In the framework of its cooperation with the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe (European Commission for Democracy through Law), the Congress Monitoring Committee endorsed, on 3 July 2019, in Oslo, Norway, the "Venice Principles" on the protection and promotion of the institution of ombudsmen.
Presented by Johan Hirshfeldt, member and rapporteur of the Venice Commission, these principles highlight the role of the Ombudsman as an key element in the rule of law and contain a set of guidelines to ensure the proper functioning of the institution at all levels.
"The Congress has been working for many years on the role of ombudsmen at the territorial level," said Harald Bergmann (Netherlands, ILDG), spokesperson of the Congress on Human Rights. "Ombudsmen are an important interlocutor of the Congress, in particular in its monitoring activities concerning the implementation of the Charter and the promotion of human rights at local and regional level," he added.
The draft resolution invites the national authorities of Council of Europe member states to ensure that the Venice Principles are applied to Ombudsman institutions that are already functioning at all levels but also in situations where such institutions are established.
In 2016, the Congress had already approved as a reference document, the checklist on the rule of law drawn up by the Venice Commission. The checklist is used by the Monitoring Committee to assess the legal and political context of the functioning of local and regional democracy in Council of Europe member states when monitoring the implementation of the Charter.