19 November 2015 - 11.00-12.30 - Room 2, Palais de l'Europe, Interpretation: FR/EN/RU


Citizens Juries allow political authorities to include citizen’s input, which is the result of deliberation by an informed micro public, in their decision-making processes. Can a Citizen Jury serve as a safeguard to ensure democratic oversight over the definition of extreme threats and the reasons which justify exceptional powers, or can matters of national security only be entrusted to security experts and legislators?

Initiative 1

Jury Duty Revisited, Global Organization of Parliamentarians against Corruption (GOPAC)

The idea behind Jury Duty Revisited is essentially to test assumptions and to explore the feasibility of Citizen Juries granting surveillance approvals in the same way they currently pass judgment in criminal proceedings. In many jurisdictions cases can be determined in court by a jury, a judge, or both. Perhaps there is value in having parliamentary oversight committees determine the rules and guidelines for when approvals for surveillance should come from a jury, a judge, or both. Granting these responsibilities and roles to parliamentarians and citizens, respectively, could potentially increase democratic oversight of and support for those involved in surveillance activities.



Mr Jean-Pierre CHABOT, Canada, Program Director at the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption

Jean-Pierre Chabot is Program Director at the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) where he is responsible for work on parliamentary oversight. He conducts research on improvements to parliamentary oversight, including oversight of the defence and security sectors. Furthermore, his work with GOPAC addresses the constraints and challenges of implementing core ethical principles in governance. He has previous experience working in the security sector. He now resides in Moose Factory, Canada where he simultaneously works as Senior Development Officer for a local Aboriginal community.

Initiative 2

Citizens Juries - Setting Standards on Freedom Laws, The newDemocracy Foundation, Australia

Elected governments are under unreasonable pressure to remove all risks or be lambasted as failing. Whatever steps they take, a cynical public accuses them of “playing politics” or “creating a culture of fear”. The newDemocracy Foundation argues that this no-win position is best solved by sharing the decision with a randomly selected group of citizens who can’t be criticised as having one eye on elections. A deliberative process across a period of 3-5 months has the capacity to present an informed common ground decision about what balance is reasonable to everyday people. If those people can find common ground then the ‘demos’ who make our democracy will live with that level of control.



Mr Iain WALKER, Australia, Executive Director of the NewDemocracy Foundation

Iain leads the work of the newDemocracy Foundation in Australia conducting real world trials of innovative democratic processes with elected representatives. NDF assess resulting levels of public trust, whether they generate useable decisions and if they help broaden the agenda for elected representatives. The focus of the Foundation is to explore more representative, less adversarial and clearly deliberative processes – and advocate their role as a complementary part of our democratic structure. The work of NDF is motivated by a belief we need to positively ask citizens ‘How can we govern ourselves better?’ rather than contributing to a culture of complaint.


Discussants are invited to take part in the Labs in order to share their experience with the presented democratic initiatives and try to bring broader perspectives to the following discussions.

Ms Marcelline GBEHA-AFOUDA, Benin, President of the High Court of Justice of Benin

Marcelline Gbeha-Afouda is judge at the Constitutional Court of Benin, the highest court of the state on constitutional matters. She is particularly concerned with the constitutionality of laws and guaranteeing the fundamental rights of the individual and public freedoms. As President of the High Court of Justice of Benin, she investigates acts classified as high treason, offenses committed in the course of or in connection with the performance of duties of members of Parliament and the President of the Republic, as well as conspiracies against state security. Marcelline Gbeha-Afouda has held the positions of Deputy Prosecutor of the Republic, Public Prosecutor, and Public Prosecutor at the Court of Appeal. From December 1998 to June 2008, she held the position of Secretary General of the Constitutional Court of Benin.

Mr Robert SPANO, Iceland, Judge, European Court of Human Rights

Judge Robert Spano was elected to the European Court of Human Rights in 2013 with respect to Iceland. Before taking up his judicial office he served as Parliamentary Ombudsman of Iceland from 2009-2010 and again in 2013. He served as Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Iceland, from 2010-2013, and was appointed professor of law in 2006. He was chairman of the Standing Committee of Experts in Criminal Law in the Ministry of Justice from 2003-2009 and from 2011-2013. He was also the Icelandic delegate to the European Committee on Crime Problems and an Independent Expert to the Lanzarote Committee of the Council of Europe. He was appointed an ad hoc judge of the EFTA Court in 2012. Judge Spano is a graduate of the University of Iceland and of the University of Oxford.


Mr Ulrich BUNJES, Germany, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe for Roma Issues

Ulrich Bunjes is the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe for Roma Issues, based in Strasbourg, France. He has a degree in sociology and Far Eastern Studies from the University of Hamburg (Germany). Besides his long-standing experience in senior executive functions in national, European and global NGOs, he has since 1978 worked intermittently in various functions for the Council of Europe, including on the first “all different - all equal” anti-racism youth campaign (1994-1996), on the “White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue” (launched in 2008) and as Head of the Youth Department. Between 2012 and 2014 he was the Special Coordinator of the Directorate General of Democracy of the Council of Europe.



Lab 3 - Citizen oversight
Palais de l'Europe - Room 2 19 Nov., 11.00-12.30
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Challenges 2015