ICJF Discusses Role of Constitutional Jurisdictions in Upholding Democracy

JAKARTA (MKRI) — The first session of the International Chief Justice Forum (ICJF) commenced on Thursday, August 10, 2023 after opened officially with a special plenary session of the twentieth anniversary of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia (MKRI). Constitutional Justice Enny Nurbaningsih chaired the session. President Omar Belhadj of the Constitutional Court of Algeria, Chief Justice Farhad Abdullayev of the Constitutional Court of Azerbaijan, Chief Justice Elvira Azimova of the Constitutional Court of Kazakhstan, Chief Justice Raymond M. M. Zondo of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Deputy Chief Justice Hasan Tahsin Gökcan of the Constitutional Court of Türkiye, and Constitutional Justice Manahan M. P. Sitompul of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia delivered their presentations.

The session was under the theme “The Evolving Role of Constitutional Jurisdictions in Upholding Democracy throughout History.” President Omar Belhadj of the Constitutional Court of Algeria explained political developments in Algeria. He revealed that the establishment of the Constitutional Council of Algeria on November 23, 1989 was part of a new political phase in the country.

"The new political phase was based on party pluralism and the principles of democratic organization in charge of two main missions, one is ensuring the supremacy of the constitution and respect through overseeing the constitutionality of laws,” he said.

President Belhaj also shared about the Constitutional Court’s transition from the Constitutional Council. He said the transition was a result of a variety of circumstances and political experiences in Algeria. The decision to establish the Constitutional Court was due to an integrated context of deep and comprehensive constitutional, political, and institutional reforms initiated by President of the Republic of Algeria, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, immediately after his election in December 2019.

“His first breakthrough was the constitutional amendment, which was endorsed by the Algerian people in the referendum of November 1, 2020. This paved the way for a new era based on the rule of law and resilient and legitimate institutions and real separation of powers and balance between them, the respect for fundamental rights and freedoms and reflecting the principles of genuine democratic governance,” he said.

Constitutional Reforms

Kazakhstan has similarly undergone significant constitutional reforms, which have been vital in establishing the legal framework for the modernization of society and the state. “Over the years of its activity, the Constitutional Council has adopted many decisions aimed at realizing the potential of the Constitution. This is evidenced by the rich practice of official interpretation, which touches upon the most important aspects of the political and socio-economic life of Kazakhstan's society,” said Chief Justice Elvira Azimova of the Constitutional Court of Kazakhstan.

She talked about the important role of the Constitutional Court of Kazakhstan in safeguarding the fundamental rights of citizens through constitutional review authority. “In this context, a state’s constitutional review body can be seen as an integral part of democracy, the promotion of human rights and the rule of law,” she said.

Meanwhile, Constitutional Justice Manahan M. P. Sitompul as the last speaker of the first session said that the MKRI has an important role in protecting the citizens’ constitutional rights that have been violated by the enactment of legal norms through its constitutional review authority. By virtue of such authority, it is able to control the legislator so as to be prudent in the formation of a law. They shall not violate and/or disregard their obligation to provide protection to the citizens constitutional rights .

“In addition, by virtue of the authority to settle disputes over the result of general election, the Constitutional Court plays a role in assuring and ensuring that the right to elect and/or the right to be elected as the constitutional rights of citizens are shielded from any form of manipulation and misappropriation detrimental to citizens. Likewise, the Constitutional Court plays a role in protecting the integrity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, namely protecting the democracy so as to be established in accordance with and under the 1945 Constitution,” he said.

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 | 20:29:52 WIB