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Constitution of Iraq (2005)

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4In the name of God, the Most merciful, the Most compassionate

5"We have honored the sons of Adam"

6We, the people of Mesopotamia, the homeland of the apostles and prophets, resting place of the virtuous imams, cradle of civilization, crafters of writing, and home of numeration. Upon our land the first law made by man was passed, and the oldest pact of just governance was inscribed, and upon our soil the saints and companions of the Prophet prayed, philosophers and scientists theorized, and writers and poets excelled;

7Acknowledging God's right over us, and in fulfillment of the call of our homeland and citizens, and in a response to the call of our religious and national leaderships and the determination of our great authorities and of our leaders and politicians, and in the midst of international support from our friends and those who love us, marched for the first time in our history towards the ballot boxes by the millions, men and women, young and old, on the thirtieth of January 2005, invoking the pains of sectarian oppression inflicted by the autocratic clique and inspired by the tragedies of Iraq's martyrs, Shiite and Sunni, Arabs and Kurds and Turkmen and from all other components of the people, and recollecting the darkness of the ravage of the holy cities and the South in the Sha'abaniyya uprising and burnt by the flames of grief of the mass graves, the marshes, Al-Dujail and others and articulating the sufferings of racial oppression in the massacres of Halabcha, Barzan, Anfal and the Fayli Kurds and inspired by the ordeals of the Turkmen in Bashir and the sufferings of the people of the western region, as is the case in the remaining areas of Iraq where the people suffered from the liquidation of their leaders, symbols, and Sheiks and from the displacement of their skilled individuals and from drying out of its cultural and intellectual wells, so we sought hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder to create our new Iraq, the Iraq of the future, free from sectarianism, racism, complex of regional attachment, discrimination, and exclusion.

8Accusations of being infidels, and terrorism did not stop us from marching forward to build a nation of law. Sectarianism and racism have not stopped us from marching together to strengthen our national unity, following the path of peaceful transfer of power, adopting the course of just distribution of resources, and providing equal opportunity for all.

9We, the people of Iraq, who have just risen from our stumble, and who are looking with confidence to the future through a republican, federal, democratic, pluralistic system, have resolved with the determination of our men, women, elderly, and youth to respect the rule of law, to establish justice and equality, to cast aside the politics of aggression, to pay attention to women and their rights, the elderly and their concerns, and children and their affairs, to spread the culture of diversity, and to defuse terrorism.

10We, the people of Iraq, of all components and across the spectrum, have taken upon ourselves to decide freely and by choice to unite our future, to take lessons from yesterday for tomorrow, and to enact this permanent Constitution, through the values and ideals of the heavenly messages and the findings of science and man's civilization. The adherence to this Constitution preserves for Iraq its free union of people, of land, and of sovereignty.

11Section One. Fundamental Principles

12Article 1

13The Republic of Iraq is a single federal, independent and fully sovereign state in which the system of government is republican, representative, parliamentary, and democratic, and this Constitution is a guarantor of the unity of Iraq.

14Article 2


16Islam is the official religion of the State and is a foundation source of legislation:

17 A.No law may be enacted that contradicts the established provisions of Islam

18 B.No law may be enacted that contradicts the principles of democracy.

19 C.No law may be enacted that contradicts the rights and basic freedoms stipulated in this Constitution.


21This Constitution guarantees the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people and guarantees the full religious rights to freedom of religious belief and practice of all individuals such as Christians, Yazidis, and Mandean Sabeans.

22Article 3

23Iraq is a country of multiple nationalities, religions, and sects. It is a founding and active member in the Arab League and is committed to its charter, and it is part of the Islamic world.

24Article 4


26The Arabic language and the Kurdish language are the two official languages of Iraq. The right of Iraqis to educate their children in their mother tongue, such as Turkmen, Assyrian, and Armenian shall be guaranteed in government educational institutions in accordance with educational guidelines, or in any other language in private educational institutions.


28The scope of the term "official language" and the means of applying the provisions of this article shall be defined by a law and shall include:

29 A.Publication of the Official Gazette, in the two languages;

30 B.Speech, conversation, and expression in official domains, such as the Council of Representatives, the Council of Ministers, courts, and official conferences, in either of the two languages;

31 C.Recognition and publication of official documents and correspondence in the two languages;

32 D.Opening schools that teach the two languages, in accordance with the educational guidelines;

33 E.Use of both languages in any matter enjoined by the principle of equality such as bank notes, passports, and stamps.


35The federal and official institutions and agencies in the Kurdistan region shall use both languages.


37The Turkomen language and the Syriac language are two other official languages in the administrative units in which they constitute density of population.


39Each region or governorate may adopt any other local language as an additional official language if the majority of its population so decides in a general referendum.

40Article 5

41The law is sovereign. The people are the source of authority and legitimacy, which they shall exercise in a direct, general, secret ballot and through their constitutional institutions.

