THE CONSTITUTION OF ERITREA
Ratified by the Constituent Assembly, On May 23, 1997
We the people of Eritrea, united in a common struggle for our rights
and common destiny:
With Eternal Gratitude
to the scores of thousands of our martyrs
who sacrificed their lives for the causes of our rights and independence,
during the long and heroic revolutionary struggle for liberation, and to
the courage and steadfastness of our Eritrean patriots; and standing on the
solid ground of unity and justice bequeathed by our martyrs and
that it is the sacred duty of all citizens to build a strong and
advanced Eritrea on the bases of freedom, unity, peace, stability and
security achieved through the long struggle of all Eritreans, which
tradition we must cherish, preserve and develop;
that in order to build an advanced country, it is necessary
that the unity, equality, love for truth and justice, self-reliance, and hard
work, which we nurtured during our revolutionary struggle for
independence and which helped us to triumph, must become the core of
our national values;
the fact that for the development and health of our
society, it is necessary that we inherit and improve upon the traditional
community-based assistance and fratern
ity, love for family, respect for
elders, mutual respect and consideration;
that the establishment of
a democratic order, through
the participation of and in respons
e to the needs and interests of
citizens, which guarantees the recognition and protection of the rights
of citizens, human dignity, equali
ty, balanced deve
lopment and the
satisfaction of the material and spiritual needs of citizens, is the
foundation of economic growth, social harmony and progress;
the fact that the Eritrean women’s heroic participation in the
struggle for independence, human rights and solidarity, based on equality
and mutual respect, generated by such struggle will serve as an
unshakable foundation for our commitment to create a society in which
women and men shall interact on the bases of mutual respect, solidarity
that the Constitution we are adopting will be a covenant
between us and the government, which we will be forming by our
free-will, to serve as a means for governing in harmony this and future
generations and for bringing about justice and peace, founded on
democracy, national unity and the rule of law;
Today, 23 May 1997, on this historic date, after active popular
participation, approve and solemnly ratify, through the Constituent
Assembly, this Constitution as the fundamental law of our Sovereign and
Independent State of Eritrea.
CHAPTER I: GENERAL PROVISIONS
Article 1 - The State of Eritrea and its Territory
Eritrea is a sovereign and independent State founded on the
principles of democracy, social justice and the rule of law.
The territory of Eritrea consists of all its territories, including the
islands, territorial waters and airspace, delineated by recognised
In the State of Eritrea, sovereign power is vested in the people,
and shall be exercised pursuant to the provisions of this Constitution.
The government of Eritrea shall be established through
democratic procedures to represent people’s sovereignty and shall have
strong institutions, accommodating popular participation and serving as
foundation of a viable democratic political order.
Eritrea is a unitary State divided into units of local government.
The powers and duties of these units shall be determined by law.
Article 2 - Supremacy of the Constitution
This Constitution is the legal expression of the sovereignty of the
This Constitution enunciates the principles on which the State is
based and by which it shall be guided and determines the organisation
and operation of government. It is the source of government legitimacy
and the basis for the protection of the rights, freedoms and dignity of
citizens and of just administration.
This Constitution is the supreme law of the country and the
source of all laws of the State, and all laws, orders and acts contrary to its
letter and spirit shall be null and void.
All organs of the State, ail public and private associations and
institutions and all citizens shall be bound by and remain loyal to the
Constitution and shall ensure its observance.
This Constitution shall serve as a basis for instilling constitutional
culture and for enlightening citizens to respect fundamental human rights
Article 3 - Citizenship
Any person born of an Eritrean father or mother is an Eritrean by
Any foreign citizen may acquire Eritrean citizenship pursuant to
The details concerning citizenship shall be regulated by law.
Article 4 - National Symbols and Languages
1. The Eritrean Flag shall have green, red and blue colours with golden
olive leaves. The detailed description of the Flag shall be determined by
2. Eritrea shall have a National Anthem and a Coat of Arms reflecting the
history and the aspiration of its people. The details of the National
Anthem and the Coat of Arms shall be determined by law.
3. The equality of all Eritrean languages is guaranteed.
Article 5 - Gender Reference
Without consideration to the wording of any provision in this
Constitution with reference to gender, all of its articles shall apply
equally to both genders.
