Gianni Buquicchio, President of the Venice Commission, and Harald Bergmann, Congress rapporteur, presented the Venice Principles on the protection and promotion of the ombudsman institution during the 37th session, on 30 October 2019.
"Today, more than 140 states around the world have ombudsman institutions at national, regional or local level with different competences," Harald Bergmann recalled. "This institution is a key element in a state based on democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and good governance," he added, stressing the relevance of this text for local and regional authorities.
"The Venice Principles afford local authorities new possibilities in the event of a conflict with higher authorities. They pave the way for oversight of public authorities and, at the same time, increase public confidence in local and regional administrations," explained the Congress rapporteur.
The text in question contains 25 principles based on existing Ombudsman models and covers all the conditions that need to be met in order to ensure properly functioning, independent mediation institutions, from the election or dismissal of Ombudsmen to the financial and material safeguards for their activities.
"I firmly believe that the institution of the Ombudsman is a very good indicator of the state of democracy and the level of protection of fundamental rights, freedoms and the rule of law," said the President of the Venice Commission. "One of the objectives is to ensure the sustainability of the Ombudsman institution by providing it with a solid legal underpinning, preferably at the constitutional level," he explained.
The resolution adopted by the Congress supports the Venice Principles as a relevant international reference text setting out the legal principles essential for the establishment and proper functioning of Ombudsman institutions at all levels of democratic governments.
- Report CG37(2019)15 : EN - FR
- Video of the debate: EN - FR - Original
- Gianni Buquicchio's speech (ony available in French)
- Harald Bergmann's speech