Constitutional Review

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ISSN / EISSN : 2460-0016 / 2548-3870
Total articles ≅ 84
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Engin Yıldırım
Constitutional Review, Volume 7, pp 188-202;

Through a brief examination of the Turkish experience, this article endeavors to illuminate the debate on the role of constitutional courts in interpreting social rights. The Turkish Constitutional Court has in many cases rejected applications for the annulment of legislation related to social rights, on the grounds that it is within the legislature’s discretion to determine public policy priorities based on economic resources and economic stability. This article suggests the Turkish Constitutional Court has narrowly interpreted constitutionally recognized social rights within the boundaries of the Turkish Constitution, with the notable exception of labor rights in individual applications.
Cekli Setya Pratiwi
Constitutional Review, Volume 7, pp 273-299;

This study examines the constitutionality of Indonesia’s Anti-Blasphemy Law, which has been challenged unsuccessfully at the Constitutional Court on three occasions, in 2009, 2012, and 2018. While the Court has acknowledged the law’s provisions are open to multiple interpretations, it insists on maintaining the law as it is, on the grounds that the right to religious expression is not absolute, as freedom and rights are restricted under Article 28J of the 1945 Constitution. The Court believes that canceling the law would create a dangerous legal vacuum. The ambiguity of the Court’s decisions on the constitutionality of the Anti-Blasphemy Law is illustrated in recent blasphemy cases that have not been explored in previous studies. This study uses a doctrinal legal approach to examine why the Anti-Blasphemy Law is flawed and to analyze to what extent the ‘particular constitutionalism’ approach influenced the Court’s decisions when declaring the constitutionality of the law. As such, the Court’s misinterpretation of the core principles of the competing rights – the right to religious freedom and the right to freedom of expression – and its standard limitation, have been ignored. The findings of this study show that in dealing with the Anti-Blasphemy Law, the Court has a narrow and limited recognition of human rights law. The Court’s fear of revoking the Anti-Blasphemy Law is based only on assumptions and is less supported by facts. The Court has failed to realize that the implementation of the flawed Anti-Blasphemy Law in various cases has triggered public disorder, with people taking justice into their own hands.
Muzayyin Ahyar, Ni’Matul Huda
Constitutional Review, Volume 7, pp 326-349;

The main purpose of this article is to discuss Islamic constitutionalism in the context of Indonesian social movements. Constitutionalism is part of the study of constitutional law when the discussion focuses on the concept of limiting the power of the government. Using historical and sociological approaches, this article examines socio-political circumstances in Muslim society and their relationship to the spirit of constitutionalism in Indonesia. Indonesia does not explicitly name any particular religion in its Constitution, even though most of its population is Muslim. After a series of constitutional reforms over 1999– 2002, there was no formalization of Islam in the Constitution. Two important academic questions arise when dealing with this phenomenon. First, to what extent are Indonesia’s religious social movements involved in constructing the narrative of constitutionalism? Second, how do the spirit of constitutionalism and Islam play a role in strengthening Indonesia’s Constitution? This article notes that some Muslims in Indonesia have been striving to build a narrative of Islamic constitutionalism through social movements since the nation’s pre- independence era. Nevertheless, this Islamic constitutionalism has not resulted in the formalization of an Islamic constitution in Indonesia due to several factors: the historical roots of the nation’s establishment, the pluralist stance of Indonesia’s mainstream civil Islamic movements, and the presence of the Pancasila as the state ideology. This article also reveals that Indonesia’s Muslim majority and religious authorities play a role in building the spirit of constitutionalism; however, the formalization of a specific religion as the basis of the constitution has never been realized in Indonesia.
Saniia Toktogazieva
Constitutional Review, Volume 7, pp 300-325;

This article pursues two main objectives. First, to identify the main factors behind the establishment of constitutional review in Central Asia. Second, to define how those factors have shaped the institutional design of constitutional courts. In doing so, this article revisits standard theories of comparative constitutional law in terms of the origin of judicial review. While the insurance theory dominates the present global discourse on judicial review, it cannot completely and accurately account for the origin of constitutional review in Central Asia. Rather, this article conveys that the main impetus and motivation behind the establishment of constitutional courts and their institutional designs has been the economic interests of Central Asian states, determined by the region’s political and historical context.
Erin Elizabeth Davis
Constitutional Review, Volume 7, pp 241-272;

The right to adequate housing is an internationally recognized human right, yet it has been incontrovertibly desecrated by a lack of recognition, disproportionately affecting vulnerable groups. Economic, social, and cultural rights have encountered many challenges in an ever-increasing era of international exceptionalism and challenges arise in the protection of these rights. The right to housing is achieved in two ways: as a normative right and as a derivative right encompassed within economic, social, and cultural rights. This article introduces: (1) the normative development of economic, social, and cultural rights as recognized human rights, and their regulatory implementation through international instruments; (2) the concept of individuals as right-holders and duty-bearers of economic, social, and cultural rights; (3) understanding how the restriction of the right to housing leads to the violation of other human rights, including (a) the right to life, (b) the right to freedom from discrimination, and (c) the right to humane treatment – and the types of vulnerable groups that face the most discrimination, such as indigenous persons and women; and (4) protection against forced evictions, through an examination of the jurisprudence of the Inter-American System, European Court of Human Rights, and African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Ahmad Rofii
Constitutional Review, Volume 7, pp 203-240;

