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The Liberian Constitutions

Declaration 1983 Draft

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1984 Liberian Constitution

In the wake of the April 1980 coup d'etat and the suspension of the Constitution of 1847, the National Constitution Drafting Commission in 1983 submitted a new draft Constitution of the Republic of Liberia (see 1983 Draft Constitution).  Before the public's ratification of the draft, a 59-member Constitution Advisory Assembly was empowered by the military council to make any revision or write a new draft if it so deemed.  Among the major revisions made by the Assembly were the scrapping of such autonomous commissions as Judicial Service and Ombudsman; increase in the presidential term to two consecutive six-year terms; and the removal of the entrenchment provision as well as the removal of the provision banning military personnel from participating in partisan politics.  (Dunn, D. Elwood , Amos J. Beyan, Carl Patrick Burrowes. Historical Dictionary of Liberia: 2nd Edition. Scarecrow Press, 2001. p86-7. Used by permission )


CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

BASIC

DETAILED

 

Preamble

Chapter I - Structure Of The State

Chapter II - General Principles Of National Policy

Chapter III - Fundamental Rights

Chapter IV - Citizenship

Chapter V - The Legislature

Chapter VI - The Executive

Chapter VII - The Judiciary

Chapter VIII - Political Parties And Elections

Chapter IX - Emergency Powers

Chapter X - Autonomous Public Commissions

Chapter XI - Miscellaneous

Chapter XII - Amendments

Chapter XIII - Transitional Provisions

Schedule

 

Top

 

Detailed Index

 

CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA

PREAMBLE

 

CHAPTER I - STRUCTURE OF THE STATE

Article 1. Power of the People

Article 2. Supremacy of the Constitution

Article 3. Counties of the Republic and Form And Branches of Government

 

CHAPTER II - GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF NATIONAL POLICY

Article 4. Effects of General Principles and Policy

Article 5. Principles on Unity and Culture

Article 6. Principles on Equality in Educational Opportunities

Article 7. Principles on Management of National Economy

Article 8. Principles on Non discrimination in Employment Opportunities

Article 9. Principles on Regional and Bilateral Cooperation

Article 10. Publication, Dissemination and Teaching of the Constitution

 

CHAPTER III - FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

Article 11 .   

a. Right to Life, Liberty , Security and Property

b. Entitlement to Fundamental Rights

c. Right to Equal Protection of the Law

Article 12.   Prohibition Against Slavery and Forced Labor

Article 13.   

a. Right to Freedom of Movement

b. Right to Leave and Enter the Republic and Extradition of Liberian Citizens and Non Liberian Residents

Article 14.   Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion

Article 15.   

a. Right to Freedom of Expression

b. Scope of Right to Freedom of Expression

c. Right of Public to be Informed

d. Right of Access to State Owned Media

e. Limitation of Freedom of Expression

Article 16.   Right to Privacy

Article 17 .   Right to Peaceful Assembly and Association

Article 18.   Right to Equal Opportunity for Work and Employment

Article 19.   Right not to be Subject to Military Law

Article 20.   

a. Right to Jury Trial and Due Process of Law

b. Right to Appeal

Article 21.   

a. Prohibition of Retroactive Law, Bill of Attainder and Ex Post Facto Law

b. Prohibition Against illegal Search or Seizure

c. Right to be Informed of Charges and Right to Remain Silent

d.    i. Right to Bail

       ii. Prohibition Against Excessive Bail, Fines and Punishment

e. Prohibition Against Torture or Inhumane Treatment

f. Right to be Presented before Court

g. Right to Writ of Habeas Corpus

h. Right to an Indictment by A Grand Jury when Charged with Infamous or Capital Offense

i. Inviolability of Right to Counsel

j. Right to Enjoyment of Civil Rights and Liberties After Service of Penalty or Upon Pardon

Article 22.   

a. Right to Own Property

b. Scope of Right to Own Property

c. Right of Non Citizen Missionary, Educational and Benevolent Institutions to Own Real Property

d. Right of Republic to Convey Real Property To Foreign Government

Article 23.   

