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:

Interim Opinion on the Draft Law of the Republic of Armenia on Ensuring Equality before the Law (as of November 2018) (in English) [2019-09-06]

Summary: ODIHR welcomes efforts to address various forms of discrimination in a comprehensive manner through the Draft Law, which attempts to cover both the private and the public sphere. The Draft Law contains many positive elements which aim to guarantee equality through the legal norms and regulations, introduction of special measures, as well as by establishing a special body to combat discrimination within the Human Rights Defender Institution.  At the same time, the Draft Law would benefit from certain revisions and clarifications, to enhance its effective application, avoid ambiguity as well as to guarantee effectiveness and credibility of the institution authorized to oversee and apply this Draft Law. For these purposes it is recommended, for instance, to include additional protected characteristics, specifically referring to sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and belief, as well as national origin and nationality and to ensure that the Equality Body, as well as non-governmental organisations that have a legitimate interest in it, are entitled to bring cases on behalf or in support of an alleged victim of discrimination. 

Comments on the Draft Law on Rallies, Meetings and Demonstrations of the Republic of Uzbekistan (in English) [2019-09-02]

Summary: The intention of the drafters to enact legislation, which aims to regulate conduct of peaceful assemblies. The Comments conclude that in absence of law regulating freedom of peaceful assembly, the draft law represents a positive step as it states that international obligations prevail in case of conflict with national law. However, there remain several areas of concern as the draft law severely curtails the freedom of assembly. Obstacles to enjoyment of this freedom include strict rules on venues and timing. Furthermore, organisers must provide a detailed request prior to an assembly, and has the responsibility to maintain order, which is a state responsibility. This could have a chilling effect on organisers and participants, and assemblies may as a consequence, not take place.

Opinion on the Draft Law on Free Access to Public Information in the Republic of North Macedonia (in English) [2019-07-15]

Summary: Generally, the Draft Law is commended for its attempts to entrench key principles relating to access to information, enhance transparency of public bodies and strengthen the mandate of the responsible oversight body. It contains freedom of information guarantees and detailed procedures on how members of the public may access information. At the same time, a number of shortcomings remain, including on clarifying the exceptions to free access of information, lack of effective harm test, insufficient regulation of the selection process of the director and deputy director of the oversight body, as well as incomplete legal redress provisions.

Opinion on the Draft Law "Hate Crimes and Holocaust Denial - Amending and Supplementing Certain Acts" of the Republic of Moldova (in English) [2019-04-26]

Summary: OSCE/ODIHR welcomes Moldova’s efforts to strengthen the legal framework to prosecute crimes committed with a bias motive in Moldova and putting the reforms within a broader context of efforts to combat intolerance. The aim to bring legislation in the area of bias-motivated crime and anti-discrimination in line with international standards is also welcome. At the same time, it is noted that many of the concerns voiced by ODIHR in previous opinions have not been addressed in the current Draft Amendments. Further some of the provisions in the Draft Amendments are drafted in an overly broad manner and do not meet the requirements of legal certainty, foreseeability and specificity.

Opinion on Draft Amendments relating to the Appointment of Supreme Court Judges of Georgia (in English) [2019-04-17]

Summary: 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 (in English) [2019-02-06]

Summary: 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 (in English) [2019-01-21]

Summary: 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.

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.