Ver Angola

Defense

Judges repudiate revision of the Constitution on Judicial Power considering it “shameful retreat”

The Association of Judges of Angola (AJA) considered as “a shameful retreat” of the democratic and legal state and of the Constitution, the changes in the chapter on the Judiciary in the constitutional review proposal, “repudiating” the initiative.

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In a public note sent to Lusa, AJA affirms that, "with concern", its members made contact with the amendments of chapter IV on the Judiciary, namely those intended in articles 176, 179, 181 and 184 of the Constitution of Republic of Angola (CRA).

For AJA, the intention of introducing new numbers, from 6 to 9, in article 176, substantiates, in practice, "a shameful retreat of the democratic state and of law and of the Constitution, as they aimed at a real restructuring of the judicial system ".

The judicial magistrates assigned to the Association of Angolan Judges believe that this "fragmentation and fragility" will surely "further weaken the courts in the exercise of their jurisdictional function".

On 2 March, President João Lourenço announced a specific revision of the Constitution with the aim, among others, of clarifying the mechanisms of political oversight, giving voting rights to residents abroad and eliminating the principle of gradualism in municipalities.

"With this proposal for a revision of the Constitution, it is intended to preserve the stability of its fundamental principles, to adapt some of its norms to the current reality, keeping it adjusted to the political, social and economic context, to clarify the mechanisms of political oversight and to improve the relationship between the sovereign bodies, as well as correcting some shortcomings ", he highlighted.

The parliament scheduled for Thursday, the discussion, in general, of the proposal to revise the 40 articles of the CRA.

In chapter IV on the Judiciary, says the initiative of João Lourenço, "it is proposed to change article 176 on the jurisdictional system to change the order of precedence between the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court, which will now have hierarchical and protocol precedence compared to other higher courts ".

The proposal for a new number 6 for this article, points out the President's proposal, aims to "clarify the concept of sovereignty representative of the judiciary, vis-à-vis other sovereign powers (legislative and executive) and society".

"With this proposal, it is clear that first and second instance judges are not representative bodies of the sovereignty of the judiciary, and cannot evoke the status of sovereign power in relation to the institutions of the other sovereign bodies (legislative and executive ) and with society in general ", is read in the CRA revision proposal.

AJA considers, in this public note signed by its president Adalberto Gonçalves, that the changes pointed out in article 176 and its "quite pernicious" grounds, as "they violate the elementary and structural constitutional principles and norms of the judiciary".

"Showing themselves to be out of alignment with the current norms and that, in principle, they will not be altered and lend themselves to the confusion of concepts", emphasizes AJA.

The scheduling for the discussion of the CRA's revision proposal in parliament, scheduled for Thursday, also constitutes a reason for AJA's "sharp concern", mainly due to the "direction and speed that the revision process has taken".

This association of judicial magistrates fears that the President's intention, expressed in the CRA's revision announcement, according to which the amendment to the proposal was intended to have a better constitution, "be threatened".

"In view of the scheduling of its discussion, the proposal can consolidate itself more quickly, and close itself to the necessary contributions of the various social actors", they point out.

A working group, made up of judges, was created to compile and work on contributions to the proposal, which should be presented to parliament, the President of the Republic and the Superior Council of the Judiciary.