42Article 6

43Transfer of authority shall be made peacefully through democratic means as stipulated in this Constitution.

44Article 7


46Any entity or program that adopts, incites, facilitates, glorifies, promotes, or justifies racism or terrorism or accusations of being an infidel (takfir) or ethnic cleansing, especially the Saddamist Ba'ath in Iraq and its symbols, under any name whatsoever, shall be prohibited. Such entities may not be part of political pluralism in Iraq. This shall be regulated by law.


48The State shall undertake to combat terrorism in all its forms, and shall work to protect its territories from being a base, pathway, or field for terrorist activities.

49Article 8

50Iraq shall observe the principles of good neighborliness, adhere to the principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of other states, seek to settle disputes by peaceful means, establish relations on the basis of mutual interests and reciprocity, and respect its international obligations.

51Article 9


53 A.The Iraqi armed forces and security services will be composed of the components of the Iraqi people with due consideration given to their balance and representation without discrimination or exclusion. They shall be subject to the control of the civilian authority, shall defend Iraq, shall not be used as an instrument to oppress the Iraqi people, shall not interfere in the political affairs, and shall have no role in the transfer of authority.

54 B.The formation of military militias outside the framework of the armed forces is prohibited.

55 C.The Iraqi armed forces and their personnel, including military personnel working in the Ministry of Defense or any subordinate departments or organizations, may not stand for election to political office, campaign for candidates, or participate in other activities prohibited by Ministry of Defense regulations. This ban includes the activities of the personnel mentioned above acting in their personal or professional capacities, but shall not infringe upon the right of these personnel to cast their vote in the elections.

56 D.The Iraqi National Intelligence Service shall collect information, assess threats to national security, and advise the Iraqi government. This Service shall be under civilian control, shall be subject to legislative oversight, and shall operate in accordance with the law and pursuant to the recognized principles of human rights.

57 E.The Iraqi Government shall respect and implement Iraq's international obligations regarding the non-proliferation, non-development, non-production, and non-use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and shall prohibit associated equipment, materiel, technologies, and delivery systems for use in the development, manufacture, production, and use of such weapons.


59Military service shall be regulated by law.

60Article 10

61The holy shrines and religious sites in Iraq are religious and civilizational entities. The State is committed to assuring and maintaining their sanctity, and to guaranteeing the free practice of rituals in them.

62Article 11

63Baghdad is the capital of the Republic of Iraq.

64Article 12


66The flag, national anthem, and emblem of Iraq shall be regulated by law in a way that symbolizes the components of the Iraqi people.


68A law shall regulate honors, official holidays, religious and national occasions and the Hijri and Gregorian calendar.

69Article 13


71This Constitution is the preeminent and supreme law in Iraq and shall be binding in all parts of Iraq without exception.


73No law that contradicts this Constitution shall be enacted. Any text in any regional constitutions or any other legal text that contradicts this Constitution shall be considered void.

74Section Two. Rights and Freedoms

75Chapter One. Rights

76ONE. Civil and Political Rights

77Article 14

78Iraqis are equal before the law without discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, origin, color, religion, sect, belief or opinion, or economic or social status.

79Article 15

80Every individual has the right to enjoy life, security and liberty. Deprivation or restriction of these rights is prohibited except in accordance with the law and based on a decision issued by a competent judicial authority.

81Article 16

82Equal opportunities shall be guaranteed to all Iraqis, and the state shall ensure that the necessary measures to achieve this are taken.

83Article 17


85Every individual shall have the right to personal privacy so long as it does not contradict the rights of others and public morals.


87The sanctity of the homes shall be protected. Homes may not be entered, searched, or violated, except by a judicial decision in accordance with the law.

88Article 18


90Iraqi citizenship is a right for every Iraqi and is the basis of his nationality.


92Anyone who is born to an Iraqi father or to an Iraqi mother shall be considered an Iraqi. This shall be regulated by law.


94 A.An Iraqi citizen by birth may not have his citizenship withdrawn for any reason. Any person who had his citizenship withdrawn shall have the right to demand its reinstatement. This shall be regulated by a law.

95 B.Iraqi citizenship shall be withdrawn from naturalized citizens in cases regulated by law.


97An Iraqi may have multiple citizenships. Everyone who assumes a senior, security or sovereign position must abandon any other acquired citizenship. This shall be regulated by law.


99Iraqi citizenship shall not be granted for the purposes of the policy of population settlement that disrupts the demographic composition of Iraq.


101Citizenship provisions shall be regulated by law. The competent courts shall consider the suits arising from those provisions.

102Article 19


104The judiciary is independent and no power is above the judiciary except the law.


106There is no crime or punishment except by law. The punishment shall only be for an act that the law considers a crime when perpetrated. A harsher punishment than the applicable punishment at the time of the offense may not be imposed.


108Litigation shall be a protected and guaranteed right for all.


110The right to a defense shall be sacred and guaranteed in all phases of investigation and the trial.