CHAPTER II: NATIONAL OBJECTIVES AND
Article 6 - National Unity and Stability
As the people and government strive to establish a united and
advanced country within the context of the diversity of Eritrea, they shall
be guided by the basic principle “unity in diversity.”
The State shall, through participation of all citizens, ensure
national stability and development by encouraging democratic dialogue
and national consensus; and by laying a firm political, cultural and moral
foundation of national unity and social harmony.
The State shall ensure peaceful and stable conditions by
establishing appropriate participatory institutions that guarantee and
hasten equitable economic and social progress.
Article 7 - Democratic Principles
1. It is a fundamental principle of the State of Eritrea to guarantee its
citizens broad and active participation in all political, economic, social
and cultural life of the country.
2. Any act that violates the human rights of women or limits or otherwise
thwarts their role and participation is prohibited.
3. There shall be established appropriate institutions to encourage and
develop people’s initiative and participation in their communities.
4. Pursuant to the provisions of this Constitution and laws enacted
pursuant thereto, all Eritreans, without distinction, are guaranteed equal
opportunity to participate in any position of leadership in the country.
5. The conduct of the affairs of government and all organisations and
institutions shall be accountable and transparent.
6. The organisation and operation of all political, public associations and
movements shall be guided by the principles of national unity and
7. The State shall create conditions necessary for developing a
democratic political culture defined by free and critical thinking,
tolerance and national consensus.
Article 8 - Economic and Social Development
The State shall strive to create opportunities to ensure the
fulfilment of citizens’ rights to social justice and economic development
and to fulfil their material and spiritual needs.
The State shall work to bring about a balanced and sustainable
development throughout the country, and shall use all available means to
enable all citizens to improve their livelihood in a sustainable manner,
through their participation.
In the interest of present and future generations, the State shall be
responsible for managing all land, water, air and natural resources and for
ensuring their management in a balanced and sustainable manner; and for
creating the right conditions to secure the participation of the people in
safeguarding the environment.
Article 9 - National Culture
The State shall be responsible for creating and promoting
conditions conducive for developing a national culture capable of
expressing national identity, unity and progress of the Eritrean people.
The State shall encourage values of community solidarity and
love and respect of the family.
The State shall promote the development of the arts, science,
technology and sports and shall create an enabling environment for
individuals to work in an atmosphere of freedom and to manifest
their creativity and innovation.
Article 10 - Competent Justice System
The justice system of Eritrea shall be independent, competent and
accountable pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution and laws.
Courts shall work under a judicial system that is capable of
producing quick and equitable judgments and that can easily be
understood by and is accessible to all the people.
Judges shall be free from corruption or discrimination and, in
rendering their judgment, they shall make no distinction among persons.
The State shall encourage equitable out-of-court settlement of
disputes through conciliation, mediation or arbitration.
Article 11 - Competent Civil Service
The Civil Service of Eritrea shall have efficient, effective and
accountable administrative institutions dedicated to the service of the
All administrative institutions shall be free from corruption,
discrimination and delay in the delivery of efficient and equitable public
Article 12 - National Defence and Security
The defence and security forces of Eritrea shall owe allegiance to
and obey the Constitution and the government established thereunder.
The defence and security forces are an integral part of society,
and shall be productive and respectful of the people.
The defence and security forces shall be competent and be subject
to and accountable under the law.
The defence and security of Eritrea depend on the people and on
their active participation.
Article 13 - Foreign Policy
The foreign policy of Eritrea is based on respect for state sovereignty and
independence and on promoting the interest of regional and international
peace, cooperation, stability and development.
CHAPTER III: FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, FREEDOMS AND
Article 14 - Equality under the Law
All persons are equal under the law.
No person may be discriminated against on account of race,
ethnic origin, language, colour, gender, religion, disability, age, political
view, or social or economic status or any other improper factors.
The National Assembly shall enact laws that can assist in
eliminating inequalities existing in the Eritrean society.
Article 15 - Right to Life and Liberty
No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law.
No person shall be deprived of liberty without due process of law.
Article 16 - Right to Human Dignity
The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.
No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment.
No person shall be held in slavery or servitude nor shall any
person be required to perform forced labour not authorised by law.
Article 17 - Arrest, Detention and Fair Trial
No person may be arrested or detained save pursuant to due
process of law.
No person shall be tried or convicted for any act or omission
which did not constitute a criminal offence at the time when it was
Every person arrested or detained shall be informed of the
grounds for his arrest or detention and of the rights he has in connection
with his arrest or detention in a language he understands.
