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Procedures for the Protection of Fundamental Rights

Challenges and Trends - Comparative Arab and International Perspectives

From 22 to 23 March, 2018, the Rule of Law Programme Middle East / North Africa of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung organized in cooperation with the Constitutional Council of Lebanon a workshop on “Procedures for the Protection of Fundamental Rights: Challenges and Trends - Comparative Arab and International Perspectives”. On this occasion, constitutional judges and legal experts from the MENA region gathered in Beirut to provide a comparative analysis on the development, challenges and effectiveness of constitutional review procedures in selected countries of the MENA region.

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In recent years, the institutions charged with judicial review in the countries of the MENA region (constitutional courts, constitutional councils, supreme courts, high tribunals etc.) are being reformed (e.g., Morocco, Tunisia) with regard to their functions in safeguarding constitutional rights. Some have been established for the first time (e.g., Bahrain in 2002, Iraq in 2004 or Saudi Arabia in 2009), indicating a rising awareness for the importance of constitutional review procedures as an instrument of judicial oversight and manifestation of societal change. Some have been attributed new competences, and new procedures have been introduced (e.g. “question prioritaire de constitutionnalité par voie d’exception”in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia). 

In cooperation with the Lebanese Constitutional Council, the Rule of Law Programme Middle East / North Africa of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung organized a workshop on “Procedures for the Protection of Fundamental Rights: Challenges and Trends - Comparative Arab and International Perspectives” that was held from 22 to 23 of March, 2018, in Beirut. The initiative is a fundamental contribution to strengthening the constitutional judiciary by defining and comparing best practices, analysing trends and challenges regarding the constitutional review procedures in Lebanon and other selected countries of the MENA-region. 

In this context, ambassadors, constitutional judges, and legal experts from Germany and five Arab countries (Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Morocco) gathered in Beirut to discuss, in particular, the following topics:

  1. Potential case overload and clogged court systems: The experts concluded that Arab and international experiences show that the concern about judicial clogging is not based on empirical studies. The load of referrals reduces with time as constitutional courts and councils develop their case law. 
  2. Continuous and comparative legal research: Strengthening the constitutional judiciary in the MENA region requires, according to the participants, continuous comparative research and an ongoing dialogue between judges of the region. 
  3.  Informing the public on the role and functioning of the constitutional justice: In order to consolidate the constitutional judiciary and to improve its effectiveness, it is essential to inform the public on the competences, role and functioning of the constitutional judiciary. 

 

During the workshop the experts highlighted the need to adopt best practices based on confirmed and successful experiences in the region, while being aware that these solutions always need to be adapted to the specific context and legal system in each country. 

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Dr. jur. Anja Schoeller-Schletter

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Sandy Haddad

Sandy

Project Manager

sandy.haddad@kas.de +961 1 385 094 | +961 1 395 094

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