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          • Year: 2017
          • Constitutional provisions in the area of security: a comparative table for 50 states and entities all over the world

          • BCSP presents selected constitutional provisions of 50 states and entities all over the world, including Serbia. This publication was produced with the financial support of National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Responsibility for the content of this publication belongs solely to BCSP.

        • Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP) presents an overview of comparative constitutional norms on security with a view to promote debate on constitutional reforms in Serbia in this area. The overview has taken a form of comparative table consisting of selected constitutional provisions of 50 states and entities altogether, divided by regions.

          The first chapter is dedicated to Western Balkans states and entities which, due to shared recent historical and political experience, represent a first point of reference for comparison with Serbia (excerpts of Serbian constitution are also provided in the table). The second chapter covers most of the Eastern and Central European states, that underwent similar political transitions since the 1990s and are now members of the European Union. The third chapter covers 15 other EU member states and Switzerland, usually referred to as the Western Europe. Selected constitutional provisions of several, also transitioned, former Soviet Union states are offered in the fourth chapter. Finally, aiming at a broader perspective, a random selection of other countries all over the globe is presented in the fifth chapter.

          Selected constitutions vary significantly in age, length and the attention dedicated to the security sector. Some provisions can only be fully understood against the special historical and political background of each country. Although not apt for universalisation, they show us that sometimes detailed regulation of a sensitive area, as security certainly is, should not be disregarded from the start due to dangers of over-regulation in the highest national legal text. Here we would like to point to some relevant issues.

          Integral regulation of the national security system can be found in the constitutions of South Africa and Kosovo*. Chapter XI (art. 198-210) of South African Constitution of 1996 is named ’Security services’, and entails special provisions on defense (including the state of war), police and intelligence, as well as common provisions on national security. Chapter XI (’Security sector’, art. 125-131) of Kosovo* Constitution of 2008 contains general provisions, an article for each of the security sector actors and an article on the state of emergency. Hungarian constitution of 2011 has no special chapter on the security system, but regulates armed forces, police and security services, as well as various states of exception (art. 45-54).

          Bodies equivalent to the National security council are present in many constitutions and often with detailed regulation. See for example the Defense and Security Council of Montenegro (with far greater powers), Macedonian National security council, Ukrainian Council for national defense and security, as well as national security councils of Chile and Turkey - all with defined members structure, and also bodies of the same or similar name in Tunisia, Kosovo and East Timor, Poland and Russia. National security councils in Albania, Bulgaria and in the three Caucasus countries are rather focused on defense.

          Constitutions of Croatia (Art. 81) and Montenegro (Art. 82) provide for adoption of national security strategy, as well as national defense strategy, by the national assembly. Formulating a security strategy is also provided in the Constitution of Kosovo* (art. 127.1) among powers of the Security council.

          Constitutions of Poland, Ukraine and Sweden refer to laws for detailed regulation of the use of armed forces outside state borders. Constitutions of Czech Republic and Slovakia enumerate situations when the government decides on the matter with a notification to the parliament, to whom this power primarily belongs. However, they also include a time limit of 60 days. These are situations when the army is participating in military exercises, peace operations or rescue missions, or acting upon an international contractual obligations concerning common defence. These constitutions usually also regulate transport or presence of foreign troops on domestic territory.

          States of exception are a regular part of constitutional texts. Their various forms, grounds for proclamation, decision-making procedures, catalogues of fundamental rights and freedoms that may be limited or suspended - all these elements are usually defined, although with many differences. Constitution of Brazil requires a special parliamentary body to monitor and supervise the implementation of the measures concerning states of exception (art. 140). Constitutions of Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Estonia, Hungary, Spain and Netherlands explicitly refer to laws for more detailed regulation of the matter.

          Besides a rather general provision of democratic civilian control of the whole security sector (f.e. Montenegro), and explicit oversight powers of the parliament, some constitutions contain specific norms that regulate these issues with more details. Constitutions of Germany, Austria, Greece, South Africa and Armenia prescribe standing and/or ad hoc inquiry (sub)committees in the area of security and defense. Some of them explicitly request a multi-party composition of these committees (Austria, South Africa). Some constitutions explicitly provide for a budget control of defense (Germany), or the whole security sector (Kosovo*). Finally, Constitution of Romania obliges the Supreme Council for National Defense to deliver regular report to both houses of parliament which at their joint session deliberate upon its content (art. 65).

          Research team of BCSP hopes that You will find this document useful. Texts of selected constitutions in English are available at official sites of state institutions. Links to full texts are provided for every state and entity.

        • Tags: constitution, Security sector
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