THE CONSTITUTION OF NAURU* WHEREAS we the people of Nauru acknowledge God as the almighty and everlasting Lord and the giver of all good things:
And Whereas we humbly place ourselves under the protection of His good providence and seek His blessing upon ourselves and upon our lives:
And Whereas we have declared that Nauru shall be a republic:
And Whereas a Constitutional Convention representing us has prepared a constitution for Nauru:
Now Therefore we the people of Nauru in our Constitutional Convention this twenty-ninth day of January, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-eight, do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this Constitution to come into force on the thirty-first day of January, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-eight.
ARRANGEMENT OF PARTS Part I. The Republic of Nauru and the Supreme Law of Nauru (Articles I and 2).
Part II. Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (Articles 3-15).
Part III. The President and the Executive (Articles 16-25).
Part IV. The Legislature (Articles 26-47).
Part V. The Judicature (Articles 48-57).
Part VI. Finance (Articles 58-67).
Part VII. The Public Service (Articles 68-70).
Part VIII. Citizenship (Articles 71-76).
Part IX. Emergency Powers (Articles 77-79).
Part X. General (Articles 80-84).
Part XI. Transitional Provisions (Articles 85-100).
* This print of the Constitution of Nauru incorporates the alterations made by the Constitutional Convention of Nauru under Article 92 on 17 May 1968.
PART I. THE REPUBLIC OF NAURU AND THE SUPREME LAW OF NAURU The Republic of Nauru 1. Nauru is an independent republic.
Supreme Law of Nauru 2. (1.) This Constitution is the supreme law of Nauru.
(2.) A law inconsistent with this Constitution is, to the extent of the inconsistency, void.
PART II. PROTECTION OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS Preamble 3. Whereas every person in Nauru is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, has the right, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest, to each and all of the following freedoms, namely:-
(a) life, liberty, security of the person, the enjoyment of property and the protection of the law;
(b) freedom of conscience, of expression and of peaceful assembly and association; and
(c) respect for his private and family life,
the subsequent provisions of this Part have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms, subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of those rights and freedoms by a person does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of other persons or the public interest.
Protection of right to life 4.-(1.) No person shall be deprived of his life intentionally, except in execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of an offence for which the penalty of deprivation of life is prescribed by law.
(2.) Deprivation of the life of a person is not a contravention of the provisions of clause (1.) of this Article where it results from the use, to such an extent and in such circumstances as is permitted by law, of such force as is reasonably justifiable in the circumstances of the case-
(a) for the defence of a person from violence;
(b) for the defence of public property;
(c) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained; or
(d) for the purpose of suppressing a riot, insurrection or muting.
Protection of personal liberty 5.-(1.) No person shall be deprived of his personal liberty, except as authorised by law in any of the following cases:-
(a) in execution of the sentence or order of a court in respect of an offence of which he has been convicted;
(b) for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court;
(c) upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed, or being about to commit, an offence;
(d) under the order of a court, for his education during any period ending not later than the thirty-first day of December after he attains the age of eighteen years;
(e) under the order of a court, for his welfare during any period ending not later than the date on which he attains the age of twenty years;
(f) for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease;
(g) in the case of a person who is, or is reasonably suspected to be, of unsound mind or addicted to drugs or alcohol, for the purpose of his care or treatment or the protection of the community; and
(h) for the purpose of preventing his unlawful entry into Nauru, or for the purpose of effecting his expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal from Nauru.
(2.) A person who is arrested or detained shall be informed promptly of the reasons for the arrest or detention and shall be permitted to consult in the place in which he is detained a legal representative of his own choice.
(3.) A person who has been arrested or detained in the circumstances referred to in paragraph (c) of clause (1.) of this Article and has not been released shall be brought before a judge or some other person holding judicial office within a period of twenty-four hours after the arrest or detention and shall not be further held in custody in connexion with that offence except by order of a judge or some other person holding judicial office.