Every person who is held in detention shall be brought before a
court of law within forty-eight (48) hours of his arrest, and if this is not
reasonably possible, as soon as possible thereafter, and no such person
shall be held in custody beyond such period without the authority of the
Every person shall have the right to petition a court of law for a
Writ of Habeas Corpus. Where the arresting officer fails to bring the
person arrested before the court and
provide the reason for his arrest, the
court shall accept the petition and order the release of the prisoner.
Every person charged with an offence shall be entitled to a fair,
speedy and public hearing by a court of law; provided, however, that
such a court may exclude the press and the public from all or any part of
the trial for reasons of morals or national security, as may be necessary in
a just and democratic society.
A person charged with an offence shall be presumed to be
innocent, and shall not be punished, unless he is found guilty by a court
Where an accused is convicted, he shall have the right to appeal.
No person shall be liable to be tried again for any criminal offence on
which judgement has been rendered.
Article 18 - Right to Privacy
Every person shall have the right to privacy.
(a) No person shall be subject to body search, nor shall his
premises be entered into or searched or his communications,
correspondence, or other property be interfered with, without reasonable
(b) No search warrant shall issue, save upon probable cause,
supported by oath, and particularly describing the place to be
searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Article 19 - Freedom of Conscience, Religion, Expression of Opinion,
Movement, Assembly and Organisation
Every person shall have the right to freedom of thought,
conscience and belief.
Every person shall have the freedom of speech and expression,
including freedom of the press and other media.
Every citizen shall have the right of access to information.
Every person shall have the freedom to practice any religion and
to manifest such practice.
All persons shall have the right to assemble and to demonstrate
peaceably together with others.
Every citizen shall have the right to form organisations for
political, social, economic and cultural ends.
Every citizen shall have the right to practice any lawful
profession, or engage in any occupation or trade.
Every citizen shall have the right to move freely throughout
Eritrea or reside and settle in any part thereof.
Every citizen shall have the right to leave and return to Eritrea
and to be provided with passport or any other travel documents.
Article 20 - Right to Vote and to be a Candidate to an Elective Office
Every citizen who fulfils the requirements of the electoral law shall have
the right to vote and to seek elective office.
Article 21 - Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and
1. Every citizen shall have the right of equal access to publicly funded
social services. The State shall endeavor, within the limit of its resources,
to make available to all citizens health, education, cultural and other
2. The State shall secure, within available means, the social welfare of all
citizens and particularly those disadvantaged.
3. Every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in any economic
activity and to engage in any lawful business.
4. The State and society shall have the responsibility of identifying,
preserving and developing, as need be, and bequeathing to succeeding
generations historical and cultural heritage; and shall lay the necessary
groundwork for the development of the arts, science, technology and
sports, thus encouraging citizens to participate in such endeavors.
5. The National Assembly shall enact laws guaranteeing and securing the
social welfare of citizens, the rights and conditions of labour and other
rights and responsibilities listed in this Article.
Article 22 - Family
The family is the natural and fundamental unit of society and is
entitled to the protection and special care of the State and society.
Men and women of full legal age shall have the right, upon their
consent, to marry and to found a family freely, without any
discrimination and they shall have equal rights and duties as to all family
Parents have the right and duty to bring up their children with due
care and affection; and, in turn, children have the right and the duty to
respect their parents and to sustain them in their old age.
Article 23 - Right to Property
Subject to the provisions of Sub-Article 2 of this Article, any
citizen shall have the right, any where in Eritrea, to acquire and dispose
property, individually or in association with others, and to bequeath the
same to his heirs or legatees.
All land and all natural resources below and above the surface of
the territory of Eritrea belongs to the State. The interests citizens shall
have in land shall be determined by law.
The State may, in the national or public interest, take property,
subject to the payment of just compensation and in accordance with due
process of law.
Article 24 - Administrative Redress
Any person with an administrative question shall have the right to
be heard respectfully by the administrative officials concerned and to
receive quick and equitable answers from them.
Any person with an administrative question, whose rights or
interests are interfered with or threatened, shall have the right to seek due
Article 25 - Duties of Citizens
All citizens shall have the duty to:
owe allegiance to Eritrea, strive for its development and promote
be ready to defend the country;
complete one’s duty in national service;
advance national unity;
respect and defend the Constitution;
respect the rights of others; and
comply with the requirements of the law.
