Constitution Review Report - Nov 2019

Constitution Review Committee

Description


The CRC, tasked to examine constructively the Constitution of the Republic and lead a process that will produce appropriate constitutional amendment(s)‟ concluded its mandate. Over a period of two and a half years, the CRC facilitated public discourses, debates and thematic analyses in Liberia and the diaspora with a view to ensuring that provisions of the Constitution are in conformity with Liberian‟s democratic realities and aspirations. The methodology adopted by the CRC considered principally the historical, sociological and cultural experiences of the Liberian people bearing in mind the broad principles and values of „unity, inclusiveness, and ownership.‟
This initiative grew out of numerous calls by ordinary Liberian citizens, politicians, civil society groups, governance and integrity institutions, international partners and regional political observers for drastic changes in the governing structure of the Republic to include reconstruction of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the government. Coming out of 14 years of civil war, Liberians had realized that „structural imbalances‟ which served as impediments to post-conflict democratic consolidation needed addressing or redressing through a more realistic constitution. This message was particularly poignantly delivered in the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord of August 2003. 
Liberians made extensive recommendations for amendments to the Constitution to include all aspects of their society. They submitted recommendations for changes to the administration, function and tenure of all three branches of government, the relationship between church and state, the mandate and function of public autonomous agencies and commissions. Liberians spoke to the question of citizenship, property rights, women and children rights, family and social relations, ethnicity, corruption, marriage, impunity, education, health and international relations. 
The Technical Sub-Committee reviewed these recommendations and subsumed them into specific categories of constitution issues identified, executive issues identified, legislative issues identified, judicial issues identified, cultural issues identified, autonomous agencies and public commissions issues identified, property and women rights issues identified, etc. and subsequently developed proposals for amendments to the constitution concerning these issues. The proposals were further vetted at four strategic meetings among the Technical Unit of the Technical Sub-Committee, CRC members, legal experts from the LRC and governance experts from the GC. 
The CRC assures that it gave every recommendation from the consultations due and equal consideration but not all of the recommendations could translate into proposals for constitutional amendments. Some recommendations were not included specifically because they were not constitutional in nature and therefore designated for administrative or statutory processes or consideration. 

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