(4.) Where a complaint is made to the Supreme Court that a person is unlawfully detained, the Supreme Court shall enquire into the complaint and, unless satisfied that the detention is lawful, shall order that person to be brought before it and shall release him
Protection from forced labour 6.-(1.) No person shall be required to perform forced labour.
(2.) For the purposes of this Article, "forced labour" does not include-
(a) labour required by the sentence or order of a court;
(b) labour required of a person while he is lawfully detained, being labour that, though not required by the sentence or order of a court, is reasonably necessary for the purposes of hygiene or for the maintenance of the place at which he is detained;
(c) labour required of a member of a disciplined force in pursuance of his duties as such a member; or
(d) labour reasonably required as part of reasonable and normal communal or other civic obligations.
Protection from inhuman treatment 7. No person shall be subjected to torture or to treatment or punishment that is inhuman or degrading.
Protection from deprivation of property 8.-(1.) No person shall be deprived compulsorily of his property except in accordance with law for a public purpose and on just terms.
(2.) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of a law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of the provisions of clause (1.) of this Article to the extent that that law makes provision-
(a) for the taking of possession or acquisition of any property-
(i) in satisfaction of a tax;
(ii) by way of penalty for breach of the law or forfeiture in consequence of breach of the law;
(iii) as an incident of a lease, tenancy, mortgage, charge, bill of sale, pledge or contract;
(iv) in the execution of a judgment or order of a court in proceedings for the determination of civil rights or obligations;
(v) in circumstances where it is reasonably necessary so to do because the property is in a dangerous state or is injurious to the health of human beings, animals or plants; or
(vi) in consequence of any law with respect to the limitation of actions; or
(b) for the taking of possession or acquisition of any of the following property:-
(i) property of a deceased person, a person of unsound mind or a person who has not attained the age of twenty years, for the purpose of administering it for the benefit of the person entitled to the beneficial interest in that property;
(ii) property of a person adjudged bankrupt or insolvent or of a body corporate in liquidation, for the purpose of administering it for the benefit of the creditors of the bankrupt or insolvent or body corporate and, subject thereto, for the benefit of other persons entitled to the beneficial interest in the property;
(iii) property subject to a trust, for the purpose of vesting the property in persons appointed as trustees under the instrument creating the trust or by a court or, by order of a court, for the purpose of giving effect to the trust; and
(iv) property held by a body corporate established by law for public purposes.
Protection of person and property 9.-(1.) No person shall without his consent be subject to the search of his person or property or the entry on his premises by other persons.
(2.) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of the provisions of clause (1.) of this Article to the extent that that law makes provision-
(a) that is reasonably required in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, the development or utilisation of natural resources or the development or utilisation of any property for a purpose beneficial to the community;
(b) that is reasonably required for protecting the rights or freedoms of other persons;
(c) that authorises an officer or agent of the Republic of Nauru or of a body corporate established by law for public purposes to enter, where reasonably necessary, on the premises of a person in order to inspect those premises or anything in or on them in relation to any tax or in order to carry out work connected with any property that is lawfully in or on those premises and belongs to the Republic or body corporate as the case may be; or
(d) that authorises, for the purpose of enforcing the judgment or order of a court, the search of a person or property by order of a court or entry upon any premises under such an order.
Provision to secure protection of law 10. (1.) No person shall be convicted of an offence which is not defined by law.
(2.) A person charged with an offence shall, unless the charge is withdrawn, be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court.
(3.) A person charged with an offence-
(a) shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law;
(b) shall be informed promptly in a language that he understands and in detail of the nature of the offence with which he is charged;
(c) shall be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;
(d) shall be permitted to have without payment the assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used at the trial of the charge;
(e) shall be permitted to defend himself before the court in person or, at his own expense, by a legal representative of his own choice or to have a legal representative assigned to him in a case where the interests of justice so require and without payment by him in any such case if he does not, in the opinion of the court, have sufficient means to pay the costs incurred; and
(f)shall be afforded facilities to examine in person or by his legal representative the witnesses called before the court by the prosecution, and to obtain the attendance and carry out the examination of witnesses and to testify before the court on his own behalf, on the same conditions as those applying to witnesses called by the prosecution,
and, except with his own consent, the trial shall not take place in his absence unless he so conducts himself as to render the continuance of the proceedings in his presence impracticable and the court has ordered him to be removed and the trial to proceed in his absence.
