Strengthening the Implementation of the Constitution
Not only has the security situation in Afghanistan worsened in recent years; the political situation in Afghanistan is also unstable and presents the country with great challenges. With the aim of contributing to the stabilisation of Afghanistan, the Max Planck Foundation has been supporting Afghan institutions for many years in establishing a durable rule of law framework. In the current project, the Foundation provides its expertise to assist the country in addressing constitutional issues.
As part of their agreement to create a National Unity Government in 2014, the two candidates pledged constitutional reform after the formation of their government - among others to retroactively create a constitutional basis for their form of government. To this end, however, district councils would first have to be elected whose presidents, according to Article 110 of the Afghan constitution, are constituent members of a constitutional Loya Jirga.
In addition to supporting necessary constitutional reforms, it is also important that provisions of the constitution be effectively implemented. One of the problems is that institutions provided for in the constitution sometimes do not exist or do not fulfil their mandates in accordance with the constitution. There is a lack of clarity, for example, regarding the Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of the Constitution (ICOIC) mandated by Article 157 of the Afghan Constitution.
Support of the ICOIC
The Foundation is, therefore, working with the ICOIC to strengthen its capacity to carry out its mandate more effectively. On the one hand, this includes consultancies on strategic issues and, on the other hand, professional trainings on relevant constitutional law topics for the Commission's legal staff.
In addition to further building capacities of State institutions, the strengthening of civil society, which is an essential actor demanding compliance with constitutional principles and constitutional reforms, is particularly important for the stabilisation of Afghanistan. For this reason, the project aims to empower Afghan civil society actors to participate in ongoing constitutional debates and to prepare them for the upcoming constitutional reform.
Collaboration with the Afghan Constitutional Studies Institution
The Afghan Constitutional Studies Institution (ACSI), a network of lawyers and non-lawyers (employees of governmental institutions, academics, journalists and NGO staff) who are engaged in constitutional issues, is ideal for this approach. The ACSI is being supported to independently participate - critically and constructively - in the constitutional discourse and in possible constitutional reforms. The Foundation specifically supports the ACSI in plenary sessions in which the members of the network coordinate their goals, priorities and strategies as well as in providing workshops on selected topics relevant to Afghan constitutional law, such as the Afghan electoral system, constitutional interpretation and jurisprudence as well as approaches to constitutional amendments.
In the long term, the project should contribute to the development of a strong constitutional culture in Afghanistan by strengthening civil society and constitutional institutions.
1 January 2018–31 December 2018