The Constitutional Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan as president of the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions (AACC), represented by Secretary-General Bakyt Nurmukhanov, attended the 16th Bureau Meeting of the World Conference of Constitutional Justice (WCCJ) virtually on Saturday evening, March 20, 2021. The WCCJ facilitates judicial dialogue between constitutional judges on a global scale. It unites 117 constitutional courts and councils and supreme courts in all five continents—Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia/Oceania, and Europe.
Secretary-General Nurmukhanov in his remarks stated that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan couldn’t host the AACC congress traditionally. So, it held the congress virtually.
“The congress, held in the capital of Kazakhstan, resulted in the Declaration of Nur-Sultan, the amendment to the association’s statute, a virtually-signed MoU between the AACC the Eurasian Association of Constitutional Review Bodies, and the acceptance of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh as a new member of the AACC,” he said before the hearing, with Chief Justice Anwar Usman, Deputy Chief Justice Aswanto, and Constitutional Justice Arief Hidayat in attendance.
Nurmukhanov added that the association’s role was promoted through its permanent secretariats in Indonesia, Korea, and Turkey. The AACC’s Permanent Secretariat for Planning and Coordination in Indonesia had also published a joint statement from all of its members regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Secretariat for Planning and Coordination is always improving its management and coordination through its official website, which informs all the AACC’s activities and those of its members, as well as the welcoming of new members,” he said.
In September 2020, the Permanent Secretariat for Research and Development in South Korea hosted its second research conference on freedom of expression. In the same month, the Permanent Secretariat for Human Resource Development also hosted the 8th summer school virtually, which took the theme of human rights restrictions in emergencies.
Nurmukhanov revealed that as per the AACC’s strategic guidelines, the AACC president would reinforcing the Asian and Eurasian associations’ relations with the Venice Commission and other associations regarding world conferences. The associations’ meeting will take place in Nur-Sultan in 2021. In addition, the Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan will hold an international symposium and transfer its presidency to the Constitutional Court of Mongolia, taking into account the pandemic.
The AACC signed an MoU with European Commission for Democracy through Law, known as the Venice Commission on May 22, 2012 in Seoul, South Korea. The MoU aimed at strengthening constitutionalism and constitutional judicial institutions worldwide.
The WCCJ Bureau Meeting was attended by constitutional judicial bodies from various regions and of language groups worldwide as well as the Venice Commission as the WCCJ secretariat. The meeting discussed the preparation for the 5th Congress of WCCJ, planned for October 2022 in Indonesia.
MKRI’s Presentation as Host of Upcoming WCCJ Congress
In his remarks representing the Constitutional Court of the Republic Indonesia (MKRI), Chief Justice Anwar Usman thanked the WCCJ for the selection of MKRI as the host of the upcoming congress. “Under the theme ‘Constitutional Justice and Peace’ (for the congress), it is important that the WCCJ prove to the world than in enforcing the law and democracy, as well as protecting human rights, all should be based on the spirit of realizing everlasting peace,” he said.
Next, Secretary-General M. Guntur Hamzah explained that the MKRI has the experience in hosting regional and international events. The Court has also taken various steps of coordination to prepare for the upcoming congress, including inviting President Joko Widodo to open the congress, communicating with various state institutions, and establishing a coordinating committee.
The fifth WCCJ congress will be a challenge amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, Court is ready to host the congress with a hybrid method, combining on-site and virtual meeting supported by the latest technology and compliance to health protocol related to COVID-19 set by the WHO.