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Constitution of Iraq

The current constitution of Iraq was approved by a referendum that took place on 15 October 2005. The constitution was drafted in 2005 by members of the Iraqi Constitutional Committee to replace the Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period (the "TAL"). The TAL was drafted between December 2003 and March 2004 by the Iraqi Governing Council, an appointed body that was selected by the Coalition Provisional Authority after the Iraq War and occupation of Iraq by the United States and Coalition forces.

Under a compromise brokered before the referendum, it was agreed that the first parliament that was to be elected pursuant to the new constitution would institute a Constitutional Review Committee with a view to determine whether the constitution should be amended. Any amendments agreed would have to be ratified by a similar referendum to the one that originally approved it. After this agreement was entered into, the Sunni-majority Iraqi Islamic Party agreed to back a Yes vote in the referendum that took place on October 15, 2005. The Constitutional Review Committee was constituted by the Iraqi parliament on 25 September 2006.

Electoral Commission officials said at a news conference that 78 percent of voters backed the charter and 21 percent opposed it. Of the 18 provinces, only two recorded "No" votes greater than two thirds, one province short of a veto. A two-thirds rejection vote in three of the country's 18 provinces (of which three -- Mosul, Anbar, and Salahaddin -- are thought to include Sunni majorities) would have required the dissolution of the Assembly, fresh elections, and the recommencement of the entire drafting process. Turnout in the referendum was 63 percent, commission officials had previously said.

The drafting and adoption of the new Constitution was not without controversy, however, as sectarian tensions in Iraq figured heavily in the process. The chaiman of the drafting committee, Humam Hamoudi, who is a leader in the military wing of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (the Badr Organisation), regularly made statements which were interpreted as meaning that there would be no compromises on Sunni demands. The deadline for the conclusion of drafting was extended on four occasions because of the lack of consensus on religious language. In the end, only three of the 15 Sunni members of the drafting committee attended the signing ceremony, and none of them signed it. Sunni leaders were split as to whether to support the constitution. Saleh al-Mutlaq, the chief Sunni negotiator, urged followers of his Hewar Front to vote against it, but the biggest Sunni block, the Iraqi Accord Front did support the document after receiving promises that it would be reviewed and amended, taking into account their views. A Constitution Amendment Committee has been set up in this regard, but the progress has been slow. Notably, the same controversial figure who chaired the drafting committee, Humam Hamoudi, is chairing the amendment committee as well.

The text of the proposed constitution was read to the National Assembly on Sunday 28 August 2005. It describes the state as a "democratic, federal, representative republic" (art. 1) (however, the division of powers is to be deferred until the first parliament convenes), and a "multiethnic, multi-religious and multi-sect country" (art. 3).

Iraq's first, monarchical, constitution was imposed by the British authorities in 1925 and remained in effect until the 1958 revolution established a republic. Interim constitutions were adopted in 1958, 1963, 1964, 1968, and 1970, the last remaining in effect de jure until the Transitional Administrative Law was adopted. In 1990, a draft constitution was prepared but never promulgated due to the onset of the Gulf War.

Sections and Articles

Preamble

(From the Associated Press English language translation)

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful,

"Verily we have honored the children of Adam" (Qur'an 17:70)

We the sons of Mesopotamia, the land of the prophets, resting place of the holy imams, the leaders of civilization and the creators of the alphabet, the cradle of arithmetic: on our land, the first law put in place by mankind was written; in our nation, the most noble era of justice in the politics of nations was laid down; on our soil, the followers of the prophet and the saints prayed, the philosophers and the scientists theorized and the writers and poets created.

Recognizing Allah's right upon us; obeying the call of our nation and our citizens; responding to the call of our religious and national leaders and the insistence of our great religious authorities and our leaders and our reformers, we went by the millions for the first time in our history to the ballot box, men and women, young and old, on 30 January 2005, remembering the pains of the despotic band's sectarian oppression of the majority; inspired by the suffering of Iraq's martyrs — Sunni and Shiite, Arab, Kurd and Turkomen, and the remaining brethren in all communities — inspired by the injustice against the holy cities in the popular uprising and against the marshes and other places; recalling the agonies of the national oppression in the massacres of Halabja, Barzan, Anfal and against the Faili Kurds; inspired by the tragedies of the Turkomen in Bashir and the suffering of the people of the western region, whom the terrorists and their allies sought to take hostage and prevent from participating in the elections and the establishment of a society of peace and brotherhood and cooperation so we can create a new Iraq, Iraq of the future, without sectarianism, racial strife, regionalism, discrimination or isolation.

Terrorism and takfir (declaring someone an infidel) did not divert us from moving forward to build a nation of law. Sectarianism and racism did not stop us from marching together to strengthen our national unity, set ways to peacefully transfer power, adopt a manner to fairly distribute wealth and give equal opportunity to all.

We the people of Iraq, newly arisen from our disasters and looking with confidence to the future through a democratic, federal, republican system, are determined — men and women, old and young — to respect the rule of law, reject the policy of aggression, pay attention to women and their rights, the elderly and their cares, the children and their affairs, spread the culture of diversity and defuse terrorism.

We are the people of Iraq, who in all our forms and groupings undertake to establish our union freely and by choice, to learn yesterday's lessons for tomorrow, and to write down this permanent constitution from the high values and ideals of the heavenly messages and the developments of science and human civilization, and to adhere to this constitution, which shall preserve for Iraq its free union of people, land and sovereignty.

Chapter One: Basic Principles

Chapter One enumerates the basic principles of the Iraq constitution:

  • Iraq is an independent nation, and its system of government is a democratic, federal, representative republic.
  • Islam is the national religion and a basic foundation for the country's laws; however, freedom of religion is upheld.
  • The state has a multi-ethnic makeup and dual national languages: Arabic and Kurdish. Turkmen and Assyrian are official in regions where they are spoken.
  • Terrorism, ethnic cleansing, and takfir are banned, as is the "Saddamist Ba'ath Party".
  • The country is part of the Islamic world and its Arab citizens are part of the Arab nation.
  • The country has a single military, under the command of the civil authority.
  • The constitution is the highest law of the land. No law may be passed that contradicts the constitution, the undisputed laws of Islam, or the principles of democracy.

(From the Associated Press English language translation)

Article (1): The Republic of Iraq is an independent, sovereign nation, and the system of rule in it is a democratic, federal, representative (parliamentary) republic.

