Nitijela

Article Index

ARTICLE II BILL OF RIGHTS

Section 1.    Freedom of Thought,  Speech, Press, Religion, Assembly, Association, and Petition.

(1)   Every person has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and belief; to freedom of speech and of the press; to the free exercise of religion; to freedom of peaceful assembly and association; and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

(2)   Nothing in this Section shall be construed to invalidate reasonable restrictions imposed by law on the time, place, or manner of conduct, provided:

(a) the restrictions are necessary to preserve public peace, order, health, or security or the rights or freedoms of others;
(b) there exist no less restrictive means of doing so; and
(c) the restrictions do not penalize conduct on the basis of disagreement with the ideas or beliefs expressed.

(3)   Nothing in this Section shall be construed to prevent government from extending financial aid to religiously supported institutions insofar as they furnish educational, medical or other services at no profit, provided such aid does not discriminate among religious groups or beliefs on the basis of a governmental preference for some religions over others, and provided such aid goes no further than:

(a)   reimbursing users of educational, medical, or other nonprofit services for fees charged to such users; or
(b)   reimbursing such institutions for costs incurred in providing such services, but only with funds channeled through an organization open to all religious institutions that provide the services in question.

Section 2.    Slavery and Involuntary Servitude.

(1)   No person shall be held in slavery or involuntary servitude, nor shall any person be required to perform forced or compulsory labor.

(2)   For the purposes of this Section, the term “forced or compulsory labor” does not include:

(a)   any labor required by the sentence or order of a court;
(b)   any other labor required of a person lawfully detained if reasonably necessary for the maintenance of the place of detention;
(c)   any service required by law in lieu of compulsory military service when such service has been lawfully required of others.

Section 3.    Unreasonable Search and Seizure.

(1)   The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

(2)   A search or seizure shall be deemed unreasonable as a matter of law if no warrant has been obtained despite adequate time to obtain one.

(3)   Any seizure of a person shall be deemed unreasonable as a matter of law unless the person is promptly informed of the cause of such seizure and is ensured a prompt opportunity to contest its legality before a judge.

(4)   A search of premises not belonging to, or occupied by, the person who is believed to have committed a crime shall be deemed unreasonable as a matter of law unless the person whose premises are searched has been given a prior opportunity, in an adversary hearing, to challenge or comply with a subpoena identifying the persons or things to be produced, or the officer issuing a warrant for the search has reasonably determined that such prior notice and hearing would create an undue risk that the persons or things sought would be removed or otherwise made unavailable.

(5)   Evidence obtained through an unreasonable search and seizure, or pursuant to an invalid warrant, cannot be used to support a criminal conviction.

Section 4.    Due Process and Fair Trial.

(1)   No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

(2)   Every person charged with a criminal offense shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

(3)   Bail shall not be required in an amount greater than needed to ensure that the accused will appear for trial, nor may any person be detained before trial when other means are available to provide reasonable assurance that he will not flee or gravely endanger the public safety.

(4)   In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to be informed promptly and in detail of the nature and cause of the accusation against him; to a prompt judicial determination of whether there is good cause to hold him for trial; to a speedy and public trial before an impartial tribunal; to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defense; to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choice and, if he lacks funds to procure such assistance, to receive it free of charge if the interests of justice so require, to be confronted with the witnesses against him; and to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor.

(5)   There shall be a right to trial by jury, unless knowingly and voluntarily waived by the accused, whenever the applicable law makes the offense punishable by three (3) or more years in prison or, in the case of an offense for which no maximum is specified, whenever the sentence actually imposed is three (3) years or longer.

(6)   No person shall be held to answer for a crime except on presentment or indictment or criminal information.

(7)   No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, or against his spouse, parent, child, or sibling, or to give testimonial evidence against any such person whenever that evidence might directly or indirectly be used to obtain such person’s criminal conviction.

(8)   No person shall be subjected to coercive interrogation, nor may any involuntary confession or involuntary guilty plea, or any confession extracted from someone who has not been informed of his rights to silence and legal assistance and of the fact that what he says may be used against him, be used to support a criminal conviction.

(9)   No person shall be subjected to double jeopardy, but retrial shall be permitted after a conviction has been reversed on the defendant’s appeal.

(10)   No person shall be preventively detained, involuntarily committed, or otherwise deprived of liberty outside the criminal process, except pursuant to Act, subject to fair procedures, and upon a clear showing that the person’s release would gravely endanger his own health or safety or the health, safety, or property of others.

Section 5.    Just Compensation.

(1)   No land right or other private property may be taken unless a law authorizes such taking; and any such taking must be by the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, for public use, and in accord with all safeguards provided by law.

