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Azerbaijan: President Appointed His Wife as First Vice-President

(Mar. 24, 2017) On February 21, 2017, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, appointed his wife, Mehriban Aliyeva, as the First Vice-President of the Republic, in accordance with newly added article 1031 of Azerbaijan’s Constitution.  (Appointment by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan of M. A. Aliyeva as the First Vice-President of the Republic […]

Bahrain: Constitutional Amendment Allows Military Trials of Civilians

(Mar. 22, 2017) On March 6, 2017, the Bahraini Parliament (Shura Council) approved an amendment to article 105(b) of the Bahraini Constitution of 2002.  (Bahrain: Constitution of February 14 in English (2002) (Constitution), ACE Electoral Knowledge Network website.)  Members of the Council approved the constitutional amendment two weeks after it was passed by the National Assembly, […]

Pakistan: Federally Administered Tribal Areas to Be Merged with the Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

(Mar. 16, 2017) On March 2, 2017, the Federal Cabinet of Pakistan approved recommendations of a reforms committee to “bring the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) in the mainstream” by merging the tribal region with the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.  (Federal Cabinet Approves Recommendations to ‘Mainstream’ Fata, DAWN.COM (Mar. 2, 2017).)  FATA is a constitutionally […]

South Africa: Notice of Withdrawal from the Rome Statute Revoked

(Mar. 10, 2017) On March 7, 2017, the South African government revoked the notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (the Rome Statute) that it had  submitted to the United Nations Secretary-General on October 19, 2016.  (South Africa: Withdrawal of Notification of Withdrawal, C.N.121.2017.TREATIES-XVIII.10 (Depositary Notification) (Mar. 7, 2017), United […]

Kenya: Government’s Attempt to Close Refugee Camps Found Unconstitutional

(Mar. 8, 2017) On February 9, 2017, the Constitutional and Human Rights Division of the High Court of Kenya at Nairobi found unconstitutional the government’s decisions to close the Dadaab refugee camp without first consulting stakeholders and to forcibly repatriate Somali refugees in the camp.  Judge John M. Mativo, who handed down the decision, also found the government’s […]

Iran: Charter on Citizens’ Rights Signed

(Feb. 28, 2017) With the aim of “recovering and promoting citizens’ rights,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, under his constitutional authority to “determine the program and policies of the government,” signed the Charter on Citizens’ Rights in a ceremony on December 19, 2016.  (Rouhani Unveils Charter on Civil Rights; Vagueness Regarding “Enforcement Guarantee,” VOA (Dec. 19, […]

Kenya: High Court Declares Penal Code Provision on Criminal Defamation Unconstitutional

(Feb. 14, 2017) On February 6, 2017, the Constitutional and Human Rights Division of the High Court of Kenya at Nairobi found unconstitutional article 194 of the country’s 1930 Penal Code, which relates to criminal defamation.  (Jacqueline Okuta & another v Attorney General & 2 others [2017] eKLR, Kenya Law website.)  Two individuals, Jacqueline Okuta and […]

Germany: No Prohibition of the National Democratic Party

(Feb. 2, 2017) On January 17, 2017, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) unanimously rejected the application of the German Bundesrat to ban the National Democratic Party (NPD). The German Bundesrat is the constitutional body through which the German states participate in the legislation and administration of the German Federation.  (BVerfG, Jan. 17, 2017, docket […]

Gambia: State of Emergency Lifted

(Jan. 30, 2017) On January 24, 2017, Gambia’s legislature ended the state of emergency in the country and rescinded the extension of executive power that had been granted to former President Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh had lost an election in December 2016 to Adama Barrow, but for a time refused to leave office and hand over […]

Turkey: Parliamentary Commission Approves Amendments to Constitution that Would Enhance President’s Powers

(Jan. 9, 2017) On December 30, 2016, the Commission on the Constitution in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly (GNA, the parliament) approved several draft amendments to the country’s Constitution that would, among other measures, augment the powers of the president and change the government to a presidential system from the current prime minister-led system. Of an […]