Territorial integrity, separation of political powers as well as respect for minority’s rights and international treaties are among the cornerstones of the leaked draft of the Russian proposed constitution for Syria obtained by RT.
The paper was distributed by the Russian side among the delegates of the Syrian peace negotiations, which wrapped up earlier this week in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Moscow has based its suggestions on what it heard “from the [Syrian] government, from the opposition and from the countries of the region”over the past few years.
The proposed Constitution, which RT obtained via an opposition source in Syria, envisions that the word “Arab” be omitted from the country’s official title. It states that “the Syrian Republic is an independent democratic sovereign state, based on the principles of people and supremacy of law and equality and social unity and respect of the rights and the liberties of all citizens without any differentiation.”It stresses that all “faiths and religious groups” are “respected,” as long as they do not violate public order.
“The names of the Syrian Republic and Syria are equal”.
The document envisages changing Syria’s borders only if the country’s nationals support the move via a referendum.
“Any loss of Syrian territories is not acceptable, change of state borders can only be allowed through a general referendum with the participation of all citizens and on the basis of the desire of the Syrian people.”
The draft further covers the rights of minorities in the country. It says, for instance, that “state bodies and organizations of the Kurdish cultural autonomy are using Kurdish and Arabic languages equally.”
It also notes that the status of the Kurdish autonomy “is defined by law.”
In terms of sovereignty, the Russian proposal says that Syria “is united, inviolable and indivisible.” Its territory is “inalienable” and the state borders can only be changed after a public referendum conducted “among all citizens of Syria.”
The draft also notes that the country builds its international relations “based on principles of good neighborliness, cooperation and mutual security and other principles envisioned by the international legal norms.” Syria also rejects war as a means “to resolve international conflicts” and does not use its armed forces to “suppress” own people.
The documents suggest that the cultural diversity of the Syrian society must be ensured. “Upon the national heritage which promotes national unity, the cultural diversity of the Syrian society will be ensured.”
Moreover, the draft constitution proposed by Russia suggests extension of the Syrian parliament’s powers so that it could declare war, impeach the president and approve the head of the Central Bank.
“The People’s Assembly will be responsible for … decisions on war and peace issues, the removal of the president from the office, appointment of the members of the Supreme Constitutional Court, appointment of the head of the Syrian National Bank and his dismissal from office.”
The document also suggests the Syrian army not to be allowed to interfere in politics or used as a means of oppression.
“The [Syrian] armed forces and other armed units are under the society’s supervision and they will protect Syria and its territorial integrity. They should not be used as a means of oppression of Syrian people and interfere in the sphere of political interests. They do not play a role in the process of transition of power.”
The constitutional proposals for Syria suggest that international law should be a priority in case domestic law contradicts it. The document stipulates the supremacy of the international law.
“The recognized principles and provisions of the international law and Syria’s international treaties are an integral part of its legal system. If an international treaty defines different rules than that of the Syrian law, then the rules of the international treaty will be used.”
Russian constitutional proposals for Syria that were presented to the opposition during Astana talks stipulate that all confessions and nationalities must be given equal representation in the government, the document reads.
“The nomination to the posts of Vice Prime Minister and ministers shall adhere to the proportional representation of all ethnic and national factions of the Syrian population, while certain posts shall be preserved for national and sectarian minorities. The president and the prime minister have the right to consult in this regard with the representatives of the People’s Assembly and regions,” Russian-proposed constitutional draft reads.
According to the draft Constitution, the executive branch of power in the country is represented by the President and his government. The President is elected by a public vote and can serve a maximum of two terms with seven years each. The People’s Assembly serves as a parliament, passing laws which later should be forwarded for approval to the Assembly of Territories and then to the President.
It says the country’s leader can be stripped of his powers by the Assembly of Territories in case the People’s Assembly formally accuses the leader of committing “treason” or any other “severe crime.”
The highest part of the Judiciary is the Constitutional Court, which among others oversees the legality of laws, decrees and other forms of legislation. The proposed Russian draft notes also that all judges are “independent.”
“The Constitution shall come into force on the day of its official publication following the results of the public referendum,”the draft submitted to the Astana delegations says.