(2)   A use primarily to generate profits or revenues and not primarily to provide a public service shall not be deemed a “public use.”

(3)   Land rights shall not be taken if there exist alternative means, by land fill or otherwise, of achieving at non-prohibitive expense the purpose to be served by such taking.

(4)   Before any land right or other form of private property is taken, there must be a determination by the High Court that such taking is lawful and an order by the High Court providing for prompt and just compensation

(5)   Where any land rights are taken, just compensation shall include reasonably equivalent land rights for all interest holders or the means to obtain the subsistence and benefits that such land rights provide.

(6)   Whenever the taking of land rights forces those who are dispossessed to live in circumstances reasonably requiring a higher level of support, that fact shall be considered in assessing whether the compensation provided is just.

(7)   In determining whether compensation for land rights is just, the High Court shall refer the matter to the Traditional Rights Court and shall give substantial weight to the opinion of the latter.

(8)   An interest in land or other property shall not be deemed “taken” if it is forfeited pursuant to law for nonpayment of taxes or debt or for commission of crime, or if it is subjected only to reasonable regulation to protect the public welfare.

(9)   In construing this Section, a court shall have due regard for the unique place of land rights in the life and law of the Republic. [By way of Constitutional Amendment #1, the term “Marshall Islands”  as that term is first used herein, was replaced  with the term “Republic  of the Marshall Islands”  that Amendment also replaced the term “Marshall Islands”as it appears subsequently herein, with the term “Republic’]

Section 6.    Cruel and Unusual Punishment.

(1)   No crime under the law of the Republic of the Marshall Islands may be punished by death.

(2)   No sentence of imprisonment at hard labor shall be imposed on any person who has not attained the age of 18 years.

(3)   No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman and degrading treatment, to cruel and unusual punishment, or to excessive fines or deprivations. [By way of Constitutional Amendment #1, the term “Marshall Islands”  as that term is first used herein, was replaced  with the term “Republic  of the Marshall Islands”]

Section 7.    Habeas Corpus.

(1)   In order that the legality of any person’s detention always remain subject to appropriate challenge in a court of law, the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended.

(2)   Any person held in custody is entitled to apply, in person or through another, to any judge in the Republic of the Marshall Islands for a writ of habeas corpus.

(3)   There shall be a prompt hearing on any application for a writ of habeas corpus, and if it appears that the person being detained is being held in violation of this Constitution or other law of the Republic, the judge with whom the application was filed shall order the immediate release of the person detained, subject to reasonable provisions for appeal by the detaining authority.

(4)   In the case of a person detained pursuant to a criminal conviction or sentence, the judge with whom the application was filed shall determine whether the judgment underlying the challenged detention was rendered without jurisdiction or in violation of the detained person’s rights under this Constitution or other law of the Republic and shall set the judgment aside and order the prisoner’s release if either infirmity is found.

(5)   The provisions of paragraphs (3) and (4) of this Section shall extend not only to the fact of the applicant’s custody but also to such particular conditions of the applicant’s custody as are challenged as being contrary to law.

(6)   Insofar as a determination under paragraph (4) or paragraph (5) of this Section requires a ruling on a controverted matter, the judge with whom an application for habeas corpus has been filed shall treat as conclusive any prior determination of a court of record in which the applicant had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the matter, providing such determination either was ultimately upheld on appeal or was knowingly and voluntarily permitted to stand without challenge by the applicant. [By way of Constitutional Amendment #1, the term “Marshall Islands”  as that  term is first used herein,  was replaced  with the term “Republic  of the Marshall Islands”  that Amendment also replaced the term “Marshall Islands”  as it appears subsequently herein, with the term “Republic”]

Section 8.    Ex -Post Facto Laws and Bills of Attainder.

(1)   No person shall be subjected to ex post facto punishment such as punishment in excess of that validly applicable at the time the act in question was committed, or punishment imposed by a procedure less favorable to the accused than that validly applicable at the time the act was committed.

(2)   No person shall be subjected to punishment under a bill of attainder such as a law which singles out for penalty a named or readily identifiable individual or group of individuals.

Section 9.    Quartering of Soldiers.

No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war but in the manner prescribed by law.

Section 10.    Imprisonment for Debt.

No person shall be imprisoned for debt; nor shall any person be imprisoned for failure to pay a fine assessed as punishment for a crime unless he has been afforded a reasonable time to make payment and has been found to have the means to do so.

Section 11.    Conscription and Conscientious  Objection.

