As president of the Association of Asian Constitutional Court and Equivalent Institutions (AACC) of 2019–2021, the Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan hosted the Fourth AACC Congress, which was attended by 17 member countries on Wednesday, August 26, 2020. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Members Meeting was held online. It discussed the amendment of the association’s statute, the participation of member countries in the current congress, and cooperation with the Eurasian Association of Constitutional Review Bodies.
Member countries such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan, the Maldives, Russia, and Indonesia attended the event. The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia (MKRI) was represented by Chief Justice Anwar Usman, Deputy Chief Justice Aswanto, and Constitutional Justice Konstitusi Arief Hidayat, along with Secretary General M. Guntur Hamzah and Director for Legal Affairs and Political and Security Treaties of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Purnomo Ahmad Chandra.
Amendment to AACC Statute
Upon suggestion from Pakistan to change the AACC’s name as the member countries have different names of constitutional judicial body, Chief Justice Anwar Usman proposed that it remain. He also expressed his appreciation for Bangladesh’s application to the association.
Constitutional Justice Arief Hidayat echoed the chief justice’s opinion on the AACC’s name. He and the Turkish delegation argued that under its current name, the AACC has gained a reputation in Asia and even globally.
“I agree with the president of Constitutional Court of Turkey Prof. Zuhtu Arslan, because the [current name] of the organization is able to accommodates the differing names of the new members,” said Justice Arief, who is a former AACC president for three years.
The meeting also talked about the international cooperation that the organization was going to forge, including with the Eurasian Association of Constitutional Review Bodies. In 2017, the AACC has drafted a memorandum that was signed with Africa
Secretary General M. Guntur Hamzah delivered a report of the AACC’s Permanent Secretariat for Planning and Coordination (SPC) in Jakarta on behalf of the MKRI. The SPC had carried out four main programs in 2019 until the first half of 2020. First, it has been developing the AACC’s official website www.aacc-asia.org as a source of information on the AACC for the public and its member countries. Activities and landmark decisions of the AACC members are available on the website. Starting from last year, the AACC members have had access to the website and have been actively keeping the information regarding their organizations on the website updated.
Since the end of 2019 until the first half of 2020, the AACC offered membership proposals to Bangladesh, Nepal, and Jordan. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh has expressed its interest in the proposal and sent an application. Heru also detailed the SPC’s programs, including more intensive approach to countries who have expressed their interest in joining the AACC.
Although all countries are battling COVID-19, the AACC member countries remain steadfast in fulfilling the rights of their citizens. The fourth AACC Congress was entitled “The XXI Century Constitution: The Rule of Law, the Value of Person, and the Effectiveness of the State.” The event will run for two days on Wednesday to Thursday, August 26-27, 2020 as mutual efforts of the AACC’s members to contribute to the strengthening of democratic values, the rule of law, and the protection of human rights and freedoms in Asia and beyond.