Article 26 - Limitation Upon Fundamental Rights and Freedoms
1. The fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under this
Constitution may be limited only in so far as is in the interests of national
security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, health
or morals, for the prevention of public disorder or crime or for the
protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
2. Any law providing for the limitation of the fundamental rights and
freedoms guaranteed in this Constitution must:
a. be consistent with the principles of democracy and justice;
b. be of general application and not negate the essential content of the
right or freedom in question;
c. specify the ascertainable extent of such limitation and identify the
article or articles hereof on which authority to enact such limitation is
claimed to rest.
3. The provisions of Sub-Article 1 of this Article shall not be used to
limit the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under Articles 14(1)
and (2); 15; 16; 17(2), (5), (7) and (8); and 19(1) of this Constitution.
Article 27 - State of Emergency
1. At a time when public safety or the security or stability of the State is
threatened by war, external invasion, civil disorder or natural disaster, the
President may by a proclamation published in the Official Gazette
declare that a state of emergency exists in Eritrea or any part thereof.
2. A declaration under Sub-Article 1 of this Article shall not become
effective unless approved by a resolution passed by a two-thirds majority
vote of all members of the National Assembly. A declaration made when
the National Assembly is in session shall be presented within two days
after its publication, or otherwise, the National Assembly shall be
summoned to meet and consider the declaration within thirty days of its
3. A declaration approved by the National Assembly pursuant to
Sub-Article 2 of this Article shall continue to be in force for a period of
six months after such approval. The National Assembly may, by a
resolution of two-thirds majority vote of all its members, extend its
approval of the declaration for a period of three months at a time.
4. The National Assembly may, at any time, by resolution revoke a
declaration approved by it pursuant to the provisions of this Article.
5. A declaration of a state of emergency or any measures undertaken or
laws enacted pursuant to it shall not:
a. suspend Articles 14(1) and (2); 16; 17(2); and 19(1) of the
b. grant pardon or amnesty to any person or persons who, acting under
the authority of the State, have committed illegal acts; or
c. introduce martial law when there is no external invasion or civil
Article 28 - Enforcement of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms
1. The National Assembly or any subordinate legislative authority shall
not make any law, and the Executive and the agencies of government
shall not take any action that abolishes or abridges the fundamental rights
and freedoms conferred by this Constitution, unless so authorised by this
Constitution. Any law or action in violation thereof shall be null and
2. Any aggrieved person who claims that a fundamental right or freedom
guaranteed by this Constitution has been denied or violated shall be
entitled to petition a competent court for redress. Where it ascertains that
such fundamental right or freedom has been denied or violated, the court
shall have the power to make all such orders as shall be necessary to
secure for such petitioner the enjoyment of such fundamental right or
freedom, and where such applicant suffers damage, to include an award
of monetary compensation.
Article 29 - Residual Rights
The rights enumerated in this Chapter shall not preclude other rights
which ensue from the spirit of this Constitution and the principles of a
society based on social justice, democracy and the rule of law.
CHAPTER IV: THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Article 30 - Representation of the People
All Eritrean citizens, of eighteen years of age or more, shall have
the right to vote.
The National Assembly shall enact an electoral law, which shall
ensure the representation and participation of the Eritrean people.
Article 31 - Establishment and Duration of the National Assembly
1. There shall be a National Assembly which shall be the supreme
representative and legislative body.
2. The National Assembly shall be composed of representatives elected
by the people.
3. Members of the National Assembly shall be elected by secret ballot of
all citizens who are qualified to vote.
4. Members of the National Assembly are representatives of the Eritrean
people as a whole. In discharging their duties, they are governed by the
objectives and principles of the Constitution, the interest of the people
and the country and their conscience.
5. The first session of the National Assembly shall be held within one
month after a general election. The term of the National Assembly shall
be five years from the date of such first session. Where there exists a state
of emergency which prevents a general election from being held, the
National Assembly may, by a resolution supported by not less than
two-thirds vote of all its members, extend the life of the National
Assembly for a period not exceeding six months.
6. The qualifications and election of the members of the National
Assembly, the conditions for vacating their seats and other related
matters shall be determined by law.
