ODIHR Legal Reviews, Assessments and Guidelines

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

Opinion on the draft law amending and supplementing the Ombudsman Act of Bulgaria (29 March 2017)

The Draft Amendments constitute a positive development and strengthen the Office of the Ombudsman by further broadening its mandate to promote human rights and potential human rights violations also within the private sector. The proposed amendments also seek to ensure an open and transparent selection and appointment process for the positions of Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman, as well as for the entire staff. However, the process of selecting and appointing the Ombudsman could be further enhanced in terms of pluralism and participatory engagement. Furthermore, the Ombudsman should be able to protect and promote the human rights of citizens and non-citizens alike, at least with respect to rights enjoyed by both of these groups equally. With regard to the Ombudsman’s role as the national preventive mechanism (hereinafter “NPM”) for Bulgaria, in particular, the Draft Amendments should ensure that the Ombudsman is endowed with sufficient financial and human resources to also adequately fulfill its NPM mandate.


Opinion on the draft law on parliamentary oversight in Bosnia and Herzegovina (29 March 2017)

The Opinion highlights the importance of vigorous parliamentary scrutiny of the government as an essential element of democratic governance based on the rule of law. While the oversight framework established by the Draft Law is generally in line with good practices existing in the OSCE  region, the Opinion offers a number of recommendations on how to improve the Draft Law's structure and strengthen the mechanisms of oversight to ensure that they are effective in practice. ln particular, the Opinion recommends increasing the role of the parliamentary opposition in the oversight process as well as clarifying and strengthening certain key powers belonging to parliamentary oversight bodies.


Preliminary Opinion on Draft Amendments to the Act on the National Council of the Judiciary and Certain Other Acts of Poland (22 March 2017)

Overall, the proposed amendments raise serious concerns with regard to key democratic principles, in particular the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary. By transferring the power to appoint judge members to the National Council of the Judiciary from the judiciary to the legislature, and by introducing new procedures for selecting judges which will be under the decisive influence of the legislative and executive, the draft amendments would seriously jeopardize the independence of a body which is the guarantor of judicial independence in Poland.

Moreover, the automatic termination of the mandate of the fifteen judges currently sitting on the National Council of the Judiciary 30 days after the entry into force of the Draft Act directly interferes with the guarantees of independence enjoyed by this duly constituted constitutional body. Such a provision would also be in violation of Article 6 par 1 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, since the judge members to the Council would not be able to challenge the termination of their mandates before an ordinary tribunal or other body exercising judicial powers.

The OSCE/ODIHR therefore recommends that the draft amendments not be adopted.


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.