The European Commission for Democracy through Law, better known as the Venice Commission, will celebrate its 100th Plenary Session at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation (Sala delle Conferenze Internazionali) in Rome on 10 and 11October.
The programme will be opened by the Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Benedetto Della Vedova, by the Vice-Minister of Justice Enrico Costa and by the President of the Venice Commission, Gianni Buquicchio together with Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev (Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe), Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni (Council of Europe Deputy Secretary General), Christopher Chope (on behalf of the President of the Parliamentary Assembly), Herwig van Staa (President of the Congress of Local and Regional authorities) and Dean Spielmann (President of the European Court of Human Rights).
Amongst the other personalities addressing the opening session: Ranko Krivokapic (President Emeritus of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly), Margarita Popova (Vice-President of Bulgaria) and Michael Georg Link (Director of OSCE/ODIHR).
Background. The European Commission for Democracy through Law, better known as the Venice Commissionas it meets in Venice, is the Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional matters.
The role of the Venice Commission is to provide legal advice to its member states and, in particular, to help states wishing to bring their legal and institutional structures into line with European standards and international experience in the fields of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
It also helps to ensure the dissemination and consolidation of a common constitutional heritage, playing a unique role in conflict management, and provides “emergency constitutional aid” to states in transition.
The Commission has 60 member states: the 47 Council of Europe member states, plus 13 other countries (Algeria, Brazil, Chile, Israel, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Mexico, Peru, Tunisia and the USA).
Its individual members are university professors of public and international law, supreme and constitutional court judges, members of national parliaments and a number of civil servants. They are designated for four years by the member states, but act in their individual capacity.
Antonio La Pergola has been the first President of the Venice Commission in 1990. GianniBuquicchio has been President of the Commission since December 2009.
The Commission works in three areas:
• democratic institutions and fundamental rights,
• constitutional justice and ordinary justice,
• elections, referendums and political parties.