No person shall be conscripted to serve in the armed forces of the Republic of the Marshall Islands except in time of war or imminent danger of war as certified by the Cabinet, and no person shall be conscripted if, after being afforded a reasonable opportunity to do so, he has established that he is a conscientious objector to participation in war. [By war  of Constitutional Amendment #1, the term “Marshall Islands”  as that term is first used herein, was replaced  with the term “Republic  of the Marshall Islands”]

Section 12.    Equal Protection and Freedom from Discrimination.

(1)   All persons are equal under the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the laws.

(2)   No law and no executive or judicial action shall, either expressly, or in its practical application, discriminate against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, place of birth, family status or descent.

(3)   Nothing in this Section shall be deemed to preclude non-arbitrary preferences for citizens pursuant to law.

Section 13.    Personal  Autonomy and Privacy.

All persons shall be free from unreasonable interference in personal choices that do not injure others and from unreasonable intrusions into their privacy.

Section 14.    Access to Judicial and Electoral Processes.

(1)   Every person has the right to invoke the judicial process as a means of vindicating any interest preserved or created by law, subject only to regulations which limit access to courts on a non-discriminatory basis.

(2)   Every person has the right to participate in the electoral process, whether as a voter or as a candidate for office, subject only to the qualifications prescribed in this Constitution and to election regulations which make it possible for all eligible persons to take part.

(3)   In the administration of judicial and electoral processes, no fee may be imposed so as to prevent participation by a person unable to afford such fee.

Section 15.    Health. Education, and Legal Services.

The Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands recognizes the right of the people to health care, Education, and legal services and the obligation to take every step reasonable and necessary to provide these services. [By way of Constitutional Amendment #1, the term “Marshall Islands” as that term is first used herein, was replaced  with the term “Republic  of the Marshall Islands”]

Section 16.      Ethical Government.

The Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands recognizes the right of the people to responsible and ethical government and the obligation to take every step reasonable and necessary to conduct government in accord with a comprehensive code of ethics. [By way of Constitutional Amendment #1, the term “Marshal! Islands “as that  term is first used herein, was replaced  with the term “Republic  of the Marshall Islands “]

Section 17.      Other Rights.

The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Section 18.      Invoking Bill of Rights Provisions.

(1)   No right secured by the Bill of Rights may be denied or abridged, whether directly through the imposition of force or penalty, or indirectly through the withholding of privilege or benefit.

(2)   Any provision of the Bill of Rights may be invoked either as a defense to a civil or criminal proceeding or as a basis for legal or equitable relief against any actual or threatened violation.

ARTICLE III - MWEO IMON IROIJ

Section 1.        The Council of Iroij.

(1)   There shall be a Council of Iroij of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

(2)   The Council of Iroij shall consist of 5 eligible persons from districts of the Ralik Chain and 7 eligible persons from districts of the Ratak Chain of the Republic selected as follows:

from the Ralik Chain excluding Ujelang..................................................4

Iroijlaplaps from Ujelang......................................................................1

Iroijlaplap from Mili.............................................................................1

Iroijlaplap from Arno...........................................................................1

Iroijlaplap from Mejit...........................................................................1

Iroijlaplap from Majuro........................................................................1

Iroijlaplap from Airok (Maloelap)...........................................................1

Iroijlaplap from Aur, Maloelap (excluding Airok), Wotje, Utrik and Ailuk......1

Iroijlaplap from Likiep..........................................................................1 Owner

(3)   If, in any district, a person or group of persons becomes recognized, pursuant to the customary law or to any traditional practice, as having rights and obligations analogous to those of Iroijlaplap, that person, or a member of that group nominated by the group, shall be deemed to be eligible to be a member of the Council of Iroij as though he were an Iroijlaplap.

(4)   Where in any district, the number of persons eligible to be members of the Council of
Iroij is greater than the number of seats to be filled

(a)   the term of office of the member or members from that district shall be one calendar year;
(b)   before the expiration of any calendar year, the eligible persons in that district shall endeavor to reach agreement among themselves as to which of them shall be the member  or members from that district during the next calendar year;
(c)   if, by the date of the first meeting of the Council in any calendar year, there has been no such agreement, the Nitijela shall as soon as practicable proceed, by resolution, to appoint one or more of the eligible persons to be the member or members from that district; (d) the selection of any member, whether by the eligible persons themselves or by the Nitijela, shall take account of the need for a reasonable rotation among the eligible persons in that district, but any member may serve for two or more terms, consecutively or otherwise.

(5)   If, in the case of any district, there is for any reason no person eligible to be a member of the Council of Iroij in accordance with paragraphs (2) or (3) of this Section, the Council of Iroij shall as soon as practicable proceed, by resolution, to appoint as a member of the Council a person who, in the opinion of the Council, having regard to the customary law and any traditional practice, is qualified by reason of his family ties to a person who, but for that reason, would have been eligible to be a member of the Council from that district.