Article 32 - Powers and Duties of the National Assembly
1. Pursuant to the provisions of this Constitution:
a. the National Assembly shall have the power to enact laws and pass
resolutions for the peace, stability, development and social justice of
b. unless authorized pursuant to the provisions of this Constitution and
law enacted by the National Assembly, no person or organisation shall
have the power to make decisions having the force of law.
2. The National Assembly shall be bound by the objectives and principles
of the Constitution, and shall strive to realise the objectives stated therein.
3. The National Assembly shall approve the national budget and enact tax
4. The National Assembly shall ratify international agreements by law.
5. The National Assembly shall have the power to approve government
6. The National Assembly shall approve a state of peace, war or national
7. The National Assembly shall have the power to oversee the execution
8. The National Assembly shall have the power to elect, from among its
members, by an absolute majority vote of all its members, the President
who shall serve for five years.
9. Pursuant to the provisions of Article 41(6)(a), (b) and (c) hereof, the
National Assembly may, by a two-thirds majority vote of all its members,
impeach or impeach and charge the President before the end of his term
10. The National Assembly shall have the power to approve an
appointment pursuant to this Constitution.
11. The National Assembly shall establish a standing committee to deal
with citizens petitions.
12. The National Assembly shall have the power to enact all resolutions
and to undertake all such measures as are necessary and to establish such
committees as it deems appropriate for discharging its
Article 33 - Approval of Draft Legislation
Any draft law approved by the National Assembly shall be transmitted to
the President who, within thirty days
of its receipt, shall sign and have it
published in the Official Gazette.
Article 34 - Chairperson of the National Assembly
During the first meeting of its first session, the National
Assembly shall elect, by an absolute majority vote of all its members, a
Chairperson who shall serve for five years.
The Chairperson of the National Assembly shall convene all
sessions of the National Assembly and preside at its meetings, and shall,
during the recess, coordinate and supervise the operations of the standing
committees and the Secretariat of the National Assembly.
The Chairperson of the National Assembly may be replaced by an
absolute majority vote of all the members of the National Assembly.
Article 35 - Oath
Every member of the National Assembly shall take the following
I, __________, swear in
that I will be faithful
and worthy of the trust the Eritrean people placed on me; that I will
uphold and defend the Constitution of Eritrea;
and that I will endeavour to the best of my ability and conscience
for the unity and development of my country.
Article 36 - Rules of Procedure in the National Assembly
The National Assembly shall have regular sessions and shall
determine the timing and duration thereof.
At the request of the President, its Chairperson or one-third of all
its members, the National Assembly shall convene emergency meetings.
The quorum of the National Assembly shall be fifty percent of all
Except as otherwise prescribed by this Constitution, any question
proposed for decision of the National Assembly shall be determined by a
majority vote of those present and voting, and in case of a tie of votes, the
Chairperson may exercise a casting vote.
The National Assembly shall issue rules and regulations
concerning its operations and tasks and the organisation of the standing
committees and its Secretariat, as well as the rules governing
the code of conduct of its members and transparency of its operations.
Article 37 - Office of the National Assembly and Powers of its
The National Assembly shall, under the direction of its
Chairperson, have a Secretariat, which shall provide services to the
National Assembly and its committees.
The various committees established pursuant to the provisions of
Article 32(12) shall have the power to summon any person to appear
before them to give evidence under oath or to submit documents.
Article 38 - Duties, Immunities and Privileges of Members of the
1. All members of the National Assembly shall have the duty to maintain
the high honor of their office and to conduct themselves as humble
servants of the people.
2. No member of the National Assembly may be charged for any crime,
unless he be apprehended in
. However, where it is
deemed necessary to lift his immunity, such a member may be charged in
accordance with procedures determined by the National Assembly.
3. No member of the National Assembly may be charged or otherwise be
answerable for statements made or submitted by him at any meeting of
the National Assembly or any meeting of its committees or any utterance
or statement made outside the National Assembly in connection with his
duty as member thereof.
4. The duties, responsibilities, immunities and compensation of the
members of the National Assembly shall be determined by law; and all
members shall be entitled to the protection of such immunities.
CHAPTER V: THE EXECUTIVE
Article 39 - The President: Head of State and Government
The President of Eritrea is the Head of the State and the
Government of Eritrea and the Commander-in-Chief of the Eritrean
The executive authority is vested in the President, which he shall
exercise, in consultation with the Cabinet, pursuant to the provisions of
The President shall ensure respect of the Constitution; the
integrity and dignity of the State; the efficient management of the public
service; and the interests and safety of all citizens, including the
enjoyment of their fundamental rights and freedoms recognised under
Article 40 - Qualification to be a Candidate to the Office of the
Any member of the National Assembly who seeks to be a candidate to
the office of the President of Eritrea shall be a citizen of Eritrea by birth.
