ICJF Discusses Challenges and Direction for Strengthening Democracy

JAKARTA (MKRI) — The second session of the International Chief Justice Forum (ICJF) discussed the theme “Current Challenges and Future Direction for Strengthening Democracy through Constitutional Jurisdictions” on Thursday, August 10, 2023. Constitutional Justice Wahiduddin Adams chaired the session. Chief Justice Chinbat Namjil of the Constitutional Court of Mongolia, Chief Justice Chiranit Havanond of the Constitutional Court of Thailand, President Laurinda Prazeres Monteiro Cardoso of the Constitutional Council of Angola, Chief Justice Peter Shivute of the Supreme Court of Namibia, and Justice Suhartoyo of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia delivered their presentations.

In his presentation, Chief Justice Chinbat Namjil said the Constitutional Court of Mongolia has made great achievements in declaring challenged laws unconstitutional. In addition, it has also protected democratic principles and human rights, and built a humane, civil, and democratic society.

“As soon as the decision of the Constitutional Court of Mongolia is issued, it becomes effective and binding, so it has a direct impact on the lives and politics of citizens. Many important decisions were made that show that any government organization should conduct its activities in accordance with the principles of democracy,” he explained.

He also emphasized that the decisions made by the Constitutional Court of Mongolia are not only of special importance in preventing violations of the Constitution but also have a real impact on the development of democracy. “Finally, to conclude, the role of Constitutional Courts is important in protecting the Constitution, democratic values and principles, and human rights,” he concluded.

Next, President Laurinda Cardoso of the Constitutional Council of Angola revealed several decisions that the council had handed down to maintain constitutional values, one of which was through a judicial review case filed by the Angolan Bar Association. In that decision, in defense of the supreme values of the Constitution, the Council not only declared the unconstitutionality, but determined the molds and effects of the decision, namely its effectiveness,” she explained.

She also reiterated that the Angolan constitutional system is characterized by a committed constitutional jurisdiction with a healthy relationship with Parliament. In major decisions where the values, principles and fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution are under consideration, the Constitutional Council has the last word and its role has not only been limited to the enforcement of rights, but also to ensuring that the construction of law takes place under the legitimate conditions of deliberative policy.

“As Hans Kelsen stated, ‘In the absence of an organization such as the constitutional court, the legislator will have the final word on whether the conditions have been satisfied and the principle of constitutional legality will remain essentially ineffective,’” she said.

The last speaker of the session, Justice Suhartoyo of the Constitutional Court of Indonesia, who was also present, said that MKRI’s contribution in strengthening democracy can be seen from the way MKRI exercises its authority. First, through judicial review, because MKRI has the power to review and overturn legislation that is deemed unconstitutional.

“This mechanism ensures that the legislative branch does not exceed its constitutional limits and that laws are in line with fundamental rights and democratic principles. This idea can be traced back to the idea of checks and balances. Courts act as checks and balances on executive and legislative power. By reviewing the constitutionality of their actions, the courts help prevent abuse of power and promote a system of checks and balances,” he said.

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ICJF Discusses Role of Constitutional Jurisdictions in Upholding Democracy

This ICJF is a special event initiated to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the MKRI, which falls on August 13. The MKRI initiated this forum for upholding the constitution in Asian-African states. It has good relations with constitutional jurisdictions in Asia through the AACC and in Africa through cooperation with the Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions of Africa (CCJA). Constitutional jurisdictions of nine countries (Angola, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Namibia, South Africa, Thailand, Türkiye) and one association of constitutional jurisdictions (CCJA) attended the event.

Author       : Lulu Anjarsari P.
Editor        : Tiara Agustina
Translator  : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian versions, the Indonesian version will prevail.

August 10th, 2023 | 21:29:04 WIB