(6)   The term of any member of the Council of Iroij taking office during any calendar year shall be the remainder of that calendar year.

(7)   A person shall not be eligible to be a member or the deputy of a member of the
Council of Iroij if:

(a) he is not a qualified voter; or
(b) he is a member of the Nitijela

(8)   Any question that arises concerning the right of any person to be or to remain a member, or the deputy of a member, of the Council of Iroij, or to exercise the rights of a member, shall be referred to and determined by the High Court. [By  way of Constitutional  Amendment #1, the term “Marshall Islands”  as that term is first used herein, was replaced  with the term “Republic  of the Marshall islands” that Amendment also replaced the term “Marshall Islands”  as it appears subsequently herein, with the term “Republic”]

Section 2.        Functions  of the Council of Iroij.

The Council of Iroij shall have the following functions:

(a)   the Council may consider any matter of concern to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and it may express its opinion thereon to the Cabinet;
(b)   the Council may request, in accordance with Section 3 of this Article, the reconsideration of any Bill affecting the customary law, or any traditional practice, or land tenure, or any related matter, which has been adopted on the third reading by the Nitijela;
(c)   the Council shall have such other functions as may be conferred on it by or pursuant to Act. [By way of Constitutional Amendment #1, the term “Marshall Islands”  as that term is first used herein, was replaced with the term “Republic  of the Marshall Islands”]

Section 3.    Requests for Reconsideration of Bills.

(1)   Subject to paragraph (8) of this Section, the Clerk of the Nitijela shall transmit to the Clerk of the Council of Iroij, for reference to the Council, a copy of every Bill adopted on third reading by the Nitijela.

(2)   The Council of Iroij may, within 7 days after the date of such transmittal, adopt a resolution expressing its opinion that a Bill so transmitted to the Council affects the customary law or a traditional practice, or land tenure, or a related matter, and requesting the Nitijela to reconsider the Bill, or it may sooner, by writing signed by the Chairman of the Council, record its decision not to adopt any such resolution.

(3)   The Clerk of the Council of Iroij shall forthwith transmit to the Clerk of the Nitijela, for reference to the Speaker, a copy of any such resolution or decision, together with any observations on the Bill which the Council may wish to make.

(4)   The Speaker may, pursuant to Section 21 of Article IV, certify that a Bill required to be transmitted to the Council of Iroij has been passed by the Nitijela, if he is satisfied that the Council has, in relation to that Bill, adopted no resolution pursuant to paragraph (2) of this Section within the period of 7 days referred to in that paragraph, or has sooner recorded its decision not to adopt any such resolution.

(5)   If, in relation to any Bill, the Council of Iroij has adopted a resolution pursuant to paragraph (2) of this Section, the Nitijela may proceed to reconsider the Bill, together with any observations of the Council thereon.

(6)   In the course of any such reconsideration, the Speaker may, in consultation with the Chairman of the Council of Iroij, arrange for the holding of a joint conference between members of the Council and members of the Nitijela, for the purpose of endeavoring to reach agreement about the content of the Bill.

(7)   After reconsidering the Bill, the Nitijela may decide not to proceed with the Bill, or may amend the Bill in any manner it thinks fit, or may, by resolution, reaffirm its support for the Bill without amendment.

(8)   The provisions of paragraph (1) of this Section shall not apply to an Appropriation Bill or a Supplementary Appropriation Bill or to any Bill which the Nitijela has amended or reaffirmed, pursuant to paragraph (7) of this Section.

(9)   The Speaker may, pursuant to Section 21 of Article IV, certify that a Bill to which paragraph (5) of this Section relates has been passed by the Nitijela, if he is satisfied that it has been amended or reaffirmed pursuant to paragraph (7) of this Section.

Section 4.    Compensation of Members  of the Council of Iroij.

The compensation of members of the Council of Iroij shall be specifically prescribed by Act.

Section 5.    The Chairman and the Vice-Chairman of the Council of Iroij.

(1)   The Chairman and the Vice-Chairman of the Council of Iroij shall be the members of the Council elected to those offices by a majority of the members present and voting at a meeting of the Council.

(2)   The Council of Iroij shall, by secret ballot, proceed to elect the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman, before the despatch of any other business, at the first meeting of the Council of Iroij in each calendar year, and shall so proceed to elect a member of the Council to fill any vacancy in the office of Chairman or Vice-Chairman, before the despatch of any other business, at the first meeting of the Council after the occurrence of the vacancy.

