Category Archives: France

10 – 12 April 2019, Council of Europe, Strasbourg: Spring Session of the INGO Conference

On the occasion of this session, the INGOs were encouraged to show their commitment to the Council of Europe, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2019. The Council of Europe is currently experiencing a financial and political crisis that is forcing it to adopt restrictive financial measures.

The INGOs thus voted on a resolution to support the Secretary General’s position that States must ensure a sustainable financial base for the Council of Europe and the need for enhanced interaction with civil society:
https://rm.coe.int/conf-ple-2019-res1-fr-l-avenir-du-conseil-de-l-europe-la-societecivil/168093f44f

Continue reading 10 – 12 April 2019, Council of Europe, Strasbourg: Spring Session of the INGO Conference

26 April 2019, Council of Europe, Strasbourg: end of talks on updating Recommendation R(86)12

On 16 September 1986, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted Recommendation R(86)12 on certain measures aimed at preventing and reducing excessive workload in the courts. This instrument mentioned the German and Austrian Rechtspfleger as a good practice and provided a list of non-judicial tasks from which judges could be released. Thanks to this instrument, the situation has improved. Nevertheless, the judicial systems have evolved, working methods have changed, the economical and political situation has worsened.

In this context, the EUR believes in the need for a new instrument proposing new measures that could prevent and reduce the still excessive workload in court.

Continue reading 26 April 2019, Council of Europe, Strasbourg: end of talks on updating Recommendation R(86)12

3 – 4 April 2019, Council of Europe, Strasbourg: Meeting of the SATURN Group of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)

The Steering Group of the SATURN Center for Judicial Time Management met in Strasbourg on 3 and 4 April 2019.

Several issues were discussed at this meeting with a view to preparing documents for submission to the plenary assembly:

  • the implementation guide for European judicial deadlines,
  • the weighting of cases in European courts,
  • developing guidelines for a dashboard template for court management,
  • the management of judicial time rules for criminal cases in Articles 5 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights,
  • the role of parties and practitioners to prevent delays in court proceedings.
Continue reading 3 – 4 April 2019, Council of Europe, Strasbourg: Meeting of the SATURN Group of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)

14 – 15 March 2019, Strasbourg: CEPEJ Working Group on Quality

During the meeting, the Group examined tools dedicated to the effective implementation of the principles of the European Ethical Charter for the Use of Artificial Intelligence in National Justice Systems and their Environments (https://rm.coe.int/charte-etique-fr-pour-publication-4-decembre-2018/16808f699b).

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27 February, Strasbourg – Council of Europe: World Non-Governmental Organizations Day

A conference – debate was held at the Council of Europe on the occasion of the World Day of Non – Governmental (International) Organizations.
Anna RURKA, President of the Conference of INGOs, opened this conference, which focused on “the contribution of (I)NGOs to the work and mandate of the Council of Europe”.
Both representatives of the Committee of Ministers and the Secretariat of the Council of Europe stressed the crucial role of the INGOs, representing civil society, who provide indispensable assistance to the work and missions of the Council of Europe.
Several INGO speakers at the Council of Europe illustrated this work, which was sometimes done at the cost of great difficulties or even reprisals in their country.
The comments and suggestions made during this debate will be forwarded to the Committee of Ministers for a conference to take place in Warsaw on 27 March 2019. The latter had already made a recommendation on the need to strengthen the protection and promotion of the space devoted to civil society in Europe (CM / Rec (2018) 11).

You will find under the following link a short speech by Mrs RURKA on this day: short statement.

Jean-Jacques Kuster represented the EUR.

31 January – 1 February 2019, Paris, France: Meeting of the CEPEJ Working Group on Evaluation

The CEPEJ Working Group on Evaluation met in Paris under the presidency of Mr Jasa Vrabek (Slovenia) to prepare the next cycle of evaluation of the European judicial systems. The questionnaire and explanatory note were reviewed in the light of the recent exercise. This work is being led in conjunction with preparations for a CEPEJ glossary by an ad hoc group. EUR President Vivien Whyte made several proposals both on the Report and the definitions.

The Working Group also discussed several cooperation projects with the European Commission.
President Whyte noted that data on Rechtspfleger and other non-judge staff are available and should be included in the analysis of legal systems.

The Secretariat reported on the Peer Review Mission in Andorra led by CEPEJ on 10 and 11 December 2018. The objective of the peer evaluation is « to reinforce the credibility of the data collected in the framework of the evaluation exercise aimed at European judicial systems. It also gives the opportunity to States in which the visits are conducted, to facilitate exchanges of experiences between the national judicial statistics systems, to share good practices and to identify common indicators ». Countries that would wish to participate in such an evaluation are invited to contact the Secretariat.