Article 41 - Election and Term of Office of the President
1. The President shall be elected from amongst the members of the
National Assembly by an absolute majority vote of its members. A
candidate for the office of the President must be nominated by at least 20
percent vote of all the members of the National Assembly.
2. The term of office of the President shall be five years, equal to the term
of office of the National Assembly that elects him.
3. No person shall be elected to hold the office of President for more than
4. When the office of the President becomes vacant due to death or
resignation of the incumbent or due to the reasons enumerated in
Sub-Article 6 of this Article, the Chairperson of the National Assembly
shall assume the office of the President. The Chairperson shall serve as
acting President for not more than thirty days, pending the election of
another President to serve the remaining term of his predecessor.
5. The term of office of the person elected to serve as President under
Sub-Article 4 of this Article shall not be considered as a full term for
purposes of Sub-Article 3 of this Article.
6. The President may be removed from office by two-thirds majority vote
of all members of the National Assembly for the following reasons:
a. violation of the Constitution or grave violation of the law;
b. conducting himself in a manner which brings the authority or honour
of the office of the President into ridicule, contempt and disrepute; and
c. being incapable of performing the functions of his office by reason of
physical or mental incapacity.
7. The National Assembly shall determine the procedures for the election
and removal of the President from office.
Article 42 - Powers and Duties of the President
The President shall have the following powers and duties:
1. once every year, deliver a speech in the National Assembly on the state
of the country and the policies of the government;
2. subject to the provisions of Article 27 hereof, declare state of
emergency, and when the defence of the country requires, martial laws;
3. summon the National Assembly to an emergency meeting and present
his views to it;
4. sign and publish in the Official Gazette laws approved by the National
5. ensure the execution of laws and resolutions of the National Assembly;
6. negotiate and sign international agreements and delegate such power;
7. with the approval of the National Assembly, appoint ministers,
commissioners, the Auditor-General, Governor of the National Bank, the
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and any other person or persons who
are required by any other provisions of
this Constitution or other laws to
be appointed by the President;
8. appoint justices of the Supreme Court upon proposal of the Judicial
Service Commission and approval of the National Assembly;
9. appoint judges of the lower courts upon proposal of the Judicial
10. Appoint and receive ambassadors and diplomatic representatives;
11. appoint high ranking members of the Armed and the Security Forces;
12. subject to the provisions of Article27(5)(b), reprieve offenders and
grant pardon or amnesty;
13. establish such government ministries and departments necessary or
expedient for the good governance of Eritrea, in consultation with the
Public Service Administration, and dissolve the same;
14. preside over meetings of the Cabinet and coordinate its activities;
15. present legislative proposals and the national budget to the National
16. confer medals or other honours on citizens, residents and friends of
Eritrea in consultation with the relevant organisations and individuals.
17. Subject to the provisions of Article 52(1), remove any person
appointed by him.
Article 43 - Immunity from Civil and Criminal Proceedings
1. Any person holding the office of the President may not be:
a. sued in any civil proceedings, save where such proceedings concern an
act done in his official capacity as President, in which case the State may
b. charged with any criminal offence, unless he be impeached and
charged under Article 41(6)(a) and (b) hereof.
2. After a President vacates his office no court may entertain any action
against him in any civil proceedings in respect of any act done in his
official capacity as President.
Article 44 - Privileges to be Given to Former Presidents
Provisions shall be made by law for the privileges that shall be granted to
Article 45 - Oath
Upon his election, the President shall take the following oath:
I, ____________, swear in ___________ that I will uphold and
defend the Constitution of Eritrea and that I will strive with the
best of my ability and conscience to serve the people of Eritrea.
Article 46 - The Cabinet
1. There shall be a ministerial Cabinet presided over by the President.
2. The President may select ministers from among members of the
National Assembly or from among persons who are not members of the
3. The Cabinet shall assist the President in:
a. directing, supervising and coordinating the affairs of government;
b. conducting study on and preparing the national budget;
c. conducting study on and preparing draft laws to be presented to the
d. conducting study on and preparing the policies and plans of
4. The President shall issue rules and regulations for the organization,
functions, operations and code of
conduct relating to the members of
the Cabinet and the Secretariat of his Office.
