The European Union, UNDP and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe held the concluding conference to discuss the results of projects aimed at supporting the Constitutional ChamberNov 22, 2015
On Thursday, 12 November, the concluding conference organized by the Constitutional Chamber (CC) and its development partners – European Union, UNDP and the Venice Commission of the European Council – was held in Bishkek. At the conference the organizers shared information on the project results with a wide community of stakeholders.
The projects were launched in 2013, soon after the Constitutional Chamber became functional. The projects were developed in response to a request for assistance. The projects were designed to contribute to the consolidation of the democratic system, the rule of law, and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms through supporting the new Constitutional Chamber and constitutional justice. The projects were financed by the European Union and implemented by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and UNDP.
Ambassador Cesare De Montis, Head of the EU Delegation said about the reasons for the EU support: "A pre-requisite to the Rule of Law is an independent and professional judiciary, including – in Kyrgyzstan – a strong Constitutional Chamber. It is therefore that the European Union supports the Constitutional Chamber as an independent judicial institution which is essential to ensure the respect for the Kyrgyz Constitution." Mr. De Montis wished the Constitutional Chamber every success with fulfilling their important mandate.
“Our cooperation with the European Union, the Venice Commission and UNDP has been very fruitful. Timely expert, financial and technical support from development partners allowed us to quickly perform the tasks faced by the Chamber. A series of activities was aimed at developing new tradition of constitutional justice in Kyrgyzstan, ensuring favorable environment for emergence and strengthening the constitutional control, better image and more confidence of the society in the Chamber by improving internal and external communications as well as assistance to capacity building of the institution. The Chamber reached higher level of transparency, efficiency and interaction with the society. The first programmatic budget of the judicial system was drafted and adopted; summer schools of constitutionalism were conducted for regulatory organizations, defense lawyers, NGOs and journalists. The first Strategy of development of the Constitutional Chamber until 2020 was drafted, and became a comprehensive plan aimed at implementation of mission of the institution. The Constitutional Chamber has become part of the international community and managed to quickly absorb international experience in constitutional justice”, said Mr. Mukambet Kasymaliev, Chairman of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic.
On behalf of the Constitutional Chamber Mr. Kasymaliev expressed deep gratitude to all who participated in the project implementation, firstly the project teams from the European Union, UNDP and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe for their support, creation of favorable environment for the establishment of constitutional control, strengthened stability, the rule of law and constitutionalism in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Alexander Avanessov, UN Resident Coordinator, Resident Representative of UNDP in Kyrgyzstan expressed appreciation to the European Union for funding provided to this very important project. “The projects were launched in a difficult time when Kyrgyzstan and the Constitutional Chamber had an urgent need in such projects in order to provide further stabilization, enhancement of rule of law and fundamental human rights and freedoms with an increased demand for the legal reform and constitutional justice” – he stated. In the end of his speech Mr. Avanessov wished great success to the Constitutional Chamber in the field of justice awareness and constitutionalisation improvement for the country’s sustainable development.
Thomas Markert, the Secretary of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe expressed his gratitude to the judges of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic for their cooperation, and noted that it was not the end of interaction and collaboration of the two institutions. He stressed the fact that Kyrgyzstan was a member state of the Venice Commission, and that collaboration with the Constitutional Chamber did not end at that point.
Mr. Markert emphasized that the Kyrgyz Constitutional Chamber was an independent judicial institution. This fact was appreciated and welcomed by the Venice Commission in its conclusions in reference to the constitutional law on Constitutional Chamber in 2011.
“The Constitutional Chamber shall be a strong guarantor of the Constitution, and shall not back away even facing the strongest political pressure. It does not mean what functions the constitutional judge had before his/her appointment, as soon as he/she becomes a judge he/she shall be faithful to the Constitution only and do his/her best to protect its fundamental values. I wish success to the Kyrgyz Constitutional Chamber in this noble activity” – said Thomas Markert, Director, Secretary of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe.
During the conference a mini-seminar was delivered to discuss plans for further CC development involving independent experts, layers, practitioners with participation of Aivars Endziņš, ex-Chairman of the Constitutional Court, Venice Commission member from Latvia and Vladimir Grosu, ex-Minister of Justice in Moldova, Deputy Venice Commission member from Moldova.
Information on the projects:
In the course of the past two years, together with the Constitutional Chamber a substantial work was done in a number of areas, including increasing the level of awareness and knowledge within the legal expert community, government bodies and other target groups about the role and functions of the Constitutional Chamber as well specifics of proceedings, and how citizens can file submissions to the Constitutional Chamber.
Special attention was paid to aspects such as improving the Constitutional Chamber's public communication with society, openness and transparency in its work and performance, information sharing with the public, and learning from international best practices in the area of constitutional justice. As a result of joint efforts, the proposals how to improve the legal framework have been made, two Venice Commission Opinions were adopted, the Chamber's official web-site was created, surveys and studies were conducted, publications and videos were published. During the project implementation 38 training workshops for Judges and staff of the Constitutional Chamber were delivered involving world-level experts in the field of constitutional law, including judges from the European Court of Human Rights and Constitutional Courts of Germany, Austria, Latvia, South Korea, Croatia, Moldova, Turkey, Finland, etc.
While the Constitutional Chamber has been the principle partner, the projects also widely involved legal experts in government and public services, university and college professors, lawyers, independent experts, leaders of non-governmental organisations and journalists. On the whole, the projects achieved their objectives and provided assistance in the area of constitutional justice establishment.Contact information
Altynai Akmatova, Media-expert, the UNDP in Kyrgyzstan, 0550887001, firstname.lastname@example.org