(3)   The Chairman or Vice-Chairman may resign his office by writing signed by him, delivered to the Clerk of the Council of Iroij, and each shall vacate his office:

(a)   on the entry into office of a new Chairman or Vice-Chairman elected when the Council of Iroij first meets in each calendar year; or
(b)   if he ceases to be a member of the Council of Iroij; or
(c)   if he is removed from office by a resolution of the Council of Iroij carried by not less than two thirds of the members present and voting at a meeting of the Council.

Section 6.    Functions  of the Chairman.

(1)   The Chairman shall preside over any meeting of the Council of Iroij at which he is present and shall have other functions conferred on him by this Constitution or by Act, or pursuant  to a resolution of the Council.

(2)   If the Chairman is not present at any meeting of the Council of Iroij, or, through absence, illness or any other cause, he is unable to perform any other function of his office, or the office of Chairman is vacant, the Vice-Chairman shall preside over that meeting or perform that function until the Chairman is again present at that meeting or able to perform that function.

(3)   If, on any occasion, there is neither a Chairman nor a Vice-Chairman who is able to preside over any meeting of the Council of  Iroij or perform any other function of the Chairman, then, until the Chairman or the Vice-Chairman is again able to perform that function, it shall be performed by the oldest member of the Council who is available.

Section 7.    Procedure of the Council of Iroij.

(1)   The Council of Iroij shall meet in regular session during any period when the Nitijela is meeting in regular session, and in special session during any period when the Nitijela is meeting in special session, and shall remain in regular or special session, as the case may be, during such period after the date of termination of every session of the Nitijela as may be necessary to permit the Council to adopt a resolution or record its decision in relation to any Bill transmitted to it, pursuant to Section 3 of this Article.

(2)   The Council of Iroij shall meet in Special session at any other time fixed by the Chairman of the Council, or by the Clerk of the Council acting at the request of not less than 9 members, and shall remain in such special session until such date as the Council may decide.

(3)   Business may be validly transacted at any meeting of the Council of Iroij if the number of members present is not less than 6.

(4)   Except as otherwise provided in this Section, the Council of Iroij shall determine its own procedure.

Section 8.    Vacancies in the Council of Iroij.

(1)   The seat of a member of the Council of Iroij shall become vacant if:

(a)   he dies; or
(b)   he resigns his seat by writing under his hand delivered to the Clerk of the Council; or
(c)   he ceases to be a qualified voter; or
(d)   he becomes a member of the Nitijela.

(2)   Any vacancy in the Council of Iroij shall be filled by applying, as nearly as may be, the provisions of Section 1 of this Article.

Section 9.    Deputies of Members  of the Council of Iroij.

(1)   A member of the Council of Iroij who is prevented by absence, illness or any other cause from attending any meeting of the Council or of any committee thereof or of any joint committee or joint conference may appoint a person who is qualified by reason of his family ties to that member to be his deputy at that meeting.

(2)   If, at any meeting of the Council of Iroij, or of any committee thereof or of any joint committee or joint conference, any member is absent, and is not represented by a deputy appointed by him, or the seat of any member is vacant, the Council of Iroij may, by resolution, appoint a person who, in the opinion of the Council, having regard to the customary law and any traditional practice, is qualified by reason of his family ties to that member to be his deputy at that meeting.

(3)   Any deputy of a member may perform the functions and shall have the powers, duties and privileges of that member: Provided that no deputy of a member shall perform the functions of Chairman unless there is no member of the Council available to perform those functions.

Section 10.    Privileges of the Council of Iroij and its Members.

(1)   Neither the Council of Iroij nor any member of the Council shall be subject to any proceeding outside that body, or subjected to any liability, civil or criminal, in relation to the casting of any vote, the making of any statement, the publication of any document or the taking of any other action as part of the official business of the Council of Iroij.

(2)   The Council of Iroij shall not be disqualified from the transaction of business by reason only that there is a vacancy among its members, or that, in any case where Section 9 of this Article applies, no appointment of a deputy has been made pursuant to that Section.

(3)   Nothing done in the course of the official business of the Council of Iroij shall be questioned on the ground that some person who acted as a member of the Council or the deputy of a member in relation to that matter was not qualified so to act.
 

Section 11.    Clerk of the Council of Iroij.

(1)   There shall be a Clerk of the Council of Iroij who shall be an officer of the Public Service and shall have the functions conferred on him by this Constitution or by or pursuant to Act or to a resolution of the Council.

(2)   The Clerk of the Council of Iroij shall be responsible for arranging the business for and keeping a record of the proceedings of the Council of Iroij.

(3)   The Clerk of the Council of Iroij shall perform, with respect to the Chairman and to the other members of the Council such secretarial and other functions as may be required.