2020. On June 24, 2020 experts will meet with deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, chairmen of profile Committees of the Verkhovna Rada and members of the working group on drafting ... read more

Organisation of American States (OAS) – cooperation agreement

23/06/2020
The Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS) Mr Luis Almagro and the President of the Venice Commission Mr Gianni Buquicchio signed a cooperation agreement in Washington DC, on 6 June 2020, and in Strasbourg on 9 June 2020, respectively.

UKRAINE - Zero Corruption Talk – online discussion

23/06/2020
Mr Thomas Markert, Director, Secretary of the Venice Commission, was invited to participate in the online discussion devoted to the judicial reform in Ukraine: “Zero Corruption Talk: The High Time for the Real Judiciary Reform in Ukraine”.

The event was organised by the Ukrainian NGO Anti-corruption Action Centre.

Along with Vice-President Jourova of the European Union, representatives of the IMF as well as of the national authorities, Mr Markert acted as a panellist in the discussions on possible ways of accelerating the reforms in the country.

MONTENEGRO – forthcoming opinion – online meetings

23/06/2020 - 24/06/2020
In the framework of the preparation of the joint Venice Commission - OSCE/ODIHR opinion on the draft Law on elections of members of the Parliament and councillors of Montenegro, a number of video meetings were held with the authors of the draft law and other representatives of national authorities and stakeholders.

The draft opinion is prepared at the request of the Parliament of Montenegro.

MALTA – Request for opinion

23/06/2020
The Minister for Justice, Equality and Governance requested a Venice Commission opinion on Bills implementing concepts for reforms.

PACE Monitoring Committee – elections and COVID-19

22/06/2020
The Venice Commission participated in a remote Hearing on “Membership obligations and the conduct of democratic elections in the context of the pandemic of COVID-19”. This meeting was organised by the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

123rd Plenary session of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe

18/06/2020 - 19/06/2020
The Venice Commission adopted a number of opinions through a written procedure on 18-19 June, in replacement of the actual meeting of 123rd plenary session in Venice that did not take place due to the continued COVID-19 concerns.

The following opinions were adopted by a written procedure:
18 June:
• Albania – Opinion on the Law no 97/2013 on Audio-visual Media Service;
• Latvia – Opinion on the recent amendments to the legislation on education in minority languages;
• Russian Federation – Opinion on the draft Amendments to the Constitution Federation relatin... read more

Watch our anniversary video:
 

Covid-19 pandemic -
 
Emergency powers -
 What standards?

 


During the current Covid-19 pandemic, national governments are taking exceptional measures to slow down the spread of the virus. On numerous occasions, the Venice Commission examined the limits of such emergency powers. The Commission has consistently underlined that State security and public safety can only be effectively guaranteed in a democracy which fully respects the rule of law. Even in genuine cases of emergency situations, the rule of law must prevail.

 

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