Article (2):

1st — Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation:

(a) No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam.

(b) No law can be passed that contradicts the principles of democracy.

(c) No law can be passed that contradicts the rights and basic freedoms outlined in this constitution.

2nd — This constitution guarantees the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people and the full religious rights for all individuals and the freedom of creed and religious practices.

Article (3): Iraq is a multiethnic, multi-religious and multi-sect country. It is part of the Islamic world and its Arab people are part of the Arab nation.

Article (4):

1st — Arabic and Kurdish are the two official languages for Iraq. Iraqis are guaranteed the right to educate their children in their mother tongues, such as Turkomen or Assyrian, in government educational institutions, or any other language in private educational institutions, according to educational regulations.

2nd — the scope of the phrase "official language" and the manner of implementing the rules of this article will be defined by a law that includes:

(a) issuing the official gazette in both languages.

(b) speaking, addressing and expressing in official domains, like the parliament, Cabinet, courts and official conferences, in either of the two languages.

(c) recognition of official documents and correspondences in the two languages and the issuing of official documents in them both.

(d) the opening of schools in the two languages in accordance with educational rules.

(e) any other realms that require the principle of equality, such as currency bills, passports, stamps.

3rd — Federal agencies and institutions in the region of Kurdistan use both languages.

4th — The Turkomen and Assyrian languages will be official in the areas where they are located.

5th — Any region or province can take a local language as an additional official language if a majority of the population approves in a universal referendum.

Article (5): The law is sovereign, the people are the source of authority and its legitimacy, which they exercise through direct, secret ballot and its constitutional institutions.

Article (6): Government should be rotated peacefully through democratic means stipulated in this constitution.

Article (7):

1st — Entities or trends that advocate, instigate, justify or propagate racism, terrorism, "takfir" (declaring someone an infidel), sectarian cleansing, are banned, especially the Saddamist Baath Party in Iraq and its symbols, under any name. It will be not be allowed to be part of the multilateral political system in Iraq, which should be defined according to the law.

2nd — The state will be committing to fighting terrorism in all its forms and will work to prevent its territory from being a base or corridor or an arena for its (terrorism's) activities.

Article (8): Iraq shall abide by the principles of good neighborliness and by not intervening in the internal affairs of the other countries, and it shall seek to peacefully resolve conflicts and shall establish its relations on the basis of shared interests and similar treatment and shall respect its international obligations.

Article (9):

1st —

(a) The Iraqi armed forces and security apparatuses consist of the components of the Iraqi people, keeping in consideration their balance and representation without discrimination or exclusion. They fall under the command of the civil authority, defend Iraq, don't act as a tool of oppression of the Iraqi people, don't intervene in political affairs and they play no role in the rotation of power.

(b) Forming military militias outside the framework of the armed forces is banned.

(c) The Iraqi armed forces and its personnel — including military personnel working in the Defense Ministry and in any offices or organizations subordinate to it — are not allowed to run as candidates in elections for political office. They should not engage in election campaigning for candidates and should not take part in activities forbidden by the regulations of the Defense Ministry. This ban includes the activities of the previously mentioned individuals acting in their personal or professional capacities, but does not include their right to vote in the elections.

d) The Iraqi national intelligence service shall gather information and assess threats to national security and offers advice to the Iraqi government. It is under civilian control; it is subjected to the supervision of the executive authority; it operates according to the law and to recognized human rights principles.

e) The Iraqi government shall respect and implement Iraq's international commitments regarding the nonproliferation, non-development, non-production, and non-use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Associated equipment, material, technologies, and communications systems for use in the development, manufacture, production, and use of such weapons shall be banned.

2nd — Military service shall be regulated by a law.

Article (10): The holy shrines and religious sites in Iraq are religious and cultural entities. The state is committed to maintain and protect their sanctity and ensure the exercising of (religious) rites freely in them.

Article (11): Baghdad is the capital of the republic of Iraq.

Article (12):

1st — The flag, emblem and national anthem of Iraq shall be fixed by law in a way that symbolizes the components of the Iraqi people.

2nd — Medals, official holidays, religious and national occasions and the official calendar shall be fixed by law.

Article (13):

1st — This constitution shall be considered as the supreme and highest law in Iraq. It shall be binding throughout the whole country without exceptions.

2nd — No law that contradicts this constitution shall be passed; any passage in the regional constitutions and any other legal passages that contradict this constitution shall be considered null.

Chapter Two: Rights and Freedoms

*Part One: Rights
**First: Civil and political rights
**Second: Economic, social and cultural rights
*Part Two: Freedoms
Chapter Two details the rights and freedoms of all Iraqis. It details what determines a natural Iraqi citizen and what rights each citizen has regarding that status. Basic rights are defined regarding trial and punishment, personal liberty, ownership, health care, education, and observance of family. Personal freedoms and the right to religion, assembly, and movement are guaranteed.

SECTION ONE: RIGHTS

FIRST: Civil and Political Rights

Article 14:

Iraqis are equal before the law without discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, origin, color, religion, creed, belief or opinion, or economic and social status.

Article 15:

Every individual has the right to enjoy life, security and liberty. Deprivation or restriction of these rights is prohibited except in accordance with the law and based on a decision issued by a competent judicial authority.

Article 16:

Equal opportunities are guaranteed for all Iraqis. The state guarantees the taking of the necessary measures to achieve such equal opportunities.

Article 17:

First: Every individual shall have the right to personal privacy, so long it does not contradict the rights of others and public morals.

Second: The sanctity of the homes is inviolable and homes may not be entered, searched, or put in danger, except by a judicial decision, and in accordance with the law.

Article 18:

(First: Iraqi nationality is the right of every Iraqi and shall be the basis of his citizenship.)

(Second: An Iraqi is any person born to an Iraqi father or mother. This will regulated by law.)

Third:

A. An Iraqi citizen by birth may not have his nationality withdrawn for any reason. Any person who had his nationality withdrawn shall have the right to reclaim it, and this will be stipulated by law.

B. The Iraqi nationality shall be withdrawn from the naturalized in the cases stipulated by law.

Fourth: An Iraqi may have multiple nationalities. Everyone who assumes a senior, security sovereign position must abandon any other acquired nationality. This will be organized by law.

