Monday, August 29, 2005

Iraq's Much Less Internationalist Constitution

The final draft of the permanent Iraqi Constitution can be found here. The lack of support from Sunni representatives and the Constitution's subordination of any law to "the undisputed rules of Islam" is certainly the big news.

It is also interesting to note, however, that the new Constitution cuts back substantially from the internationalist commitments of the interim Constitution. As I discussed here, the interim Constitution creates a set of rights, and also notes that Iraqis enjoy all "rights stipulated in international treaties and agreements ... and in the law of nations." This could be read to incorporate all customary international human rights law into the Iraqi system and it did not qualify this incorporation by subordinating international law to domestic Iraqi law.

But the new Constitution has much less to say about international law, subordinates internatonal treaties to the Constitution, and tosses out customary international law entirely. Article 44 states:

All individuals have the right to enjoy the rights stated in international human rights agreements and treaties endorsed by Iraq that don't run contrary to the principles and rules of this constitution.

Now, this is hardly the most important part of the Iraqi constitution. I imagine no Iraqis will vote down or vote for this constitution because of these provisions. But it is worth noting that Iraq has stepped back from the aggressive internationalism of its interim constitution and re-asserted the supremacy of Iraqi constitutional law (which by the way cannot contradict the "undisputed rules of Islam") over international human rights law.

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