Speech of His Excellency Mr. Boualem BESSAIEH

Short speech of His Excellency Mr. Boualem BESSAIEH, President of the Algerian Constitutional Council, upon the preparatory meeting of the African courts and constitutional councils, held outside the world conference on constitutional justice in Rio de Janeiro (BRAZIL), on January 16th, 2011.


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Presidents of the Courts and Constitutional Councils;

I would like first of all to express my most sincere thanks for the strong support and the invaluable support which you agreed to bring to the project of creation of an African constitutional justice space, which is an initiative from my country, that was subject of the decision adopted by the fifteenth ordinary session of the Conference of the Heads of state and government of the African Union, last July at Kampala (Uganda).

My thanks also to the organizers of the 2nd World Congress of Rio, in particular to the supreme court of Brazil, for the greeting that was reserved to us and mainly to the President of the Commission of Venice, Mr. Gianni Buquicchio, for his spontaneous approval to insert our meeting within program of the Congress, also for his support for the creation of this very space. By doing that, he translates into facts the item 3 of Article 1st of the revised statute of the Commission of Venice which, I quote “….supports creation of corresponding organisms in other parts of the world….” and the unlocks possibility “of establishing links with those groups in order to bring to a successful conclusion common programs concerned with its sphere of activity.” end of quotation.

Finally I make a point to greet the Heads of African institutions who could not attend in Rio but who wanted to express to us their support and to give us appointment in the near future, out of African ground, so as we would be more numerous to meet to discuss and adopt the Founding document of the expected space.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The end of the 20th century will have been, with no doubt, marked by the generalization of constitutional justice in the world.

Thus, following the example of countries from other continents, the African countries were outfitted gradually, each one at the rate of its specific political history, a jurisdictional mechanism of control of the constitutionality of the laws inspired, at variable degrees from the European or American models of constitutional justice.

Adoption of this control mechanism which tends, in its finality, to strengthen the Rule of law, to deepen the pluralist democracy and guarantee protection of the human rights enabled Africa to go along with such a worldwide development.

But if the African States did not remain in margin of the movement of constitutional justice by creating audit constitutional institutions, thanks the their internal development and upheavals which the world knew as of the end of 1980, Africa did not reach the rate of this development by instituting, following example of other parts of the world, a collective space of dialogue, co-operation and experience sharing as regards constitutional control.

If constitutional justice in Africa crossed the stage of internal order and was set up upon regional and linguistic spaces, on the other hand it remained outside this collective step, today highly desired, on the level of the African continent, whereas the majority of the countries which compose it have at the same time credible and reliable institutions in this specific field.

However, the African national constitutions do share the universal principles of democracy, of protection of the human rights and the Rule of law, just as the legal instruments of the African Union allow, them also, perfectly, as one can note it, and our meeting of today is the proof of it, the implementation of a collective initiative to federate the African mechanisms of constitutional justice.

Within this framework, I would like to say that promotion and development of the constitutional culture being a requirement of the Rule of law and of democracy that are being built, it is consequently high time for our institutions, to organize themselves in a continental space to merge our energies and consolidate our care to these values and universal principles and accompany the worldwide development.

Africa has the means of building this space in order to promote these universal values. It must not do it by dispersed nations, as was the case in the past, but as a homogeneous continental organization. Africa, which proved its capacities of dialog, in international forums, when it was forwarded in welded group and with joint positions, can also contribute a constructive share to the international plan in the field of constitutional justice.

This is why, Africa, in its cultural diversity and linguistics, but also in its legal systems, must have a common space of dialogue, co-operation and exchange of experiences in the field of constitutional justice as soon as possible in order to fully play its due part and of weigh a weight that is of the same measure as of its dimension.

This space, that we must build together, has to be, in a spirit of a “crossed fertilization” as Mr. BUQUICCHIO likes to say, opened over accession of all the institutions of the Member States of the African Union with no exclusive and opened to the future trends so as not to be shifted as regards one’s era.

It is obvious that this space is by no means in contradiction with the action taken to this day by the African institutions within the existing regional and linguistics spaces, on the contrary, the existence as of these groups, in addition to their accumulation of a rich experience, strongly translated the fertile diversity of our continent and constitutes an inexhaustible source of enrichment of our specific experiments and aimed space.

If our space can and must be launched quickly, i.e. within the next months, (3 or 4 months), it must be conceived and considered on solid and permanent bases, as well in its organization as in its operation such as its fastening to the democratic rules and the alternation principle and of equitable representation in the structures of our organization. Once the bases are set, our step, in its future projection, will have to be carried by the broadest possible consensus, prudently moving forward and without improvisation to build our structure of constitutional justice by taking into account the sensitivities and African specificities.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This space whose official creation depends on your deep conviction and our constant will to give shape to it through development and adoption of its founding texts according to a collective, consensual and beforehand set step, will enable our institutions, I am convinced, to take part, in our field, to re-invent Africa.

Yes, in this new world which is being built under our eyes, Africa, our old continent formed by deposits of the ages, cradle of humanity, interdependent and fraternal Africa kneaded by fundamental secular values, that our societies knew how to preserve from wear of time, united and indivisible Africa is able to take up the challenges of the third millennium.

Yes, our institutions can, in the field which is theirs, to take part in the achievement of the dream of Nelson Mandela of a “World in rainbow” like was that of Martin Luther King.

Yes, we can, together, with our differences, make democracy progress, the Rule of law and the human rights on our continent. We have the will to achieve this; we have the means, all we need is but to dare.

Thank you for your attention.

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