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17.03.2009

Republic’s heritage

March, 15 is the day of Constitution in Belarus. This year it celebrates its 15th anniversary. Such an interesting coincidence. A state may have many attributes. The Constitution is one of them. Formally Constitution is the main law of the state, the basis of its national legal system. However, among other things this is in a way the state’s declaration of its objectives and goals at the world scene.

March, 15 is the day of Constitution in Belarus. This year it celebrates its 15th anniversary. Such an interesting coincidence. A state may have many attributes. The Constitution is one of them. Formally Constitution is the main law of the state, the basis of its national legal system. However, among other things this is in a way the state’s declaration of its objectives and goals at the world scene.

The basis of Belarusian Constitution is the reflection of the best achievements of the humanity in legal sphere that are the Universal declaration of human rights (1948), International Pact on civil and political rights (1966), International Pact on economic, social and cultural rights (1966) and other important universal international legal acts that protect human rights.

Modern constitutions are classified according to different criteria. There are granted and approved constitutions in accordance with adoption criterion, flexible and inflexible in accordance with amendment criterion, written and unwritten in accordance with the constitution form. Thus the Constitution of Belarus is an approved, written one, with a tough procedure of corrective action.

In fact constitutions must be divided into actual and declaratory ones. In the USSR there were three constitutions approved consecutively in 1924, 1936 and 1977. None of them was actual one. This means that none of the Soviet Union court while making a decision on a case was guided by the USSR Constitution articles. USSR courts followed the Criminal and Administrative codes, regulations and decrees of the Council of Ministers and the USSR Constitution was the only document that wasn’t taken into account. From this point of view the overcoming of this idea about declaratory character of constitution norms and their general nature so typical for soviet law is great achievement of modern Belarus. An illustrative example of this is the activity of the Constitution court of the Republic of Belarus, which terms of reference cover the control over the correspondence of the approved and functioning legal norms with the Constitution. Another significant criterion for the Constitution is the duration of its validity. Certainly Belarusian Constitution is still very young from historical point of view. The recognized record holder here is the US Constitution that has functioned since 1787. And we have a lot to strive for. However, it is wrong to think that constitution is static. On the contrary, any constitution must develop; otherwise it will stop coping with the time challenges and will turn into collected articles. For example, there have been made 27 amendments in the US constitution for more than 200 years.

The Belarusian Constitution has been amended three times for 15 years: at the referenda on May, 14 in 1995, on November, 24 in 1996 and on October, 17 in 2004.

The 15 years of functioning of Belarusian Constitution have showed that it has become a symbol of Belarus and Belarusian people together with coat of arms and flag, it has become the Republic’s heritage.