Fifth: Iraqi citizenship shall not be granted for the purposes of the policy of settling people that cause an imbalance in the population composition of Iraq.

Sixth: A law shall regulate the provisions of nationality. The competent courts shall consider the suits resulting from it.

Article 19:

First: The judiciary is independent and no power is above the judiciary except the law.

Second: There is no crime or punishment except by a stipulation. The punishment shall only be for an act that the law considers a crime when perpetrated. A harsher sentence than the applicable sentence at the time of the offense may not be imposed.

Third: Litigation shall be a safeguarded and guaranteed right for all.

Fourth: The right to a defense shall be sacred and guaranteed in all phases of investigation and trial.

Fifth: The accused is innocent until proven guilty in a fair legal trial. The accused may not be tried on the same crime for a second time after acquittal unless new evidence is produced.

Sixth: Every person has the right to be treated with justice in judicial and administrative proceedings.

Seventh: The proceedings of a trial are public unless the court decides to make it secret.

Eighth: Punishment is personal.

Ninth: A law does not have a retroactive effect unless the law stipulates otherwise. This exclusion shall not include laws relating to taxes and fees.

Tenth: Criminal law does not have a retroactive effect, unless it is to the benefit of the accused.

Eleventh: The court shall delegate a lawyer at the expense of the state for an accused of a felony or misdemeanor who does not have a defense lawyer.

Twelfth:

A. (Unlawful) detention is prohibited.

B. detention or arrest is prohibited in places not designed for it, pursuant to prison regulations covered by health and social care and subject to the scrutiny of the law.

Thirteenth: The preliminary investigative documents must be submitted to the competent judge in a period not to exceed twenty-four hours from the time of the arrest of the accused. It may be extended only once and for the same period.

Article 20:

The citizens, men and women, have the right to participate in public affairs and to enjoy political rights including the right to vote, to elect and to nominate. Article 21:

First: No Iraqi shall be surrendered to foreign entities and authorities.

Second: A law shall regulate the right of political asylum to Iraq. No political refugee shall be surrendered to a foreign entity or returned forcibly to the country from which he fled.

Third: No political asylum shall be granted to a person accused of committing international or terrorist crimes or any person who inflicted damage on Iraq.

SECOND: Economic, social and cultural liberties

Article 22:

First: Work is a right for all Iraqis so as to guarantee them a decent living.

Second: The law regulates the relationship between employees and employers on economic basis and with regard to the foundations of social justice.

Third: The State guarantees the right of forming and joining professional associations and unions. This will be organized by law.

Article 23:

First: Personal property is protected. The proprietor shall have the right to benefit from, exploit and utilize personal property within the limits of the law.

Second: No property may be taken away except for the purposes of public benefit in return for just compensation. This will be organized by law.

Third:

A. Every Iraqi has the right to own property throughout Iraq. No others may possess immovable assets, except as exempted by law.

B. Owning property for the purposes of population change shall be prohibited.

Article 24:

The State guarantees freedom of movement of Iraqi manpower, goods and capitals between regions and governorates. This will be organized by law.

Article 25:

The State guarantees the reform of the Iraqi economy in accordance with modern economic principles to ensure the full investment of its resources, diversification of its sources and the encouragement and the development of the private sector.

Article 26:

The state guarantees the encouragement of investments in the various sectors. This will be organized by law.

Article 27:

First: Public property is sacrosanct, and its protection is the duty of each citizen.

Second: The provisions related to the protection of State properties and its management and the conditions for its disposal and the limits under which none of these properties can be relinquished shall all be regulated by law.

Article 28:

First: No taxes or fines may be imposed, amended, exempted or pardoned from, except in accordance with law.

Second: Low wage earners shall be exempted from taxes in a manner that ensures the upholding of the minimum wage required for survival. This will be organized by law.

Article 29:

First:

A. The family is the foundation of society; the State preserves its entity and its religious, moral and patriotic values.

B. The State guarantees the protection of motherhood, childhood and old age and shall care for children and youth and provides them with the appropriate conditions to further their talents and abilities.

Second: Children have right over their parents in regard to upbringing, care and education. Parents shall have right over their children in regard to respect and care especially in times of need, disability and old age.

Third: Economic exploitation of children shall be completely prohibited. The State shall take the necessary measures to protect them.

Fourth: All forms of violence and abuse in the family, school and society shall be prohibited.

Article 30:

First: The state guarantee to the individual and the family -- especially children and women -- social and health security and the basic requirements for leading a free and dignified life. The state also ensures the above a suitable income and appropriate housing.

Second: The State guarantees the social and health security to Iraqis in cases of old age, sickness, employment disability, homelessness, orphanage or unemployment, and shall work to protect them from ignorance, fear and poverty. The State shall provide them housing and special programs of care and rehabilitation. This will be organized by law.

Article 31:

First: Every citizen has the right to health care. The state takes care of public health and provide the means of prevention and treatment by building different types of hospitals and medical institutions.

Second: Individuals and institutions may build hospitals or clinics or places for treatment with the supervision of the state and this shall be regulated by law.

Article 32:

The State cares for the handicapped and those with special needs and ensure their rehabilitation in order to reintegrate them into society. This shall be regulated by law.

Article 33:

First: Every individual has the right to live in a safe environment.

Second: The State undertakes the protection and preservation of the environment and biological diversity.

Article 34:

First: Education is a fundamental factor in the progress of society and is a right guaranteed by the state. Primary education is mandatory and the state guarantees to eradicate illiteracy.

Second: Free education is a right for all Iraqis in all its stages.

Third: The State encourages scientific research for peaceful purposes that serve man and supports excellence, creativity, invention and the different aspects of ingenuity.

Fourth: Private and public education is guaranteed. This shall be regulated by law.

SECTION TWO: LIBERTIES

Article 35:

First:

A. The liberty and dignity of man are safeguarded.

B. No person may be kept in custody or interrogated except in the context of a judicial decision.

C. All forms of psychological and physical torture and inhumane treatment shall be prohibited. Any confession coerced by force, threat, or torture shall not be relied on. The victim shall have the right to compensation in accordance with the law for material and moral damages incurred.

Second: The State guarantees the protection of the individual from intellectual, political and religious coercion.

Third: Compulsory service (unpaid labor), serfdom, slave trade (slavery), trafficking of women and children, and the sex trade is prohibited.