112The accused is innocent until proven guilty in a fair legal trial. The accused may not be tried for the same crime for a second time after acquittal unless new evidence is produced.


114Every person shall have the right to be treated with justice in judicial and administrative proceedings.


116The proceedings of a trial are public unless the court decides to make it secret.


118Punishment shall be personal.


120Laws shall not have retroactive effect unless stipulated otherwise. This exclusion shall not include laws on taxes and fees.


122Criminal laws shall not have retroactive effect, unless it is to the benefit of the accused.


124The court shall appoint a lawyer at the expense of the state for an accused of a felony or misdemeanor who does not have a defense lawyer.


126 A.Unlawful detention shall be prohibited.

127 B.Imprisonment or detention shall be prohibited in places not designed for these purposes, pursuant to prison laws covering health and social care, and subject to the authorities of the State.


129The preliminary investigative documents shall be submitted to the competent judge in a period not to exceed twenty-four hours from the time of the arrest of the accused, which may be extended only once and for the same period.

130Article 20

131Iraqi citizens, men and women, shall have the right to participate in public affairs and to enjoy political rights including the right to vote, elect, and run for office.

132Article 21


134No Iraqi shall be surrendered to foreign entities and authorities.


136A law shall regulate the right of political asylum in Iraq. No political refugee shall be surrendered to a foreign entity or returned forcibly to the country from which he fled.


138Political asylum shall not be granted to a person accused of committing international or terrorist crimes or to any person who inflicted damage on Iraq.

139TWO. Economic, Social and Cultural Freedoms

140Article 22


142Work is a right for all Iraqis in a way that guarantees a dignified life for them.


144The law shall regulate the relationship between employees and employers on economic bases and while observing the rules of social justice.


146The State shall guarantee the right to form and join unions and professional associations, and this shall be regulated by law.

147Article 23


149Private property is protected. The owner shall have the right to benefit, exploit and dispose of private property within the limits of the law.


151Expropriation is not permissible except for the purposes of public benefit in return for just compensation, and this shall be regulated by law.


153 A.Every Iraqi shall have the right to own property anywhere in Iraq. No others may possess immovable assets, except as exempted by law.

154 B.Ownership of property for the purposes of demographic change is prohibited.

155Article 24

156The State shall guarantee freedom of movement of Iraqi manpower, goods, and capital between regions and governorates, and this shall be regulated by law.

157Article 25

158The State shall guarantee the reform of the Iraqi economy in accordance with modern economic principles to insure the full investment of its resources, diversification of its sources, and the encouragement and development of the private sector.

159Article 26

160The State shall guarantee the encouragement of investment in the various sectors, and this shall be regulated by law.

161Article 27


163Public assets are sacrosanct, and their protection is the duty of each citizen.


165The provisions related to the preservation of State properties, their management, the conditions for their disposal, and the limits for these assets not to be relinquished shall all be regulated by law.

166Article 28


168No taxes or fees shall be levied, amended, collected, or exempted, except by law.


170Low income earners shall be exempted from taxes in a way that guarantees the preservation of the minimum income required for living. This shall be regulated by law.

171Article 29


173 A.The family is the foundation of society; the State shall preserve it and its religious, moral, and national values.

174 B.The State shall guarantee the protection of motherhood, childhood and old age, shall care for children and youth, and shall provide them with the appropriate conditions to develop their talents and abilities.


176Children have the right to upbringing, care and education from their parents. Parents have the right to respect and care from their children, especially in times of need, disability, and old age.


178Economic exploitation of children in all of its forms shall be prohibited, and the State shall take the necessary measures for their protection.


180All forms of violence and abuse in the family, school, and society shall be prohibited.

181Article 30


183The State shall guarantee to the individual and the family - especially children and women – social and health security, the basic requirements for living a free and decent life, and shall secure for them suitable income and appropriate housing.


185The State shall guarantee social and health security to Iraqis in cases of old age, sickness, employment disability, homelessness, orphanhood, or unemployment, shall work to protect them from ignorance, fear and poverty, and shall provide them housing and special programs of care and rehabilitation, and this shall be regulated by law.

186Article 31


188Every citizen has the right to health care. The State shall maintain public health and provide the means of prevention and treatment by building different types of hospitals and health institutions.


190Individuals and entities have the right to build hospitals, clinics, or private health care centers under the supervision of the State, and this shall be regulated by law.

191Article 32

192The State shall care for the handicapped and those with special needs, and shall ensure their rehabilitation in order to reintegrate them into society, and this shall be regulated by law.

193Article 33


195Every individual has the right to live in safe environmental conditions.


197The State shall undertake the protection and preservation of the environment and its biological diversity.

198Article 34


200Education is a fundamental factor for the progress of society and is a right guaranteed by the state. Primary education is mandatory and the state guarantees that it shall combat illiteracy.

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  • Theoretical/Philosophical
  • Historical Commentary
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  • separation of powers
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