Seminar on the 2004 Constitution of Afghanistan: Relevance and Pertinent Challenges

AREU recently completed the ‘Afghan Constitutional Analysis and Dialogues’ Project. This was the first major study reflecting on a decade of the 2004 Constitution. The project examined the status and evolution of constitutional and legal debates ten years after the adoption of the Afghan Constitution in 2004 and twelve years after the Bonn process of 2001. As part of the project AREU had commissioned a series of papers examining key themes of the Constitution including separation of powers, electoral framework, and fundamental rights. Each paper examined actual constitutional crisis that took place over the past ten years, and analyzed underlying legal and political issues.  The first paper of the series was an issue brief framing the key constitutional debates over the last decade authored by Professor Dr. Mohammad Hashim Kamali. Additionally, three case studies were authored by Mr. Farid Hamidi, Professor Ghizaal Haress, and Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta.  The study marked a first for AREU where all the research output was produced by Afghan scholars, policy makers and intellectuals. These research papers generated a significant debate among public and highest levels of policy makers on major constitutional issues and highlighted the absence of body of literature on constitutional law issues in the country. While the first phase of this constitutional research helped framing a focused and increasingly professional debate on constitutional reform, it became apparent that additional research needed to be undertaken into the 2004 Constitution.  In particular, given that constitutional reform is back on national discussions and debates, it is important that additional research is conducted with a view to inform future reform process.

AREU thus hosted a National Level seminar on January 18, 2016 at the Kabul Serena where the researchers and experts from the past year’s project were invited to present on their findings. Participants included Dr. Hashim Kamali, Dr. Spanta, Prof. Haress and other notable legal experts from Afghanistan such as Mr. Kawun Kakar, Prof. Najib Amin, Lutf-ur-Rahman Saeed and several law professors from Nangarhar University, Herat University, Takhar University, Mazar University and Balkh University as well as representatives from the Supreme Court of Afghanistan. The day-long session yielded some excellent discussions on the past researches, with participants emphasizing the need to continue such research and highlighted the other pertinent issues that must be examined in the near future in order to strengthen the reforms process of the 2004 Constitution of Afghanistan.