The Venice Commission and Rule of Law Backsliding in Turkey, Poland and Hungary

In: European Convention on Human Rights Law Review
Emre Turkut Postdoctoral Researcher, Centre for Fundamental Rights, Hertie School, Berlin, Germany,

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How did the Council of Europe cope with its member states that engaged in rule of law backsliding? This article analyses the responses of the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s expert body on constitutional matters, to Turkey, Hungary, and Poland as their governments eliminated key checks and balances on their power, curtailed judicial independence, and undermined political pluralism and civil society. It finds that the Venice Commission managed to address a set of particularly vital issues that get to the heart to rule of law backsliding in these countries. Despite the breadth of the Venice Commission’s forthright involvement, these case studies display the limitations on the part of other Council of Europe bodies in forming a coordinated approach and response to rule of law backsliding.

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