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Members from Syria’s constitutional committee link rule of law to issue of detainees

Meetings of the Syrian Constitutional Committee in Geneva, Switzerland - 2019 (Enab Baladi)

Meetings of the Syrian Constitutional Committee in Geneva, Switzerland - 2019 (Enab Baladi)

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Members from Syria’s 45-member constitutional committee, at their first meetings in Geneva, emphasized the link between the constitutional principle of the rule of law and the issue of detainees.

Sources in the Syrian Constitutional Committee (SCC) reported to Enab Baladi that at the meetings held on 7 November 2019, the committee discussed several issues–the rule of law and its link to the citizens’ freedom, detention laws, independence of the judiciary, state neutrality, as well as conducting a comparison and review of all Syrian constitutional experiences.

The sources added that the Syrian opposition-backed group in the SCC focused on the file of detainees and forcibly disappeared persons and the importance of clarifying their fate and setting principles within the rule of law regarding them.

The head of the Syrian High Negotiations Committee (HNC), Nasr Hariri, addressed the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, in a letter, seen by Enab Baladi. The letter pointed out that the HNC asked Pedersen to resume negotiations about the four baskets of the agenda agreed in UN Security Council resolution 2254, especially the formation of the transitional governing body in parallel with the work of the SCC.

In the letter, Hariri asked Pederson to restart negotiations on governance, elections, as well as terrorism and security in conjunction with the work of the constitutional committee.

Hariri indicated that with the passage of time, the suffering of the Syrians is exacerbated in areas of displacement, countries of asylum, camps and detention centers.

Hariri highlighted that the discussion about the transitional governing body comes in order to make use of the outcomes of the SCC in urgent and practical ways, and in accordance with the rule “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

UNSC resolution 2254 is an essential reference for the political process in Syria. It provides for the formation of a comprehensive and non-sectarian transitional government. Moreover, resolution 2254 refers to the drafting of a new constitution for the country and the organization of legislative and presidential elections under the new constitution within 18 months.

The SCC continued its meeting for the tenth consecutive day at the UN headquarters in Geneva, pending the outcomes of the last session, on Friday, and the agreed rules of procedures, before beginning to dig into detailed talks on the new Syrian constitution.

On the other hand, a group of members of the civil society list in the drafting group of the constitutional committee, on 7 November 2019, called for a ceasefire in Idlib.

A delegation of six members from the civil society list, out of the 15-member list, met with the UN envoy, Geir Pedersen and the Russian advisor to the UN Secretary General, Vitaly Naumkin before the start of the fourth day of meetings of the smaller committee groups.

Informed sources told Enab Baladi that the six-representatives of civil society asked the envoy and the advisor to apply pressure on both warring sides in order to hold a ceasefire in Idlib. The group pointed out that the continued violence and its threat to civilian lives in Idlib will affect the work of the committee negatively.

The 45-member constitutional committee began its first meetings last Monday, 4 November. The meetings of the committee have included so far, the writing of the constitutional contents, based on the speeches and discussions of the 150 members of the expanded constitutional committee, on the 30th and 31th of October 2019.

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