Committee proposes to endorse the Venice Commission’s Rule of Law Checklist

Adopting a report by Philippe Mahoux (Belgium, SOC), PACE’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights has welcomed the Venice Commission’s Rule of Law Checklist - which introduces a new, uniform benchmark for measuring compliance with one of the founding principles of the Council of Europe.

The adopted text lists the criteria it applies, namely: legality, legal certainty, the prohibition of arbitrariness, access to justice, respect for human rights, non-discrimination and equality before the law.

According to the parliamentarians, this list will enable respect for the rule of law to be measured in different countries in a detailed, objective, transparent and fair manner. In his report, Mr Mahoux illustrates its relevance by examining two situations of concern, albeit on different levels, in Poland and Turkey.

The committee proposes to endorse the list and to use it systematically in the Assembly’s work, particularly in the preparation of reports of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights and the Monitoring Committee, in order to accurately identify any structural and systemic problems in the member States.

“It is a practical tool not only for the Council of Europe but also for other national and international stakeholders, be they national or local State institutions, other international organisations or NGOs,” the committee said.

It is pointed out in the report that the Rule of Law Checklist had already been endorsed by the Committee of Ministers in September 2016 and by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe in October 2016.