(Fourth: The State will promote cultural activities and institutions in a way that is appropriate with Iraq's civilizational history and culture. It will take care to depend on authentic Iraqi cultural trends.)

Article 36:

The state guarantees in a way that does not violate public order and morality:

A. Freedom of expression, through all means.

B. Freedom of press, printing, advertisement, media and publication.

C. Freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstration. This shall be regulated by law.

(D. Every Iraqi has the right to engage in sports, and the State should encourage its activities and promotion and will provide its necessities)

Article 37:

First: The freedom of forming and of joining associations and political parties is guaranteed. This will be organized by law.

Second: It is prohibited to force any person to join any party, society or political entity or force him to continue his membership in it.

Article 38:

The freedom of communication, and mail, telegraphic, electronic, and telephonic correspondence, and other correspondence shall be guaranteed and may not be monitored, wiretapped or disclosed except for legal and security necessity and by a judicial decision.

Article 39:

Iraqis are free in their commitment to their personal status according to their religions, sects, beliefs, or choices. This shall be regulated by law.

Article 40:

Each individual has freedom of thought, conscience and belief.

Article 41:

First: The followers of all religions and sects are free in the:

A. Practice of religious rites, including the Husseini ceremonies (Shiite religious ceremonies)

B. Management of the endowments, its affairs and its religious institutions. The law shall regulate this.

Second: The state guarantees freedom of worship and the protection of the places of worship.

Article 42:

First: Each Iraqi enjoys the right of free movement, travel, and residence inside and outside Iraq.

Second: No Iraqi may be exiled, displaced or deprived from returning to the homeland.

Article 43:

First: The State shall seek to strengthen the role of civil society institutions, to support, develop and preserve its independence in a way that is consistent with peaceful means to achieve its legitimate goals. This will be organized by law.

Second: The State shall seek the advancement of the Iraqi clans and tribes and shall attend to their affairs in a manner that is consistent with religion and the law and upholds its noble human values in a way that contributes to the development of society. The State shall prohibit the tribal traditions that are in contradiction with human rights.

Article 44:

There may not be a restriction or limit on the practice of any rights or liberties stipulated in this constitution, except by law or on the basis of it, and insofar as that limitation or restriction does not violate the essence of the right or freedom. Washington Post

Chapter Three: The Federal Authorities

Chapter Three breaks the federal government into four branches: legislative, executive, judicial, and independent associations.

*Part One: The Legislative Authority
**First: The Council of Representatives (Parliament)
**Second: The Council of Union

Part One, The Legislative Authority describes the two legislative councils.

In addition to creating new law, the Council of Representatives is responsible for certifying treaties and international agreements; approving high level judicial, military, and ambassadorial appointments; and approving the budget and final accounting presented by the Cabinet. The Council also elects the President of the Republic and can remove him for violating oath, constitution, or treason; it may also remove the Prime Minister in a no-confidence vote. The Council of Representatives may declare war with a two-thirds vote and requests by both the President and Prime Minister. The Council of Representatives may be dissolved by a one-third vote of the Council or on requests of both the Prime Minister and the President.

The Council of Union is only tasked to examine bills related to regions and provinces. Its creation, powers, and dissolution are to be determined by law.


*Part Two: The Executive Authority
**First: The President
**Second: The Cabinet

Part Two, The Executive Authority, describes the President of the Republic and the Cabinet.

These articles detail the requirements for a presidential candidate and the two-thirds vote in the Council of Representatives necessary to appoint a President of the Republic. This section specifies the President’s term, appointments, military leadership, and legislative approval powers. Described as the "symbol of the nation's unity", the president is not directly elected by the people and his powers are mostly ceremonial or protocolary in nature, or require that he act with the approval of the prime minister or the Council of Representatives. Presidential succession goes first to the Deputy of the President of the Republic then to the president of the Council of Representatives.

(According to Article 148 of the Transitional Guidelines (see below), until the Council of Representatives enters its second period of sessions, the President of the Republic shall be replaced by a three-member Presidential Council, comprising a president and two deputy presidents, appointed in the fashion described above. The decisions of this Presidential Council are to be adopted by unanimity.)

One of the President's functions is to appoint the leader of the majority party in the Council of Representatives to serve as Prime Minister. The Prime Minister then selects the members of his Cabinet, and these ministerial appointments are subject to a confirmation vote in the Council. If the Prime Minister fails to garner support for his Cabinet within 15 days, the President selects another candidate to try to form a government.

Cabinet has the power to plan and implement the general policy of the state, propose laws and budgets, negotiate treaties, and oversee the national intelligence service and the security apparatuses. The Prime Minister has direct executive responsibility for the general policy of the nation, is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and presides over the Cabinet.


*Part Three: The Judiciary
**First: The Supreme Judiciary Council
**Second: The Supreme Federal Court
**Third: General Provisions

Part Three, The Judiciary, creates an independent judicial branch of government to oversee correct application of laws according to this constitution. The Judiciary consists of:

  • Supreme Judiciary Council
  • Supreme Federal Court
  • Federal Cassation Court
  • Prosecutor's Office
  • Judiciary Inspection Department
  • other federal courts organized by law

The Supreme Judiciary Council administers the judicial branch, nominates members of the courts and departments, and presents the judicial budget to the legislature. The Supreme Federal Court is the highest court in Iraq, oversees election results, and also rules in case of accusations against the President or Prime Minister. Private courts are banned and it is forbidden to create any law that protects an administrative action or decision from being challenged in court.


*Part Four: Independent Associations

Part Four, Independent Associations creates government organizations outside of the first three branches. These are considered independent but their actions are subject to legislation and supervision by other branches. The following are established in these articles:

  • Supreme Commission for Human Rights
  • Supreme Independent Commission for Elections
  • Integrity Agency
  • Iraqi Central Bank
  • Financial Inspection Office
  • Media and Communications Agency
  • Offices of (religious) Endowments
  • Institution of the Martyrs
  • Federal Public Service Council

Chapter Four: Powers of the Federal Authorities

Chapter Four, Powers of the Federal Authorities, gives exclusive power to the federal government over:

  • Foreign policy and negotiation
  • National defence policy
  • Financial and customs policies
  • Standards, naturalization, the radio spectrum, and the mail
  • Budget
  • Census
  • Water and oil policies
  • Welfare programs

Powers are shared with regional authorities: regional customs, electrical power, environmental policy, public planning, health, and education. Article 111 defines the breakdown of authority between the regions and the federal government: anything not written in the exclusive powers of the federal authorities is in the authority of the regions and, in the event of a dispute, priority will be given to the region's law.

