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The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe supported, at today’s plenary session in Venice, the proposal of the Government to amend the Law on the Judicial Council and judges, according to which the members of the Judicial Council from among the distinguished lawyers continue to exercise their duty until the election of a new composition of the Council…
“The Venice Commission, as the highest European authority in the field of constitutional law, supported the legal solution proposed by the Government of Montenegro in order to prevent the blockade of the Judicial Council as a key guarantor of the independence of the judiciary,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Zoran Pažin said following the session of the Venice Commission.
“I am pleased that the Venice Commission in its opinion reminds that the high degree of rights and competences that belong to the opposition within our constitutional and parliamentary system also imply a clear responsibility not to abuse these rights,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“Although today’s opinion of the Venice Commission is a clear confirmation of the constitutional and democratic foundation of the legal solution proposed by the Government, I express the expectation that the return of the opposition to the Assembly will create the conditions for the new members of the Judicial Council from among the distinguished lawyers to be elected shortly, with stipulated qualified majority from both the authorities and the opposition. If we all approach to this important issue with the degree of social and political responsibility it deserves, I am convinced that MPs can quickly reach agreement on professional and moral references of candidates for members of the Judicial Council from among the distinguished lawyers,” DPM Pažin said.
The Venice Commission said in its opinion that it shares the concerns of the authorities in Montenegro that, due to delays in the election of members of the Judicial Council from among the distinguished lawyers, the new composition of the Judicial Council cannot begin its work within the stipulated deadline, while the four-year mandate of the previous composition expires.
“The extension of the mandate of the members of the previous composition of the Judicial Council is a solution adopted by certain European countries, and the Venice Commission recommends it,” the Venice Commission said.
The Venice Commission also emphasises that the independence of the judiciary is an indispensable element of the rule of law, and that the functioning of the Judicial Council, in the legal systems in which it exists, is a key guarantor of the independence of the judiciary.
In addition to the general agreement with the legal solution proposed by the Government, the Venice Commission considers it advisable to further specify that, in the event of a delay in the election of members of the Judicial Council in the Assembly, only those members of the Council elected by the Assembly will continue to exercise their duties until the election of new ones, while regular election procedure will be performed for other members. The proposed suggestion of the Venice Commission will be accepted by the Government and included by an amendment to the Draft Law that is in the parliamentary procedure.
Source: Government of Montenegro