Post by: Hyejin Yun
It has already been two weeks since I have started my internship in Strasbourg. I am currently working for the Venice Commission (“Commission”), which is the Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional matters.
On the first day after getting a badge from the main building of Council of Europe, I was introduced to the members of the Commission who were from the diverse countries by my supervisor Mr. Gael. They all happily welcomed me and I got a feeling that I will definitely love this place. Then I had a chance to attend a plenary session which is held every Monday in which all the members of Venice Commission come together and discuss the agenda for about an hour. The first meeting was quite hectic because the Commission had to provide urgent opinion for the Republic of Moldova. It was really interesting to hear people discussing over the constitutional matters in countries all over the world to help the states bring their legal and institutional structures into line with international standards in the fields of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
After the meeting, I got some tasks from the people I met in the meeting and worked on those for the first week. Since Mr. Gael is in the Elections and Political Parties Division of the Commission, the first task that I got from his colleague was to index the Law on Parliamentary Elections of Turkey based on the thesaurus, which was similar to categorizing the provisions for the database. At first, it took me some time to get used to the thesaurus, but I used some supplementary resources such as the Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters and studied by myself to finish the task. In the second week, I got another task which was to do a comparative research on the legal basis of the functional immunity of ombudsman in countries including the member states of the Commission, South Africa and some Asian countries. This one was a little bit more interesting because through comparative analysis, I could see the degree of compliance of the country to the Commission’s ombudsman principles. Also, I felt very responsible because I was informed that the result of the research will be used later on for giving advice to the countries that still don’t have a proper ombudsman system.
Other than working in the office, I also had a chance to visit European Parliament and attended a session of debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The first topic was what should be the stance of European Parliament in promoting freedom of expression in Burundi in relation with the four journalists being captivated in the country. The second one was about the recent terrorist attacks against Christians on Christmas day in Nigeria. According to the instruction by the president, the speakers took turns and made an assertion on what the European Parliament should do. It was interesting to see the people discussing over the matters happening in the opposite part of the world, and debating how to make this world a better place.
Everyday, I am amazed to see how important this small city can be and I have come to love this city so much. I have four weeks left for my internship, so I will try to use time wisely, learn more and work hard for the grace of God.
This post was written by a Center for Global Justice Intern. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.