Oil is defined as the property of all Iraqi people (Art. 109) and is to be managed by the federal government in conjunction with regional and provincial governments, Article 110 attempts to define how oil revenue is to be distributed among the country's regions and provinces; however, beyond stating that it be done "fairly", the constitution does not go into specifics. It also could be read as referring solely to "current" oil fields, not ones opened up in the future.

Chapter Five: Authorities of the Regions

Chapter Five, Authorities of the Regions, describes the form of Iraq's federation. It begins by stating that the republic's federal system is made up of the capital, regions, decentralized provinces, and local administrations.

*Part One: Regions
The country's future Regions are to be established from its current 18 governorates (or provinces). Any single province, or group of provinces, is entitled to request that it be recognized as a region, with such a request being made by either two-thirds of the members of the provincial councils in the provinces involved or by one-tenth of the registered voters in the province(s) in question.

Art. 117 paragraph 3 is of relevance to the contentious issue of oil revenues, stating that "Regions and provinces shall be allocated an equitable share of the national revenues sufficient to discharge their responsibilities and duties, but having regard to their resources, needs and the percentage of their population."

*Part Two: Provinces not organized into a Region

Provinces that are unwilling or unable to join a region still enjoy enough autonomy and resources to enable them to manage their own internal affairs according to the principle of administrative decentralization. With the two parties' approval, federal government responsibilities may be delegated to the provinces, or vice versa. These decentralized provinces are headed by Provincial Governors, elected by Provincial Councils. The administrative levels within a province are defined, in descending order, as districts, counties and villages.

*Part Three: The Capital

Article 120 states that Baghdad is the Capital of the Republic, within the boundaries of Baghdad Governorate. The constitution makes no specific reference to the status of the capital and its surrounding governorate within the federal structure, stating merely that its status is to be regulated by law.

*Part Four: Local Administrations

Consisting solely of Article 121, Part Four simply states that the constitution guarantees the administrative, political, cultural, and educational rights of the country's various ethnic groups (Turkmens, Assyrians, etc.), and that legislation will be adopted to regulate those rights.

Chapter Six: Final and Transitional Guidelines

*First: Final Guidelines
*Second: Transitional Guidelines

Changes

On 18 September 2005, several changes to the text of the constitution were approved by Iraq's parliament, and will be included in the version published for ratification by the public. Also, a new compromise was made which caused many Sunni groups to support the constitution. Many of the links to the Constitution use the 24 August 2005 AP wire translation; however, the American Chronicle uses a slightly different translation dated 12 October 2005.

Drafting

The constitution was drafted by a committee appointed by the Iraqi Transitional Government that was elected in January 2005. In order to include fair representative from the Sunni Arab minority, which had largely boycotted that vote, additional members were co-opted onto the committee from outside the National Assembly.

See also: Members of the Iraqi Constitution Drafting Committee.

Adoption

The Constitution was adopted on 15 October 2005 in a referendum of the people.

Amendment

Under a compromise brokered before the referendum, it was agreed that the first parliament that was to be elected pursuant to the new constitution would institute a Constitutional Review Committee with a view to determine whether the constitution should be amended. Any amendments agreed would have to be ratified by a similar referendum to the one that originally approved it. After this agreement was entered into, the Sunni-majority Iraqi Islamic Party agreed to back a Yes vote in the referendum that took place on 15 October 2005. The Constitutional Review Committee was constituted by the Iraqi parliament on 25 September 2006.

1968-2003 Constitution of Iraq

Chapter I - The Republic of Iraq

Article 1 [State Form] Iraq is a Sovereign People's Democratic Republic. Its basic objective is the realization of one Arab State and the build-up of the socialist system.

Article 2 [Authority] The people are the source of authority and its legitimacy.

Article 3 [Sovereignty, Territory] (a) The sovereignty of Iraq is an indivisible entity. (b) The territory of Iraq is an indivisible entity of which no part can be ceded.

Article 4 [State Religion] Islam is the religion of the State.

Article 5 [Nationalities] (a) Iraq is a part of the Arab Nation. (b) The Iraqi People are composed of two principal nationalisms: the Arab Nationalism and the Kurdish Nationalism. (c) This Constitution acknowledges the national rights of the Kurdish People and the legitimate rights of all minorities within the Iraqi unity.

Article 6 [Iraqi Nationality] The Iraqi nationality is regulated by the law.

Article 7 [Languages] (a) Arabic is the official language. (b) The Kurdish language is official, besides Arabic, in the Kurdish Region.

Article 8 [Capital, Decentralization] (a) Baghdad is the Capital of the Iraqi Republic, and it can be transferred by law. (b) The Iraqi Republic is divided into administrative units and is organized on the basis of decentralization.

Article 9 [Flag, Emblem] The Flag of the Iraqi Republic, its Emblem, and stipulations concerning the two, are regulated by law.

Chapter II - Social and Economic Foundations of the Iraqi Republic

Article 10 [Social Solidarity] The social solidarity is the first foundation for the Society. Its essence is that every citizen accomplishes his duty in full, and that the Society guarantees the citizen's rights and liberties in full.

Article 11 [Family, Mothers, Children] The family is the nucleus of the Society. The State secures its protection and support, and ensures maternal and child care.

Article 12 [Economy, Arab Unity] The State assumes the responsibility for planning, directing and steering the national economy for the purpose of: (a) Establishing the socialist system on scientific and revolutionary foundations.
(b) Realizing the economic Arab unity.

Article 13 [Public Property and Planning] National resources and basic means of production are owned by the People. They are directly invested by the Central Authority in the Iraqi Republic, according to exigencies of the general planning of the national economy.

Article 14 [Cooperation] The State secures, encourages, and supports all types of cooperation in production, distribution, and consumption.

Article 15 [Public Property] Public ownership and properties of the Public Sector are inviolable. The State and all People are responsible for safeguarding, securing, and protecting it. Any sabotage to it or aggression against it, is considered as sabotage and aggression against the entity of the Society.

