ODIHR Legal Reviews, Assessments and Guidelines

Legal reviews

ODIHR supports legal reform in participating States by reviewing, upon request, individual pieces of draft or existing legislation to assess their compliance with OSCE commitments, international human rights standards and established good practices.

In this section you can find all legal reviews prepared by ODIHR on variety of topics and countries - filtering options can be used to display relevant documents.

OSCE/ODIHR has recently produced the following reviews and guidelines: 

Opinion on Draft Amendments relating to the Appointment of Supreme Court Judges of Georgia (17 April 2019)

While welcoming the drafters' intent to introduce more detailed provisions for the selection of candidates to Supreme Court judgeship, the OSCE/ODIHR Opinion concludes that the Draft Amendments could benefit from certain revisions and additions to enhance the openness and transparency of the appointment process and ensure greater compliance with international standards and recommendations. 

Bearing in mind that on the basis of the Draft Amendments, almost 3/4th of the vacant positions in the Supreme Court of Georgia may be filled in the coming months, it is of the utmost importance to ensure that the judges are selected following clearly defined and uncontroversial procedures, which guarantee appointment of the most qualified and competent candidates. Particularly, the drafters should ensure that clearly defined selection criteria are provided at every stage of the appointment process. The modalities for the High Council of the Judiciary of Georgia (HCJ) to select candidates by secret ballot undermines the merits-bassed selection system and should be replaced by a procedure whereby the HCJ would adopt a summary of majority justification for the nomination of candidates in light of the clearly defined selection criteria. Moreover, the Draft Amendments should specifically regulate the issue of conflict of interest in the context of nomination of candidates to Supreme Court judgeship by the HCJ. Finally, unsuccessful candidates should have the possibility to challenge the HCJ decision before a judicial body.


Note on the Anti-Discrimination Legislation and Good Practices in the OSCE Region (6 February 2019)

This Note on Anti-Discrimination and Good Practices in the OSCE region follows a request from the OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe for an overview of relevant Anti-Discrimination legislation. The Note covers a wide range of Anti-Discrimination issues grounds, including race, colour and ethnicity, religion and belief, disability, age, sex and gender identity and sexual orientation.

Furthermore, the Note provides an extensive overview of international instruments from the UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the European Union, and also national legislation.

The Note also focuses on, amongst other sources, relevant case law from the European Court of Human Rights, UN and treaty bodies, resolutions from the United Nations Human Rights Council, as well as national case law and practices.

Opinion on the Draft Amendments to the Act on Establishment of the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights (21 January 2019)

It is welcomed that the Draft Amendments seek to bring the Act of the National Council of the Slovak Republic on Establishment of the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights in line with the requirements of the Paris Principles. The Draft Amendments contain a number of positive developments in this respect. However, regarding issues such as the NHRI’s mandate and competencies, its funding and the selection and appointment of its leadership, adjustments are recommended to bring the Draft Amendments in line with international standards.

Note on International Standards and Good Practices of Disciplinary Proceedings against Judges (27 December 2018)

In line with a request received from the Chairman of the High Council of Judges of Kazakhstan, the Note focuses on particular key aspects of disciplinary proceedings against judges, namely the relevant institutions conducting such proceedings, types of disciplinary action taken against judges, the impact of disciplinary proceedings on judges’ careers and appeals against decisions taken in such proceedings. When looking at these issues, the Note makes reference to key international principles such as the independence of the judiciary, other fair trial standards such as the right to be heard and the equality of arms, and the right to an effective remedy. Furthermore, the Note stresses that legal provisions on disciplinary proceedings against judges need to be formulated clearly and with adequate precision, and that the grounds on which they are based, and the ensuing sanctions need to be equally clear, and proportionate to the respective wrongdoing. In addition to outlining international standards, commentaries and case law, the Note also provides good practice examples from a large variety of different OSCE participating States, to showcase how relevant international human rights provisions have been transformed into domestic law.

Comments on the Supreme Court Commentary on the Code of Judicial Ethics of Kazakhstan (27 December 2018)

The Comments look at a Commentary prepared by the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan on the national Code of Judicial Ethics and analyze the compliance of both the Commentary and underlying Code with international human rights standards and OSCE commitments. While the Commentary’s attempts to interpret the provisions of the Code of Judicial Ethics are generally welcomed, the Comments also outline the differences between codes of ethics on the one hand, and disciplinary offences on the other, and stress that breaches of ethics codes should not lead to disciplinary sanctions.  Moreover, the Comments, among others, raise concerns with respect to certain provisions that are unclear or that contain extensive instructions on how to behave off-duty, including as regards the way in which judges exercise their religious faith. Another of a total of seven main recommendations suggests that the Commentary to the Code be validated by a wide representation of judges in Kazakhstan. These Comments were prepared at the request of the Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Astana.


ODIHR's work on regulatory reform:

Assessment of the Legislative Process in the Kyrgyz Republic (October 2015)

Based on a Memorandum of Understanding, signed between the OSCE/ODIHR and the Presidential Administration of the Kyrgyz Republic on 7 January 2015, the OSCE/ODIHR conducted a comprehensive assessment of the legislative process in the Kyrgyz Republic, which analyzed all the legislative and practical aspects of the law-making process in the country, and provided recommendations for reform. 

ODIHR's assessment report recommends, among other measures, to introduce unified evidence-based drafting and law-making standards in the Kyrgyz Republic, including public consultations on draft laws. It further advises law-makers to enhance policy discussions at the start of the legislative process, and to introduce more realistic procedural deadlines. 

Assessment of the Legislative Process in Georgia (January 2015)  

Based on a Memorandum of Understanding, signed between the OSCE/ODIHR and the Parliament of Georgia on 24 February 2014, the OSCE/ODIHR conducted a comprehensive assessment of the legislative process in Georgia, a situational analysis of both the formal procedures and the actual practices in Georgia that apply to the preparation, drafting, enactment, publication, communication and evaluation of legislation.

The assessment report discusses the salient aspects of the legislative drafting / law-making process in the country and identifies the existing concerns and risks as well as a number of goals to be achieved in order to enable the law-making system to function in a more effective, transparent and efficient way.