January 27, 2004

New constitution draft presented



A draft of the future constitution for Angola was presented to the Constitutional Commission of the National Assembly by the Technical Commission. Its coordinator, Rui Ferreira, underlined that the document was based on the structure of the fundamental principles approved by the Constitutional Commission. Apart from its preamble, the future constitution is sub-divided in seven parts and comprises 351 articles. According to Ferreira, the country's future chief law will bring about much more clearness to the Angolan political system and citizens will dispose of more sureties with regard to respect of their rights. He added that the country will give a step forward for the affirmation of the society's democratic nature. Besides the preface, the future Constitution is divided in three parts and entails 351 articles. Due to its extension, each part is structured into titles and chapters. The Jurist said the issues were analysed from the technical point of view by a team work, which used the nine projects of proposal for the Constitution presented by the Angolan political parties.

According to the Ferreira, the first part of the Constitution reaffirmed the nature of the Democratic and Lawful State, highlighting the innovations in the article five, that clearly defined the supremacy of the Constitution as superior law and the subordination of the State to the Constitution and the Law - the principle of the legality and of the constitutionality. In the article six, the recognition of the validity and the juridical force of the costume were institutionalised, whereas the articles seven, 19, 20 and 21 dealt with the geographic limits of the country, the State territorial organisation, the national symbols, the official language and the capital of the Republic. Rui Ferreira stressed as well as an innovation the article d 22 verses on the presentation of the programme and fundamental goals of the Angolan State. He also stated that part two was the charter of fundamental rights, freedoms and guarantees.

He furthermore explained that the purpose of part two was to deepen what the current Constitution provided from in this domain, adopting the main international conventions on human rights. To him, the major deep innovations concerned the separation of rights, freedoms and guarantees of the economic, social and cultural rights, as they were different in nature and regime. Ferreira also stated that the future Constitution also made provisions for a national commission on human rights and a justice provider, the judicial guarantee of rights, death penalty prohibition, constitutional restrictions and limits regarding the depriving of freedom and preventive arrest and other rights of guarantee such as "Habeas Corpus", "Habeas Data", the right to people's action and to resistance. Moreover, the draft Constitution proposed as well the principle of the State's civil, indemnifying responsibility in cases of violation by its agents resulting in damages.

The third part of the proposition includes the so-called the economic constitution that runs from article 112 to 140º, being arranged in three titles: the economic order (the sectors of the economy, the economic activities reserved to the State, the State's public and private domain, national businesses and the land rights). The second title verses on planning matters, utilisation of natural resources, territory arrangement, the State policies in the agricultural, industrial, mining, commercial and energetic domains, whereas the third has to do with the financial and tributary order and organisation. The organisation of the political power is contained in the fourth part of the draft and rests between articles 141 and 284. Seen as the lengthier part of the document, it deals with the political status of the President of the Republic, the National Assembly, Government and Local Autarky Power. Rui Ferreira states that this part was concerned with the principle of separation of powers and provided for the democratic organisation of the political power, setting a semi-presidential, democratic system and an autonomous local power and clarifies the frame of separation of competences among the sovereignty organs.

The fifth part is devoted to the Judicial Power, starting from article 285 to 324. Reaffirming the principle of independence of the courts, this part contains some innovations aimed at the judicial power, with stress on the administrative and financial autonomy of the courts, the principle of jurisdictional unity, the customary justice, expansion of the powers of the higher council of the judicial magi structure and the alteration to some principles of the status of the judges and the like. The sixth part deals with the national defence and security (article 319 to 324) while the seventh has to do with the constitution's guarantees, that is how the constitutionality is controlled. The last part contains the final and transitional dispositions of the draft of Angola's future constitution. (Angola Press Agency, Luanda)

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