The Working Group will meet again in September.

3 – 4 December 2018, Counci l of Europe, Strasbourg: 31st CEPEJ Plenary Meeting

The meeting was chaired by Georg STAWA (Austria), President of the CEPEJ, who was completing his four-year term. The CEPEJ thanked him for his decisive action in developing the commission and giving it a leading role in the debate on the functioning of judicial systems in Europe and beyond.

The year 2018 was particularly dense for the CEPEJ in the light of the texts adopted and the publication in October 2018 of the report on “European Judicial Systems – 2018 Edition” which has had wide echoes both among public authorities and professionals of justice than media.

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15 – 16 November 2018, Council of Europe, Strasbourg: CEPEJ Working Group on Mediation

The 4th meeting of the CEPEJ-GT-MED since its reactivation in early 2017 took place in Strasbourg on 15-16 November 2018.

After evaluating the use of its 2007 Guidelines on Mediation in the Member States, GT-MED decided in 2017 to develop a set of tools to complement the Guidelines, compiled in the form of a toolkit to develop mediation. This first version of the toolkit was adopted by the CEPEJ plenary in June 2018 (http://rm.coe.int/box-tools-for-the-development-of-mediation-make-up-thee/6808c3f53).

Continue reading 15 – 16 November 2018, Council of Europe, Strasbourg: CEPEJ Working Group on Mediation

19 September 2018, Strasbourg: International Day of Democracy

On the occasion of the International Day of Democracy, the Council of Europe’s Directorate General for Democracy and the President of the INGO Conference organised a conference and a debate on Democracy & “the People”. This event aimed at expressing the value of our democratic institutions based on the individual human rights, civil participation to public decision-making and the rule of law.

Discussions started with a speech by Yascha Mounk, author of The People vs. Democracy. Faced with the rise of populism in numerous European States, citizens and civil society organisations must organise themselves to defend the values of democracy.
Several speakers presented examples of initiatives such as “assemblies of citizens” that allowed for a more active participation of citizens. Representatives from the Council of Europe spoke about the tools that the Council provides to make democracy more participative (Lignes directrices pour une participation de la société civile aux décisions politiques ; Compétences pour une culture de la démocratie ; Les 12 principes de bonne gouvernance).

Finally, the President of the INGO Conference stressed the necessity for INGOs to think on how to better communicate with citizens.

Jean-Jacques Kuster represented the EUR at that conference.

Plenary Meeting and 15th Birthday of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 27-29 June 2018

President Vivien Whyte represented the EUR at the Summer Session of the Conference of International Non Governmental Organisations of the Council of Europe on 29 June 2018.

The opening session addressed two very important issues for the EUR and NGOs in Europe: restoring the people’s confidence in public institutions and preventing inappropriate restrictions on NGO activities in Europe.

Matjaz Gruden, Director of Democratic Participation at the Council of Europe presented the Secretary General 2018 Report, which addresses the role of institutions and the threats they are facing in Europe.

Mr Yves Cruchten, rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights presented a draft resolution and draft recommendation on restrictions of NGO activities in COE Member States. He noted two trends: new obligations on NGOs to declare donations and assets as well as judicial and administrative harassment and smear campaigns. The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights has decided to propose the establishment of a Human Rights Rapporteur. This proposal still has to be approved by the Parliamentary Assembly in plenary. A similar proposal was rejected three years ago but chances are higher it will pass now.

In addition, the Committee calls on several Member States to follow the recommendations of the Venice Commission and asks for the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers to create an alert and reaction mechanism concerning NGOs.

The Committee also recommends that guidelines on NGO foreign funding be elaborated. Mr Cruchten gave examples of NGOs who have tried to make donations to other NGOs abroad but such transfers have been denied by banking authorities because the recipient NGOs were mentioned on black lists established by private companies. He stressed that foreign funding is often vital for NGOs.

The Rapporteur finally mentioned that in some countries, governments put a lot of pressure on NGOs to register for control purposes. He insisted that NGOs should be free to decide on whether or not to register in their home country. This should be the focus of the Committee’s next report.

Ms Sorina Macrinici, Civil Society and Democracy Programme Director at the NGO Legal Resources Centre presented the current situation of NGOs in Moldova. She reminded the audience that the electoral system in Moldova was modified recently and that the Supreme Court cancelled the results of mayoral elections that took place in March 2018. In this context, a reform of the law on NGOs and foundations is currently before Parliament. According to Ms Macrinici, the amendments presented by the government are aimed at limiting international fundings for NGOs.

Like the Council of Europe, the European Union is kept together by the sheer rule of law. The recent evolutions discussed above are raising concern in Brussels too.