Joint Opinion on the Draft Checklist for Compliance with International Standards and Best Practices Preventing Misuse of Administrative Resources during Electoral Processes at Local and Regional Level of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) co-operated with the Council of Europe's Venice Commission in preparing this Joint Opinion, which was adopted by the Venice Commission at its 110th plenary session on 10-11 March 2017.
Joint Opinion on the Draft Constitutional Law on Political Parties of Armenia
In October 2016, the Minister of Justice of Armenia requested the Venice Commission for an opinion on the draft constitutional law on political parties of Armenia. The present Joint Opinion was prepared by the Venice Commission together with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, given the organisations’ previous co-operation in this field. It was adopted by the Council for Democratic Elections and the Venice Commission in December 2016.
Second Joint Opinion on the Electoral Code of Armenia, as amended on 30 June 2016
At its 108th Plenary Session, on 14-15 October 2016, the Venice Commission endorsed the Second Joint Opinion with the OSCE/ODIHR on the Electoral code of Armenia as of 30 June 2016. Following the invitation from the Minister of Justice of Armenia, the Venice Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR made second joint opinion on the final version of the Electoral Code, particularly in light of the extent to which the latest amendments addressed the recommendations presented in their first Joint Opinion, endorsed at 107th Plenary Session on 10-11 June 2016.
Joint Opinion on the Electoral Code of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as amended on 9 November 2015
On 25 May 2016, Chair of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on the amended Electoral Code of November 2015 of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In line with standard practice, the Venice Commission and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) decided to provide a Joint Opinion on the amendments of the Electoral Code. This Joint Opinion is intended to assist the authorities in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in further developing and improving the legal framework for the conduct of democratic elections and meeting international obligations and standards.
OSCE/ODIHR Comments on the Draft Consitution of Turkmenistan
The Draft Constitution contains a number of positive features, notably some new
provisions pertaining to fair trial guarantees, the practical implementation of all
provisions will greatly depend upon the adoption of implementing legislation and the
existence of proper enforcement mechanisms, including judicial review and access to
independent and impartial courts. The OSCE/ODIHR hopes that these Comments will
provide useful insights, which may eventually lead to more comprehensive and
fundamental changes, involving a clearer division of competencies, more efficient state
institutions and a system of effective checks and balances.
OSCE/ODIHR-Venice Commission Preliminary Joint Opinion on the Draft Law on Introduction of Changes and Amendments to the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic
The Draft Amendments propose changes to constitutional provisions on the status of international human rights treaties and their position in the hierarchy of norms, the separation of powers, the dismissal of members of Cabinet, the manner of appointing/dismissing heads of local state administration, the independence of the judiciary and of judges as well as the roles of the Supreme Court, and of the Constitutional Chamber, among others. The OSCE/ODIHR and the Venice Commission note that the proposed amendments to the Constitution may negatively impact the balance of powers by strengthening the powers of the executive, while weakening both the parliament and, to a greater extent, the judiciary. In particular, although the Constitutional Chamber is retained as such, the Draft Amendments would seriously affect its institutional status and role as an effective organ of judicial constitutional review. Moreover, some of the proposed amendments raise concerns with regard to key democratic principles, in particular the rule of law, the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary, and have the potential to encroach on certain human rights and fundamental freedoms.
OSCE/ODIHR Opinion on the Draft Amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Armenia
While the Opinion acknowledges that the Draft Amendments overall improve the transparency of criminal investigations, it also provides concrete recommendations for improvement, in particular to guarantee the impartiality and independence of attesting witnesses during criminal proceedings.