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In recent years, the institutions charged with constitutional review in the countries of the MENA region (constitutional courts, constitutional councils, supreme courts, high tribunals, etc.) are being reformed (e.g., Morocco, Tunisia). 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 as an instrument for judicial oversight. While the number of online collections of constitutional documents has multiplied, a comprehensive survey of constitutional courts of the region is still lacking.
The goal of the series of workshops on “Mapping Constitutional Control in the MENA Region” was to address key topics of regional interest in the context of constitutional review, its institutions, procedures, impact, and challenges. The idea was to explore, compare, develop insights with regard to the different options and solutions developed by the various countries and internationally and to inspire debates on how to strengthen the role and independent of professional constitutional review institutions in the MENA region.
More than 40 international experts were invited throughout these past five workshops, taking place in different countries of the region, with presidents and members of constitutional courts and councils, international scholars, legal practitioners and parliamentarians contributing. Each workshop focused on a specific issue that is of high relevancy for the countries of the MENA region, in order to provide a forum of analysis and discussion:
- Nomination and Appointment Procedures of Justices to Constitutional Courts and Councils: Impact, Controversies, and Reform (Beirut, October 2017)
- Role of Religious Law/Courts in the Constitutional Order (Cadenabbia, November 2017)
- Constitutional Review Procedures for the Protection of Fundamental Rights – Recent Changes, Challenges and Reform Trends (Cadenabbia, March 2018 & Beirut, April 2018)
- Constitutional Review of Elections and Electoral Disputes in the MENA Region (Kuwait, April 2018)
- Role and Impact of Constitutional Courts / Councils in Relation with other High Courts (Amman, November 2018)
The Rule of Law Programme Middle East / North Africa is now presenting the key results and developments with a comparative perspective in an international symposium.
Following the structure of these events, the symposium’s core will comprise five workshops on the respective topics, with papers of past and first-time participants. Comparative remarks on the development of constitutional control in the MENA region will synthesize and wrap up the two-day workshop.
For an outlook to Europe, presentations include:
- the Vice-President of the European Court for Human Rights, Prof. Angelika Nussberger, on “Past developments and future perspectives for the protection of fundamental rights in Europe”,
- the former Justice to the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, Prof. Gertrude Lübbe-Wolff, on “How internal decision-making practices affect the role of Constitutional Courts”, and
- the Member of the German Bundestag and Parliamentary State Secretary to the German Ministry of Interior Prof. Günter Krings on “Importance of constitutional review for the establishment of the rule of law, challenges in Germany, and why the rule of law development in the MENA region matters to Germany/Europe.”