a. Property Right of Spouse in or After Marriage

b. Legislative Enactment of Laws on Devolution of Estates

Article 24.   

a. Right of Republic to Expropriate Private Property

b. Forfeiture of Property Right by Denaturalized Citizens

c. Prohibition Against Inclusion of Forfeiture of Right Of Inheritance in Punishment for Crime

Article 25.   Prohibition Against Impairment of Right to Contract

Article 26 .   Right to Sue the Republic or other Persons for Fundamental Rights Violations

 

CHAPTER IV - CITIZENSHIP

Article 27.   

a. Citizenship on Coming into Force of Constitution

b. Eligibility for Citizenship by Birth and Naturalization Restricted to Negroes

Article 28.   Legislature to Prescribe Standard for Citizenship

 

CHAPTER V - THE LEGISLATURE

Article 29 .   Establishment of Legislature

Article 30.   Qualifications for Membership of Legislature

Article 31 .   Oath of Members

Article 32.   

a. Sessions of Legislature

b. Right of President to extend Session for Emergency

Article 33.   Quorum

Article 34.   Powers of Legislature

Article 35.   Veto of Proposed Legislation by President

Article 36.   Remuneration for Members of Legislature

Article 37.   By Election to Fill Vacancy

Article 38 .   Power of Legislature to Adopt Own Rules

Article 39.   Legislature to Authorize Census

Article 40.   Adjournment of Legislature

Article 41 .   Languages to Conduct Business

Article 42 .   Immunity of Members of Legislature

Article 43 .   Impeachment Power of Legislature

Article 44.   Contempt of the Legislature

Article 45.   Term of Office of Senators

Article 46.   Staggering of Senatorial Terms

Article 47 .   Election of Officers of Senate

Article 48 .   Term of Office of Members of House of Representatives

Article 49 .   Election of Officers of House of Representatives

 

CHAPTER VI - THE EXECUTIVE

Article 50.   Establishment of the Office of President and Tenure of Office of President

Article 51.    Establishment of the Office of Vice President And Prescribing Term of Office

Article 52.   Qualifications for Election to Office of President And Vice President

Article 53.   Oath of President and Vice President

Article 54.   Appointment Power of President

Article 55.   Appointment Power of President of Notaries Public And Justices of the Peace

Article 56 .   

a. Removal Power of the President

b. Elections and Removal of Chiefs

Article 57.   Presidential Power to Conduct Foreign Affairs

Article 58.   President to Present Annual Legislative Programs

Article 59.   Power of President to Pardon

Article 60.   Compensation for President and Vice President

Article 61.   Immunity of President

Article 62.   Removal of President and Vice President from Office

Article 63 .   

a. Accession to Presidency by Vice President Elect After the Death or Inability of President Elect

b. Completion of an Unexpired Presidential Term by Vice President

c. Guidelines and Procedures to declare the President Incapable to carry out the Duties of His Office

d. Power of President to Nominate a Vice President

Article 64 .   Accession to the Presidency in the Event of Vacancy In Offices of the President and the Vice President

 

CHAPTER VII - THE JUDICIARY

Article 65.   Vesting of Judicial Powers in the Supreme Court

Article 66.   Supreme Court to Have Final Appellate Jurisdiction

Article 67.   Composition of Supreme Court

Article 68.   Qualifications for Appointment as Justices of Supreme Court

Article 69 .   Qualifications for Appointment as Judges of Subordinate Courts

Article 70.   Oaths of Justices and Judges

Article 71 .   Tenure and Impeachment of Justices and Judges

Article 72 .   

a. Salaries and Allowance of Justices and Judges

b. Retirement age of Justices and Judges

Article 73.    Immunity of Justices and Judges

Article 74.   Contempt Power of Courts

Article 75 .   Power of Supreme Court to Make Rules of Court and Prescribe Code of Conduct for Lawyers

Article 76.   

a. Definition of Treason

b. Legislature to Prescribe Punishment for Treason

 

CHAPTER VIII- POLITICAL PARTIES AND ELECTIONS

Article 77.   

a. Establishment of Political Parties

b. Conduct of Elections and Eligibility Criteria for The Exercise of the Right to Vote