Article 16 [Ownership, Private Property] (a) Ownership is a social function, to be exercised within the objectives of the Society and the plans of the State, according to stipulations of the law. (b) Private ownership and economic individual liberty are guaranteed according to the law, and on the basis of not exercising them in a manner incompatible with the economic and general planning. (c) Private property is not expropriated except for considerations of public interest and for just compensation in accordance with the law. (d) The maximum limit of agricultural property is prescribed by the law; the surplus is owned by the People.

Article 17 [Inheritance] Inheritance is a guaranteed right, regulated by the law.

Article 18 [Foreigners' Property] Immobile ownership is prohibited for non-Iraqi, except otherwise mentioned by a law.

Chapter III - Fundamental Rights and Duties

Article 19 [Equality] (a) Citizens are equal before the law, without discrimination because of sex, blood, language, social origin, or religion. (b) Equal opportunities are guaranteed to all citizens, according to the law.

Article 20 [Criminal Trial] (a) An accused is presumed to be innocent, until proved guilty at a legal trial. (b) The right of defense is sacred, in all stages of proceedings and prosecution. (c) Courts sessions are public, unless it becomes secret by a court's decision.

Article 21 [Penalty, Punishment] (a) Penalty is personal. (b) There can be no crime, nor punishment, except in conformity with the law. No penalty shall be imposed, except for acts punishable by the law, while they are committed. A severer penalty than that prescribed by the law, when the act was committed, cannot be inflicted.

Article 22 [Dignity, Personal Integrity, Arrest, Home] (a) The dignity of man is safeguarded. It is inadmissible to cause any physical or psychological harm. (b) It is inadmissible to arrest a person, to stop him, to imprison him or to search him, except in accordance with the rules of the law. (c) Homes have their sanctity. It is inadmissible to enter or search them, except in accordance with the rules of the law.

Article 23 [Communication] The secrecy of means of communications by mail, telegrams, and telephones is guaranteed. It is inadmissible to disclose it, except for considerations of justice and security, in accordance with the rules prescribed by the law.

Article 24 [Right to Move] It is inadmissible to prevent the citizen from the departure from the Country or returning to it, nor to restrict his moves or resi-dence in the Country, except in cases laid down by the law.

Article 25 [Religion] Freedom of religion, faith, and the exercise of religious rites, is guaranteed, in accordance with the rules of constitution and laws and in compliance with morals and public order.

Article 26 [Expression, Association] The Constitution guarantees freedom of opinion, publication, meeting, demonstrations and formation of political parties, syndicates, and societies in accordance with the objectives of the Constitution and within the limits of the law. The State ensures the considerations necessary to exercise these liberties, which comply with the revolutionary, national, and progressive trend.

Article 27 [Education] (a) The State undertakes the struggle against illiteracy and guarantees the right of education, free of charge, in its primary, secondary, and university stages, for all citizens. (b) The State strives to make the primary education compulsory, to expand vocational and technical education in cities and rural areas, and to encourage particularly night education which enables the popular masses to combine science and work. (c) The State guarantees the freedom of scientific research, encourages and rewards excellence and initiative in all mental, scientific, and artistic activities and all aspects of popular excellence.

Article 28 [Educational Goals] Education has the objective of raising and developing the general educational level, promoting scientific thinking, animating the research spirit, responding to exigencies of economic and social evolution and development programs, creating a national, liberal and progressive generation, strong physically and morally, proud of his people, his homeland and heritage, aware of all his national rights, and who struggles against the capitalistic ideology, exploitation, reaction, zionism, and imperialism for the purpose of realizing the Arab unity, liberty, and socialism.

Article 29 [Progress] The State undertakes to make available, the means of enjoying the achievements of modernization, by the popular masses and to generalize the progressive accomplishments of contemporary civilization on all citizens.

Article 30 [Public Office] (a) Public office is a sacred confidence and a social service; its essence is the honest and conscious obligation to the interests of the masses, their rights and liberties, in accordance with the rules of the constitution and the laws. (b) Equality in the appointment for public offices is guaranteed by the law.

Article 31 [Armed Forces] (a) The defense of the homeland is a sacred duty and honor for the citizens; conscription is compulsory and regulated by the law. (b) Armed Forces belong to the People and are entrusted with ensuring his security, defending his independence, protecting the safety and the integrity of the people and territory, and realizing his national and regional objectives and aspirations. (c) The State alone establishes the Armed Forces. No other organization or group, is entitled to establish military or para-military formations.

Article 32 [Right, Honor, and Duty to Work] (a) Work is a right, which is ensured to be available for every able citizen. (b) Work is an honor and a sacred duty for every able citizen, and is indispensable by the necessity to participate in building the society, protecting it, and realizing its evolution and prosperity. (c) The State undertakes to improve the conditions of work, and raise the standard of living, experience, and culture for all working citizens. (d) The State undertakes to provide the largest scale of social securities for all citizens, in cases of sickness, disability, unemployment, or aging. (e) The State undertakes to elaborate the plan to secure the means necessary, to enable the working citizens to pass their vacations in an atmosphere, which enables them to improve their health standard, and to promote their cultural and artistic talents.

Article 33 [Health] The State assumes the responsibility to safeguard the public health by continually expanding free medical services, in protection, treatment, and medicine, within the scope of cities and rural areas.

Article 34 [Right to Asylum] (a) The Iraqi Republic grants the right of political asylum for all militants, persecuted in their countries because of defending the liberal and human principles which are assumed by the Iraqi People in this Constitution. (b) The extradition of political refugees is prohibited. Article 35 [Taxes] Payment of taxes is the duty of every citizen. Taxes cannot be imposed, nor modified, nor levied, except by a law. Article 36 [Prohibited Activity] It is prohibited to exercise any activity against the objectives of the People, stipulated in this Constitution. Every act or behavior, having for purpose to crumble the national unity of the popular masses or to provoke racial, sectarian, or regional discrimination among them, or to be hostile to their gains and progressive achievements.

Chapter IV - Institutions of the Iraqi Republic

Section I. The Revolutionary Command Council

Article 37 [Supreme Institution] The Revolutionary Command Council is the supreme institution in the State, which on 17 July 1968, assumed the responsibility to realize the public will of the people, by removing the authority from the reactionary, individual, and corruptive regime, and returning it to the people.

