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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

An incomplete attempt to translate the incomplete Iraqi constitution into plain English
Working from the AP partial translation here


Chapter One
Article One
The Republic of Iraq is an independent state.
We didn't want to write this but Bush Insisted
Article Two
The political system is republican, parliamentary, democratic and federal.
1. Islam is a main source for legislation.
so you thought we couldn't find a compromise betwee "the source for legislation" and "a source for legislation".
-- a. No law may contradict Islamic standards.
"a main" is to be read as "the" . Sistani keeps the veto on everything that he has had since Bush declared "mission accomplished." You don't like him then just wait for the Afghan lunatic who is next in line (remember the invasion had something to do with Afghan lunatics).
-- b. No law may contradict democratic standards.
Democracy comes second. We didn't want to bother with this but you know how much Ayatollah Sistani likes democracy.
-- c. No law may contradict the essential rights and freedoms mentioned in this constitution.
Third and last
2. This constitution guarantees the Islamic identity of the Iraqi people and guarantees all religious rights; all persons are free within their ideology and the practice of their ideological practices.
no harm done
3. Iraq is part of the Islamic world, and the Arabs are part of the Arab nation.
if your ideology involves telling a Kurd (s)he is part of the Arab nation then you can forget about article 2 clause 2, but hey, you've forgotten most of it already.
4.
a. Arabic and Kurdish are the two official languages, and Iraqis have the right to teach their sons their mother language like the Turkomen and Assyrian in the government educational institutes.
do such teachers get paid or are they mothers volunteering their time.
b. The language used orally in official institutions such as the Parliament and the Cabinet as well as official conventions should be one of the two languages.
c. Recognizing the official documents with the two languages.
d. Opening the schools with two languages.
Article Three
Federal institutions in Kurdistan should use the two languages.
Article Four
The Turkomen and Assyrian languages are the official languages in the Turkomen and Assyrian areas don't ask us where they are. Turkomen s and Assyrians should be glad they get mentioned in the consititution, and each territory or province has the right to use its own official language if residents have approved in a general referendum vote.
Article Five
Power is transferred peacefully through democratic ways.
Article Seven
1. Any organization that follow a racist, terrorist, extremist, sectarian-cleaning ideology or circulates or justifies such beliefs is banned, especially Saddam's Baath Party in Iraq and its symbols under any name. And this should not be part of the political pluralism in Iraq.
This does not refer to the Mahdi army of Moqtada al Sadr which is perfectly OK
2. The government is committed to fighting terrorism in all its forms, and works to protect Iraqi soil from being a center or passage for terrorist activities.
see comment to article 7 clause 1 above
CHAPTER TWO
Article 35
-- a. Human freedom and dignity are guaranteed.
-- b. No person can be detained or interrogated without a judicial order.
-- c. All kinds of physical and psychological torture and inhumane treatment are prohibited, and any confession is considered void if it was taken by force, threats and torture. The person who was harmed has the right to ask for compensation for the financial and moral damage he/she suffered.
none of that Miranda crap here.
Article 36
The State guarantees:
1. Freedom of expression by all means.
2. Freedom of the press, printing, advertising and publishing.
Article 37
Freedom to establish political groups and organizations.
Article 39
Iraqis are free to abide in their personal lives according to their religion, sects, beliefs or choice. This should be organized by law.
Notice that personal lives include divorce. This means Iraqi husbands are free to divorce Sharia style. Their ex wifes probably voted for us and have no one but themselves to blame.
CHAPTER THREE
Article 66
A presidential candidate should:
1. Be Iraqi by birth and the offspring of two Iraqi parents.
2. Be no less than 40 years old.
3. Have a good reputation and political experience, and be known as honest and faithful to the nation.
Who the hell decides that ?
Article 75
The prime minister should have all the qualifications as the presidential candidate and should have a university degree or its equivalent and should not be less than 35 years old.
Article 104
A general commission should be set up to observe and specify the central (government) revenues, and the commission should be made up of experts from the central government, regions, provinces and representatives.
CHAPTER 4:
Article 107
Federal authorities should preserve Iraq's unity, security, independence and sovereignty and its democratic federal system.
Article 109
Oil and gas are the property of all the Iraqi people in regions and provinces.
Article 110
The central government administers oil and gas extracted from current wells, along with governments of the producing regions and provinces, on the condition that revenues are distributed in a way that suits population distribution around the country.
I really like article 110.
CHAPTER FIVE
Article 114
1. A region consists of one or more provinces, and two or more regions have the right to create a single region.
2. A province or more has the right to set a region according to a referendum called for in one of two ways:
-- a. A demand by one-third of all members of each of the provincial councils that aims to set up a region.
-- b. A demand by one-tenth of voters of the provinces that aim to set up a region.
Article 117
A region's legislative authority is made up of one council, named the National Assembly of the region.
Article 118
The National Council of the region drafts the region's constitution and issues laws, which must not contradict this constitution and Iraq's central laws.
Abdul Aziz Al Hakim didn't get to be prime minister. Therefore the 3 Sunni arabs who might have supported this consitition have to be offended by a clause which gives Shi'ites their own region even though they are a majority in the whole country. You must understand if Al Jafaari is Prime Minister Al Hakim has to have his consolation prize. Don't worry about the oil money. It will be taken care of.
Article 120
The executive authority of the region is made up of the president of the region and the region's government.
Article 128
The region's revenues are made up from the specified allotment from the national budget and from the local revenues of the region.
Article 129
The regional government does what is needed to administer the region, especially setting up internal security forces, such as police, security and region guards.
Article 135
This constitution guarantees the administrative, political, cultural and educational rights of different ethnic groups such as Turkomen, Chaldean, Assyrians and other groups.
CHAPTER SIX
Article 144
The Iraq Supreme Criminal Court continues its work as a legislative, independent commission to look into the crimes of the former dictatorial regime and its symbols, and the Council of Deputies has the right to annul it after it ends its duties.
Article 145
a. The Supreme National Commission for de-Baathification continues its work as an independent commission, in coordination with the judicial authority and executive institutions and according to laws that organize its work.
b. Parliament has the right to dissolve this commission after it ends its work, with a two-thirds majority.
Article 151
No less than 25 percent of Council of Deputies seats go to women.
Article 153
This law is considered in force after people vote on it in a general referendum and when it is published in the official Gazette and the Council of Deputies is elected according to it.
and hell freezes over.

update: Given this, I must confess that my translation into plain English of article 7 clause 1 and 2 was incorrect.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

What bunch of foreign clowns has been advising on the drafting? Of,course, US hatred of the UN has excluded input from people with recent experienc eof handling identiy conflicts in a workable constitution like Canadians, Belgians, and Spaniards.
Not defining regions is a recipe for complete confusion. How is th eprocedur egoing to work ou tin Kirkuk?
The crucial clauses on revenue-sharing from oil are far too vague. What might just work is a formula of x% (staret with 50%) off the top for the central government, then divide (100-x)% among the provinces.

Anonymous said...

What bunch of foreign clowns has been advising on the drafting? Of course, US hatred of the UN has excluded input from people with recent experience of handling identity conflicts in a workable constitution like Canadians, Belgians, and Spaniards.
Not defining regions is a recipe for complete confusion. How is the procedure going to work out in contested Kirkuk?
The crucial clauses on revenue-sharing from oil are far too vague. What might just work is a formula of x% (start with 50%) off the top for the central government, then divide (100-x)% among the provinces according to population. If you are going to have effective regions, they need a share too.
James Wimberley as Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Hey, excellent website. A great Iraq resource is Deaths in Iraq. It breaks all of the casualties down by age, race, branch of the military, country, etc.

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