Status of Revolutionary Command Council resolutions, laws, decisions and decrees

Posted on | September 4, 2009

After the 1958 Revolution, Iraq had a series of interim or temporary constitutions.

The Revolutionary Command Council as a legislative power came into being in 1963, pursuant to Law No. 25 of 1963 which was replaced by Law No. 61 of 1964, amended by Law No. 173 of 1964 and then repealed by Law No. 137 of 1965.

Under the 1970 interim constitution, the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) was declared in Article 37 to be “the supreme institution in the state”. The President of the RCC was the President of the Republic.

Under Article 42
The Revolutionary Command Council exercises the following competencies:
(a) Issuing laws and decrees having the force of the law.
(b) Issuing decisions indispensable for applying the rules of the enacted laws.

Under Article 43
The Revolutionary Command Council excises the following competencies by the majority its members:
(a) Ratifying matters of the Ministry of Defense and Public Security, elaborating the laws and taking the decisions in whatever concerns them from the point of view of organization and competencies.
(b) Declaring the public mobilization totally or partially, declaring the war, accepting the truce, and concluding the peace.
(c) Ratifying the draft general budget of the state, independent and investment budgets annexed to it, and ratifying final accounts.
(d) Ratifying treaties and international agreements.
(e) Elaborating its internal rules of procedure, determining its competencies, ratifying its budget, appointing its officials, determining rewards and remunerations of the President, the Vice-President, its members and officials.
(f) Elaborating the rules regarding the prosecution of its members, concerning the formation of the court and the procedures to be followed in it.
(g) Vesting its President or the Vice-President with some of his competencies prescribed in this Constitution, except legislative competencies.

In addition, the power to amend the interim constitution was reserved to the RCC under Article 63(b).

The President was responsible for signing all laws and decisions issued by the Council and publishing them in the Official Gazette under Article 44

Although referred to in the 1970 Constitution, the National Assembly did not come into being until the promulgation of Law 55 of 1980. It did not ever rival the RCC in authority.

Bills could originate from the RCC, the President or the National Assembly.
According to the 1970 constitution, the National Assembly acted as a consultative body, with a limited right to send legislation back to the RCC for re-consideration.

Pursuant to Article 64, laws came into force upon publication in the Official Gazette. A perusal of the Official Gazettes for this period reveals a number of different ways in which legal instruments would appear to have been phrased.

  • A. RCC Resolutions each have a number within each year and there would appear to be different types:
    • 1. “In accordance with the provisions of paragraph (a) of Article 42 of the Constitution, The Revolutionary Command Council have decided to promulgate the following: Law No [X] of Year [Y]”
    • 2. “In accordance with the provisions of paragraph (a) of Article 42 of the Constitution, The Revolutionary Command Council have decided the following . . .” – what follows is indistinguishable from ‘Laws’ save for the failure to label the instrument as a numbered Law rather than a bare Resolution;
    • 3. “In accordance with ith the provisions of paragraph (a) of Article 42 and paragraph (d) of Article 43 of the Constitution . . .” – this is the formulation used for the ratification of treaties;
  • B. Presidential Republican Ordinances each have a number within each year. They deal with the President’s powers to make appointments and are phrased as follows:
    • 1. “In accordance with the provisions of Paragraph (d) of Article 58 of the Constitution, We decreed the following . . .”;
    • 2. “In accordance withthe provisions of [primary legilslation giving the President the power to make an appointment] We decreed the following: . . “
  • C. Instructions are secondary legislative instruments issued under the authority of expressly specified primary legislation;
  • D. Regulations are secondary legislative instruments issued by the Council of Ministers;
  • E. Other officials also issue Resolutions;

Save where subsequently repealed by either the CPA or subsequent Iraqi administrations, the canon of laws established prior to 16 April 2003 remains in force according to CPA Regulation 1, Section 2; Article 26 of the Transitional Administrative Law and Article 130 of the 2005 Constitution.
A number of Revolutionary Command Council Resolutions relate to matters no longer relevant to the law of Iraq. A committee has been set up to work through these laws and highlight those which need to be repealed.