U.S. Joins Venice Commission Today
(Photo: Council of Europe)
On April 15, 2013, the United States became the 59th full member of the Council of Europe’s European Commission for Democracy through Law, better known as the Venice Commission. Colombia Law School Professor Sarah Cleveland has been appointed as the U.S. member, and University of Oklahoma College of Law Professor Evelyn Aswad is the substitute member.
The Venice Commission was established in 1990 to assist new democracies in Eastern Europe to draft constitutions in line with European constitutional culture. The United States has been an observer member since 1991. Over the years, the Commission has become a highly respected and trusted independent organization, known for its expertise in identifying, developing, and promoting European legal standards for democratic institutions, human rights, electoral laws, and constitutional justice. Today, its opinions are sought not only in Europe, but also in the emerging democracies of North Africa and elsewhere.
The decision of the United States to seek full membership after many years participating as an observer represents a commitment to the use of rule of law to address all range of constitutional issues, and we look forward to making a positive contribution based on our own legal scholarship, experience, and expertise. The U.S. respects and appreciates the influential work the Commission has accomplished in Europe since its creation in 1990 and notes with satisfaction that in addition to its continued relevance in advancing democracy in Europe, its expertise is now being recognized and sought by countries outside Europe seeking to strengthen the rule of law in their systems of government. For more information on the Venice Commission, visit its web site at http://www.venice.coe.int
Evan G. Reade
U.S. Deputy Permanent Observer at the Council of Europe