Article 38 [Competencies] The Revolutionary Command Council exercises the following competencies by a twothird majority of its members: (a) Electing a President from its members, called President of the Revolutionary Council, who is President of the Republic. (b) Electing a Vice-President from its members, called Vice-President of the Revolutionary Command Council, who replaces the President, as qualified in the preceding paragraph, in case of his official absence or in case of the impossibility of exercising his constitutional competencies or any legitimate reason. (c) Selecting new members for the Council, from members of the Regional Leadership of the Socialist Arab Ba'ath Party, not to exceed twelve members. (d) Taking a decision concerning the resignation of the President, and Vice-President or any of the Council's members. (e) Relieving any member of the Council's membership. (f) Accusing and prosecuting members of the Revolutionary Command Council, Vice- Presidents, and Ministers.

Article 39 [Oath] The President of the Revolutionary Command Council, the Vice-President and the members take the following oath before the Council: "I swear by Allah almighty, by my honor and by my faith to preserve the Republican system, to commit myself to its Constitution and laws, to look after the independence of the Country, its security and territorial integrity and to do my best earnestly and sincerely to realize the objectives of the Arab Nation for Unity, Freedom and Socialism."

Article 40 [Immunity] The President of the Revolutionary Command Council, the Vice-President, and the members enjoy full immunity. No measures can be taken against any of them without a priori permission of the Council.

Article 41 (a) The President, the Vice-President, or one third of the members can call a meeting of the Revolutionary Command Council. Meetings held are presided by the President or the Vice-President and are attended by the majority of the members. (b) Meetings and debates of the Revolutionary Command Council are closed. Disclosing it, invokes constitutional responsibility before the Council. Decisions of the Council are declared, published and communicated by the means specified in this Constitution. (c) Laws and decisions are ratified in the Council by the majority of its members, except otherwise stipulated by the Constitution.

Article 42 [General Competencies] The Revolutionary Command Council exercises the following competencies: (a) Issuing laws and decrees having the force of the law. (b) Issuing decisions indispensable for applying the rules of the enacted laws.

Article 43 [Majority Competencies] The Revolutionary Command Council excises the following competencies by the majority its members: (a) Ratifying matters of the Ministry of Defense and Public Security, elaborating the laws and taking the decisions in whatever concerns them from the point of view of organization and competencies. (b) Declaring the public mobilization totally or partially, declaring the war, accepting the truce, and concluding the peace. (c) Ratifying the draft general budget of the state, independent and investment budgets annexed to it, and ratifying final accounts. (d) Ratifying treaties and international agreements. (e) Elaborating its internal rules of procedure, determining its competencies, ratifying its budget, appointing its officials, determining rewards and remunerations of the President, the Vice-President, its members and officials. (f) Elaborating the rules regarding the prosecution of its members, concerning the formation of the court and the procedures to be followed in it. (g) Vesting its President or the Vice-President with some of his competencies prescribed in this Constitution, except legislative competencies.

Article 44 [Presidential Competencies] The President of the Revolutionary Command Council undertakes: (a) Presiding over the meetings of the Council, representing it, controlling its sessions, and issuing orders for expenditure. (b) Signing all laws and decisions issued by the Council and publishing them in the Official Gazette. (c) Supervising the activities of Ministries and organizations in the State, calling Ministers to discuss matters concerning their Ministries and questioning them in case of necessity, and notifying the Revolutionary Command Council regarding that.

Article 45 [Responsibility] The President of the Revolutionary Command Council, the Vice-President, and its members, each is responsible before the Council, for violating the Constitution or for breaking the constituencies of the constitutional oath, or for any action or behavior, considered by the Council as disgracing the honor of the responsibility which he assumes.

Section II. The National Council

Article 46 [Composition] The National Council is composed of the People's representatives from various political, economic, and social sectors. Its formation, membership, work procedures, and its jurisdiction are determined by a special law, called the National Council Law.

Article 47 [Sessions] The National Council must be held in two ordinary sessions every year. The President can call it for an extraordinary meeting in case of necessity, and the meeting is restricted to matters which necessitated calling the meeting. Sessions of the National Council are held and dismissed by a decision of the Revolutionary Command Council.

Article 48 [Publicity] The meetings of the Council are public, unless it is decided that some are to be held closed according to rules specified in its law.

Article 49 [Indemnity] (a) Members of the National Council are not censured for opinions or suggestions expressed by them in the performance of their task. (b) No member of the Council can be pursed or arrested for a crime committed during a meeting session without permission of the Council, except in the case of flagrante delicto.

Article 50 [Organization] The National Council undertakes: (a) Elaborating its internal statute, determining its competencies, deciding its budget, and appointing its employees. Rewards and remunerations of its President and members are determined by a law. (b) Elaborating rules for accusing and prosecuting its members, in case of committing one of the actions stipulated in Article 55 of this Constitution.

Article 51 [Command Council Bills] (1) The National Council considers the draft laws proposed by the Revolutionary Command Council within fifteen days from the date of their delivery to the office of the Presidency of the National Council. If the Council approves the draft, it is sent to the President of the Republic, to be promulgated; but if it is rejected or modified by the National Council, it is returned to the Revolutionary Command Council. If this latter approves the modification, it sends the draft to the President of the Republic, to be promulgated. (2) If the Revolutionary Command Council insists upon its point of view, in the second reading, it is returned to the National Council, to be reviewed in a common meeting between the two Councils; the decision taken by a two-thirds majority, is considered final.

Article 52 [Presidential Bills] The National Council considers within fifteen days the draft laws presented to it by the President of the Republic. (1) If the Council rejects the draft, it is returned to the President of the Republic with the reasons which justified the rejection. (2) If the Council approves the draft, it is sent to the Revolutionary Command Council and becomes issuable after that Council approves it. (3) If the National Council modifies the draft, it is sent to the Revolutionary Command Council and becomes issuable if that Council approves it. (4) But if the Revolutionary Command Council opposes to modifying the draft, or if it makes another modification, it is once again returned to the National Council within a week. (5) If the National Council approves the point of view of the evolutionary Command Council, it sends the draft to the President of the Republic for promulgating it. (6) But if the National Council insists, in the second reading, upon its point of view, a common meeting of the two Councils is held and the draft issued by two-thirds majority is considered definite and is sent to the President of the Republic to be promulgated.