Article 47 - Ministerial Accountability
1. All cabinet ministers shall be accountable:
a. individually to the President for the administration of their own
b. collectively to the National Assembly, through the President, for the
administration of the work of the Cabinet.
2. The National Assembly or its committees may, through the Office of
the President, summon any minister to appear before them to
question him concerning the operation of his ministry.
CHAPTER VI: THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Article 48 - The Judiciary
The judicial power shall be vested in a Supreme Court and in
such other lower courts as shall be established by law and shall be
exercised in the name of the people pursuant to this Constitution and laws
issued there under.
In exercising the judicial power, courts shall be free from the
direction and control of any person or authority. Judges shall be subject
only to the law, to a judicial code of conduct determined by law and to
A judge shall not be liable to any suit for any act in the course of
exercising his judicial function.
All organs of the State shall accord to the courts such assistance
as they may require to protect their independence and dignity so that they
may exercise their judicial power appropriately and effectively pursuant
to the provisions of this Constitution and laws issued thereunder.
Article 49 - The Supreme Court
1. The Supreme Court shall be the court of last resort; and shall be
presided over by the Chief Justice.
2. The Supreme Court shall have:
a. sole jurisdiction of interpreting this Constitution and the
constitutionality of any law enacted or any action taken by government;
b. sole jurisdiction of hearing and adjudicating upon charges against a
President who has been impeached by the National Assembly pursuant to
the provisions of Article 41(6)(a) and (b) hereof; and
c. the power of hearing and adjudicating cases appealed from lower
courts pursuant to law.
3. The Supreme Court shall determine its internal organisation and
4. The tenure and number of justices of the Supreme Court shall be
determined by law.
Article 50 - Lower Courts
The jurisdiction, organisation and function of lower courts and the tenure
of their judges shall be determined by law.
Article 51 - Oath
Every judge shall take the following oath:
I, _____________, swear in _____________ that I will
adjudicate in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution
and laws enacted thereunder and I will exercise the judicial
authority vested in me, subject only to the law and my
Article 52 - Removal of Judges from Office
A judge may be removed from office before the expiry of his
tenure of office by the President only, acting on the recommendation of
the Judicial Service Commission, pursuant to the provisions of
Sub-Article 2 of this Article for physical or mental incapacity, violation
of the law or breach of judicial code of conduct.
The Judicial Service Commission shall investigate whether or not
a judge should be removed from office on grounds of those enumerated
in Sub-Article 1 of this Article. In the event that the Judicial Service
Commission decides that a judge be removed from office, it shall present
its recommendation to the President.
The President may, on the recommendation of the Judicial
Service Commission, suspend from office a judge who is under
Article 53 - The Judicial Service Commission
There shall be established a Judicial Service Commission, which
shall be responsible for submitting recommendations for the recruitment
of judges and the terms and conditions of their services.
The organisation, powers and duties of the Judicial Service
Commission shall be determined by law.
Article 54 - The Advocate General
There shall be an Advocate General whose powers and duties shall be
determined by law.
CHAPTER VII: MISCELLA
Article 55 - Auditor General
There shall be an Auditor General who audits the revenues and
expenditures and other financial operations of government and who
reports annually his findings to the National Assembly.
The Auditor General shall be appointed for five years by the
President with the approval of the National Assembly and shall be
accountable to the National Assembly.
The detailed organisation, powers and duties of the Auditor
General shall be determined by law.
Article 56 - National Bank
There shall be a National Bank, which performs the functions of a
central bank, controls the financial institutions and manages the national
The National Bank shall have a Governor appointed by the
President with the approval of the National Assembly. There shall be a
Board of Directors whose members shall be appointed by the President.
The detailed organisation, powers and duties of the National
Bank shall be determined by law.
Article 57 - Civil Service Administration
There shall be established a Civil Service Administration, which
shall be responsible for the recruitment, selection and separation of civil
servants as well as for determining the terms and conditions of their
employment, including the rights and duties and the code of conduct of
such civil servants.
The detailed organisation, powers and duties of the Civil Service
Administration shall be determined by law.
The 1997 Constitution of Eritrea
THE CONSTITUTION OF ERITREA