This paper examines the problem of whether the inclusion of religious words in the Indonesian Constitution is tantamount to the establishment of a religious constitution. By focusing on the Constitution’s provision on “belief in the One and Only God” in Article 29(1), this paper challenges the received theory of the religiosity of the Constitution. To that end, the paper first investigates the doctrinal and historical implications of Article 29(1). Particular analysis concerns the implications of this constitutionalization for Islamic law. The Constitutional Court’s decision on interreligious marriage is critically examined as an example of how the received theory is endorsed and articulated in the case of marriage. This paper argues that Article 29(1) concerns all religions, without any implied exclusion of non-monotheistic religions. Moreover, this paper affirms what is called the Pancasila state, located between an exclusively secular state and a religious or theocratic state. This arguably makes the notion of the religiosity of the Constitution unjustified. The Constitutional Court, however, has interpreted Article 29(1) in a strongly religious sense, leading to religious supremacy and, accordingly, is contrary to how the Constitution ought to be understood.
Miriam Cohen, Martin-Olivier Dagenais
Constitutional Review, Volume 7, pp 26-52;

Canada has been at the forefront of the recognition of human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights (ESC rights) in the international scene. As a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,1 Canada has, over the years, implemented in legislation and case-law some ESC rights such as the right to health, education and social welfare.While ESC rights were not explicitly identified in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,2 which forms part of the Canadian Constitution, ESC rights in different forms have received some protection in the Canadian legal order. An analysis of the Canadian record with respect to ESC rights demonstrates the immense gap between a glorified image of Canada as an international human rights proponent (the ‘utopia’) and the actual implementation of internationally recognized human rights in Canada (the ‘reality’). As Canada is bound to face major transformational changes to its economy and social fabric in the years to come, the Courts will have to adapt quickly and efficiently to ensure a smooth transition. This paper overviews the evolution of the case-law on ESC rights in Canada in light of its international obligations, and suggests, the relevant ESC rights jurisprudence signals a disconnect with Canada’s international obligation ‘requiring progressive implementation to the maximum of available resources by all appropriate means.’
Herbert Küpper
Constitutional Review, Volume 7, pp 53-91;

The Indonesian Constitution offers many interesting insights to a German constitutional scholar. The most striking feature is the balance between the unitarian state and the natural diversity of Indonesia. In Germany, the state architecture reflects regional diversity in its federal framework, whereas Indonesia combines the unitarian state with various decentralising elements. This balance between unitarianism and regional diversity is probably the most conspicuous feature of the Indonesian Constitution and appears to be a suitable compromise between the conflicting aims of stabilising the state and the nation on the one hand and accommodating the geographic, demographic and cultural differences within the country on the other. Another striking feature is the presidential system, which is quite the opposite of the parliamentary system of the German Constitution. Other points that, from the perspective of German constitutional law, invite comparison are the constitutional provisions about the legal system,Indonesia’s constitutional monotheism, which is quite the opposite of the German idea of the state being strictly neutral in religious affairs, and human rights.
Adfin Rochmad Baidhowa
Constitutional Review, Volume 7, pp 124-152;

Debate on the quality and durability of Indonesia’s democracy has intensified in recent years. Political scholars had generally praised the country’s democratic achievements and stability in the two decades following the 1998 resignation of long-serving president Suharto. But more recently, a growing number of academics have noted that elements of Indonesia’s democracy are being eroded. While the issue of Indonesia’s democratic backsliding has gained considerable attention and generated much academic literature, few scholars have analyzed why Indonesia has not entered a phase of rapid backsliding or a return to authoritarianism. This article argues the role of the Indonesian Constitutional Court in the consolidation of democracy has been frequently overlooked. By using a qualitative approach involving archival research of the Constitutional Court’s sessions on disputed results in Indonesia’s 2019 elections, this article finds the Constitutional Court has been able to prevent rapid democratic backsliding and even a reversion to authoritarianism, by ensuring competitiveness, participation and accountability in elections.
Constantinos Kombos, Athena Herodotou
Constitutional Review, Volume 7, pp 92-123;

Economic, Social and Cultural (ESC) rights have been present and active in the Cypriot legal order from the moment of its constitutional genesis. Due to the special relationship between the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the judiciary has adopted a unique approach when interpreting the Constitution; it has been willing to engage into a comparative juridical analysis and to rely on the ECHR and the findings of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECtHR). Through this nexus with the ECHR and the streamlined approach with the ECtHR, the legal system of Cyprus has been progressive in placing social and economic rights – and to a lesser extent cultural rights – in a secure position. This traditional approach of the Cypriot courts was called into question by the 2011-2016 economic crisis, which challenged the interplay between domestic and external normative systems. The aim of this paper is to assess the impact of the recent economic crisis on the protection of ESC rights and the change in the balance between domestic and normative systems. The analysis concludes that the protection of ESC rights under the Cypriot Constitution, as formed by Cypriot case law, has been substantive and effective, while positively influenced by the extensive deployment of the comparative method. That long-standing approach has been challenged by the economic crisis and it seems that the extrovert judicial viewpoint is now partly reconsidered. The Supreme Court has indicated, albeit in specific instances, its willingness to disregard guidance from external influences and to focus instead on the idea that national constitutional protection can and should exceed that of the ECHR.
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