Article 53 [National Council Bills] The National Council considers the draft law presented by a quarter of its members, in other than military, financial matters, and public security affairs. (1) If the Council approves the draft law, it is sent to the Revolutionary Command Council to be considered within fifteen days from its delivery to the Council's Office. (2) If the Revolutionary Command Council approves it, the draft is sent to the President of the Republic to be promulgated. (3) If the Revolutionary Command Council rejects the draft, it is returned to the National Council. (4) If the Revolutionary Command Council modifies the draft, it is returned to the National Council. (5) If this latter insists upon its point of view, in the second reading, a common meeting for the two Councils is held, presided over by the President of the Revolutionary Command Council or the Vice-President. The draft issued by two-thirds majority is considered definite and is sent to the President of the Republic to be promulgated.

Article 54 [Debate] (a) Vice-Presidents of the Republic, Ministers, and those at their rank, have the right to attend the meetings of the National Council and to participate in its debates. (b) The National Council, with a permission of the President of the Republic, has the right to call Ministers for the purpose of clarification or investigation. Article 55 [Responsibility] The President of the National Council and every member of it, is responsible before the Council for violating the Constitution or for breaking the constituencies of the constitutional oath or for any action or behavior, considered by the National Council as disgracing the honor of the responsibility which he assumes.

Section III. President of the Republic

Article 56 [Head of State, Supreme Command] (a) The President of the Republic is the Head of the State and the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and he exercises the Executive Authority directly or by the assistance of his Deputies and Ministers, according to the rules of the Constitution. (b) The President of the Republic issues the decrees necessary for exercising his competencies stipulated in this Constitution.

Article 57 [Competencies] The President of the Republic exercises the following competencies: (a) Preserving the independence of the Country, its territorial integrity, safeguarding its internal and external security, and protecting the rights and liberties of all citizens. (b) Declaring the state of total and partial emergency and ending it according to the law. (c) Appointing the Vice-Presidents of the Republic and relieving them of their posts. (d) Appointing the governors, the judges, and all civil and military State employees, promoting them, terminating their services, placing them on disponibility, and granting badges of honor and military grades, according to the law. (e) Elaborating the draft general State budget, the independent and investment budgets annexed to it, and ratifying the final accounts of these budgets and referring them to the National Council to discuss them. (f) Preparing the general plan of the State in all economic and social affairs, elaborated by competent Ministries and referring it to the National Council. (g) Contracting and granting loans, supervising the organization and administration of money and credit. (h) Supervising all the public utilities, official and quasi-official organizations and public sector organizations. (i) Directing and controlling the work of Ministries and public organizations and coordinating them. (j) Conducting negotiations and concluding agreements and international treaties. (k) Accepting the diplomatic and international representatives in Iraq and demanding their withdrawal. (l) Appointing and accrediting the Iraqi diplomatic representatives in Arab and foreign Capitals and in international conferences and organizations. (m) Issuing special amnesty and ratifying judgments of capital punishment. (n) Supervising the good enforcement of the Constitution, the laws, decisions, judicial judgments, and developmental plans in all parts of the Iraqi Republic. (o) Conferring some of his constitutional competencies to one or more of his deputies.

Article 58 [Control] Vice-Presidents of the Republic and Ministers are responsible for their functions before the President of the Republic. He has the right to bring any of them to trial according to the rules of Constitution, for functional errors committed by him, for exploiting the authority, or for misusing it.

Article 59 [Oath] Vice-President of the Republic and Ministers take the following oath before the President of the Republic, before assuming the responsibilities of their functions: "I swear by Allah almighty, by my honor and by my faith to preserve the Republican system, to commit myself to its Constitution and laws, to look after the independence of the Country, its security and territorial integrity, and to do my best earnestly and sincerely to realize the objectives of the People."

Section IV. The Judiciary

Article 60 [Independence, Recourse] (a) The judiciary is independent and is subject to no other authority save that of the law. (b) The right of litigation is ensured to all citizens. (c) The law determines the way of court formation, their levels, jurisdiction, and conditions for the appointment, transfer, promotion, litigation, and dismissal of judges and magistrates.

Article 61 [Prosecution] The law determines the posts of public prosecution, its agencies and conditions for the appointment of the attorneys general, their deputies, rules of their transfer, promotion, litigation, and dismissal.

Chapter V - General Provisions

Article 62 [Revolutionary Command Council Office] (a) To be member of the Revolutionary Command Council or Vice-President of the Republic or Minister, a person must be Iraqi by birth, born of two Iraqi parents, by birth also. (b) It is inadmissible for Members of the Revolutionary Command Council and Vice- Presidents of the Republic and Ministers, during their term of office, to pursue any private professional or commercial work or to buy any State property or to sell or exchange with the State any of their own properties.

Article 63 [Permanent Constitution] (a) The rules of this Constitution are enforced till the Permanent Constitution is promulgated. (b) This Constitution cannot be modified except by the Revolutionary Command Council and by a two-thirds majority of its members.

Article 64 [Publication of Laws] (a) Laws are published in the Official Gazette and are put into force, effective the date of publication, unless otherwise stipulated. (b) Laws have no retroactive effect, unless otherwise stipulated. This exception does not include penal laws, tax laws, and fiscal fees.

Article 65 [In the Name of The People] This Interim Constitution and all laws and judiciary judgments are promulgated and put into force, in the name of the People.

Article 66 [Continuity of Laws] All laws and decisions of the Revolutionary Command Council, enacted prior to the promulgation of this Constitution, remain in force and cannot be modified or abolished except in accordance with the procedures prescribed in this Constitution.

Article 67 [Promulgation, Publication] The President of the Revolutionary Command Council undertakes promulgating this Constitution and publishing it in the Official Gazette.

References

External articles

There are two versions of the draft constitution, and many (slightly different) translations of both texts are circulating on the Internet:

1. The final draft (September 2005), which was approved by referendum, contains 139 articles. All the mentioned translations slightly differ from each other; between brackets for comparison, the word used in article 2.A stating that no law may contradict "the established/fixed/undisputed rules of Islam":

2. The first published draft (August 2005), containing 153 articles, was later amended but is still broadly circulating thanks to an Associated Press translation (wherein articles 30.2 and 46 are missing):

3. The final version is now available with 144 articles, in both an official Arabic version and unofficial (though approved) English translation. See Wikisource for more.

other materials:

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