CCJA and AACC Organize Joint Conference
05 October 2022

The Association of Asian Constitutional Court and Equivalent Institutions (AACC) and the Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions of Africa (CCJA) held a joint conference on “Promoting Asian-African Cooperation For The Protection of People’s Fundamental Rights” on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 at the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center, Bali. During the first meeting of the conference, representatives of 39 countries attended the meeting on site.


Chief Justice Anwar Usman of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia inaugurated the Joint Conference of the AACC and CCJA. In his remarks, he revealed that the first conference of the AACC and CCJA was inspired by the long history of cooperation between Asian and African countries—the Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955. “In this situation, cooperation to be encouraged between the AACC and the CCJA will be relevant, especially in implementing the rule of law and exchanging experience among the constitutional judicary within the AACC and the CCJA,” he said.



Human Rights Protection in Asia and Africa

There is a stark contrast between the challenges to the protection and enforcement of human rights in Asian-African countries and in western or other developed countries. Challenges in developed countries could be contemporary issues, while in Asian-African countries the issues are more related to the impacts of the state’s political conflicts, violence, intolerance, freedom of speech, discrimination, the rights of persons with disabilities, and other similar issues. The statement was made by Constitutional Justice Arief Hidayat at the Joint Conference of the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions (AACC) and the Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions of Africa (CCJA) on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 at the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center (BNDCC), Bali.


During the discussion on “Constitutional Jurisdictions and Protection of Fundamental Rights: Crossed Looks from Africa and Asia,” Justice Arief said it is necessary to make different approaches and to have different values considering Asian-African countries have different characteristics from western countries in that one has communal culture while another has individualistic culture.


Religion, Culture Distinguish Human Rights Implementation in Algeria

Meanwhile, Constitutional Justice Abdelouahab Kherief of Algeria, which is a member of the CCJA, said in his presentation that human rights in Algeria have different characteristics from that of other countries in the world, considering that religion and culture are vital for enforcing collective and individual rights in the country. He added that being a colonized country, Algeria had a vested interest in establishing a different constitution.


“Algeria adopted a constitution designed for the independence of the Algerian nation in economy, education, and other sectors. The Constitution of 1989, which was amended after a political crisis spanning from 1990 to 2000, has opened up opportunities for political pluralism, which is characterized by the emergence of 60 political parties. However, the amendment of 1996 banned the formation of political parties based on race, religion, and class. Article 41 of the Constitution prohibited people from establishing parties that were based on race, religion, class, etc. Meanwhile, human rights are regulated in the Constitutions of 2016 and 2020, which always contained a special chapter on human rights and freedoms. In addition, every constitutional amendment always discusses freedom, including the Constitutional Court’s power and authority,” Justice Kherief said.


No Country is More Equal than Others

In the next discussion on “Actuating the Bandung Principles on Equality of All People, Races, and Nations in Asia and Africa,” the President of the Constitutional Court of Türkiye Zühtü Arslan revealed about equality in his country. He believes equality of all nations is a prerequisite for fair politics. The principle of equality in the Asian-African Conference (AAC) referred to the equality of every person and nation-race across the world. Therefore, the UN provision that only grants veto power to five countries needs to be reviewed. “[This is] because no country is more equal than others,” he said.


In Türkiye, everyone’s right to equality is protected through equality before the law, without any discrimination based on belief, religion, sect, or any such grounds. Article 10 of the Turkish Constitution is the main provision drafted to protect the principle of equality. The last paragraph of the Article 10 imposes positive and negative obligations on public authorities. Accordingly, the legislative, executive and judicial organs are required to act in line with the principle of equality.


Human Rights Enforcement Requires Peace and Democracy

Meanwhile, President Meaza Ashenafi Mengistu of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Council of the Republic of Ethiopia said that relations between Asia and Africa have existed for a long time and developed well because of their long history. It helped end colonization in Africa, including within the framework of United Nations. Among the 24 countries attending the 1955 Asian-African Conference, only Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan represented Africa, while other African countries were still under colonialism. President Mengistu emphasized that in upholding human rights, peace and democracy are required. Democracy is needed to resolve state problems. One of ways is through the Constitutional Court and similar independent bodies to prevent violence at the national level.


“In Africa, the Constitutional Court is dedicated to interpret the law and is mandated to review the highest court, one of which is interpreting the Constitution and constitutional complaints,” he said virtually.


Cooperation between the AACC and the CCJA was initiated on August 9, 2017 with the signing of a memorandum of understanding in Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia, where the two organizations agreed to share experiences in exercising constitutional jurisdictions and implementing democracy in Asia and Africa.