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Ministers participate in 91st plenary session of the Venice Commission

Wednesday, June 13th 2012

Chief Justice of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF), Ayres Britto, participates as an especial guest, from this Friday (June 15th) on, in the 91st plenary session of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) – the Council of Europe's advisory body on constitutional matters. The President of STF will deliver a speech on Saturday (June 16th). Minister Gilmar Mendes, a permanent member of the Commission also participates in the session held in the Italian city.

Preparatory Meeting

Chief Advisor for International Affairs, Luis Cláudio Coni, participated, as a liaison officer, in the 11th meeting of the Joint Council on Constitutional Justice of the Venice Commission, held in the city of Brno (Czech Republic) between May 31st and June 1st. This Council is composed by liaison officers only and has the responsibility of holding the meetings anteceding the plenary sessions of the Venice Commission and to inform the matters there discussed.


The Agenda of the Plenary Session starting next Friday includes the Opinion issued by the Russian Federation on the recent and controversial legislation on extremist activities and security activity, which has arisen some protests in the country. The advisory opinion issued by the Venice Commission is non-binding on member-countries, but calls great international attention and may create internal difficulties, depending on its content, explained Luis Claudio Coni.

The meeting also discussed the opinion issued by Bosnia and Herzegovina (on electoral law, right to information, right of minorities and activities of prosecutors). Liaison officers gathered in Brno also participated in a seminar on “Rule of Law”, and had the opportunity to learn about case presentations and the case law from Czech Republic, Austria, Chile, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Spain.

Venice Commission

According to Luis Claudio Coni, the Venice Commission was created after the end of communism, by the Council of Europe, to assist the new democracies of Eastern Europe and has actively engaged to this purpose. “These countries needed to have their Judiciaries structured, also needed more contemporary and accurate information on how democracy works, how to organize elections, the democratic rule of law and the holding of a constitutional reform, for an example”, explained.

Then the Venice Commission has expanded, pointed Mr. Coni. “Nowadays in Latin America, the Venice Commission counts on Mexico, Brazil, and Chile as member countries and Argentina is expected to become a member country soon”, he said. In addition, the commission has been cooperating with other major conferences of the Judiciaries of the world.

Among many other activities, constitutional justice is one of the main areas of the Venice Commission. Therefore, it also organizes the World Conference on Constitutional Justice, which in 2010 was held in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Next conference will be held in Seoul (South Korea), 2013

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