Article 78.   Definition of "Association", "Political Parties" And "Independent Candidate"

Article 79.   

a. Criteria for Registration as a Political Party Or Independent Candidate

b. Membership of Political Party or Independent Candidate's Organization

c. Location of Headquarters of Political Party and Independent Candidate

d. Limitation on Name, Objective, Emblem and Motto Of Political Party and Independent Candidate

e. Constitution and Rules of Political Party and Independent Candidate

Article 80.   

a. Power of Elections Commission to Deny Registration Of Political Party or Independent Candidate

b. Power of Elections Commission to Revoke Registration of Political Party or Independent Candidate

c. Right of Citizen to Vote and Change Constituency

d. Creation and Limitation of Constituency

e. Right of Elections Commission to Reapportion Constituencies

Article 81 .   Right of Citizen, Political Party, Organization or Association to Canvass for Votes in an Election

Article 82.   

a. Right of Citizen, Association or Organization To Contribute Funds to Political Party or Independent Candidate

b. Prohibition on Possession of Funds Outside the Republic or Contribution From Outside the Republic to any Political Party or Independent Candidate

c. Power of Elections Commission to Examine And Audit the Books of Political Parties or Independent Candidates

Article 83.   

a. Time for Conducting General Elections

b. Elections of Public Officers to be Determined by Absolute Majority

c. Power of Elections Commission to Declare Results of Elections and Right of Appeal by Any Aggrieved Party or Candidate

d. Publication of Statements of Assets and Liabilities by Political Parties and Independent Candidates

Article 84.   Legislature to Provide Penalties for Violation Of Chapter and Enact Laws in Furtherance Of Constitution

 

CHAPTER IX - EMERGENCY POWERS

Article 85.   Power of President to Order Armed Forces into State of Combat Readiness

Article 86.   

a. Power of President to Declare State Of Emergency

b. Conditions Under which State of Emergency may be Declared

Article 87.   

a. Limitations on Use of Emergency Powers

b. Right to Writ of Habeas Corpus not Affected by State of Emergency

Article 88.   The Establishment of Autonomous Public Commission and Power of Legislature to Enact Laws for their Governance

 

CHAPTER X - AUTONOMOUS PUBLIC COMMISSIONS

Article 89.   The Establishment of Autonomous Public Commissions and Power of Legislature to Enact Laws for their Governance

 

CHAPTER XI - MISCELLANEOUS

Article 90 .   

a. Prohibition Against Conflict of Interest

b. Prohibition Against Public Officials Demanding and Receiving Perquisites For Duties Legally Required

c. Power of Legislature to Prescribe Code of Conduct Against Conflict of Interest

 

CHAPTER XII - AMENDMENTS

Article 91.   Initiation and Process of Amendment

Article 92.   Publication of Proposal for Amendment and Separately Itemizing Amendments Sought

Article 93.   Limitation of Presidential Terms of Office

 

CHAPTER XIII - TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

Article 94.   

a. Persons Elected Prior to Promulgation of Constitution to be Considered Duly Elected Under Constitution

b. Swearing in of Newly Elected President on April 12, 1985 and Coming Into Force of Constitution

c. Convening of Newly Elected Legislature d. Position of Persons Appointed Prior to Coming into Force of Constitution

Article 95 .   

a. Abrogation of Constitution of July 26, 1847

b. Status of Treaties, Executive and Other Agreements Concluded by prior Government

c. Status of Foreign and Domestic Debts Concluded by Prior Governments

Article 96 .   

a. Continuity of Judiciary After the Coming Into Force of the Constitution and Power Of President to Appoint

b. Legal Proceedings Concluded not to be Commenced Anew

Article 97.   

a. Prohibition Against Question in Judicial or Other Forums of Actions taken by or in the Name of People's Redemption Council

b. Prohibition Against Court Entertaining any Action which Brought Change of Government On April 12, 1980 or any Other Act by People's Redemption Council

 

SCHEDULE

1. Schedule to Form Integral Part of Constitution

2. Oaths for Public Officials

 

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