(4.) No person shall be convicted of an offence on account of any act or omission that did not, at the time it took place, constitute such an offence and no penalty shall be imposed for an offence that is more severe in degree or description than the maximum penalty that might have been imposed for that offence at the time when it was committed.
(5.) No person who shows that he has been tried by a competent court for an offence and either convicted or acquitted shall again be tried for that offence, except upon the order of a superior court made in the course of appeal or review proceedings relating to the conviction or acquittal.
(6.) No person shall be tried for an offence for which he has been pardoned.
(7.) No person who is tried for an offence shall be compelled to give evidence at the trial.
(8.) No person shall be compelled in the trial of an offence to be a witness against himself.
(9.) A determination of the existence or extent of a civil right or obligation shall not be made except by an independent and impartial court or other authority prescribed by law and proceedings for such a determination shall be fairly heard and within a reasonable time.
(10.) Except with the agreement of the parties thereto, proceedings of a court and proceedings for the determination of the existence or extent of any civil right or obligation before any other authority, including the announcement of the decision of the court or other authority, shall be held in public.
(11.) Nothing in clause (10.) of this Article shall prevent the court or other authority from excluding from the hearing of the proceedings persons, other than the parties thereto and their legal representatives, to such extent as the court or other authority-
(a) is by law empowered to do and considers necessary or expedient in the interests of public morality or in circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice, the welfare of persons under the age of twenty years or the protection of the private lives of persons concerned in the proceedings; or
(b) isby law empowered or required to do in the interests of defence, public safety or public order.
(12.) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of the provisions
(a)paragraph (a) of clause (3.) of this Article by reason that that law places upon a person charged with an offence the burden of proving particular matters; or
(b) paragraph (f) of clause (3.) of this Article by reason that that law imposes reasonable conditions which must be satisfied if witnesses called to testify on behalf of a person charged with an offence are to be paid their expenses out of public funds.
Freedom of conscience 11.-(1.) A person has the right to freedom of conscience, thought and religion, including freedom to change his religion or beliefs and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest and propagate his religion or beliefs in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
(2.) Except with his consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of a right or freedom referred to in clause (1.) of this Article.
(3.) Except with his consent or, if he is under the age of twenty years, the consent of his parent or guardian, no person attending a place of education is required to receive religious instruction or to take part in or attend a religious ceremony or observance if that instruction, ceremony or observance relates to a religion other than his own religion or belief.
(4.) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of the provisions of this Article to the extent that that law makes provision which is reasonably required-
(a) in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health;
(b) for protecting the rights and freedoms of other persons, including the right to observe and practise any religion without the unsolicited intervention of members of some other religion; or
(c) for regulating the secular education provided in any place of education in the interests of the persons receiving instruction in that place.
Protection of freedom of expression 12.-(1.) A person has the right to freedom of expression.
(2.) Except with his consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his right to freedom of expression.
(3.) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with, or in contravention of, the provisions of this Article to the extent that that law makes provision-
(a) that is reasonably required in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health;
(b) that is reasonably required for the purpose of protecting the reputations, rights and freedoms of other persons or the private lives of persons concerned in legal proceedings, preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence or maintaining the authority and independence of the courts;
(c) that is reasonably required for the purpose of regulating the technical administration or technical operation of telephony, telegraphy, posts, wireless broadcasting or television or restricting the establishment or use of telephonic, telegraphic, wireless broadcasting or television equipment or of postal services; or
(d) that regulates the use of information obtained by public officers in the course of their employment.
Protection of freedom of assembly and association 13.-(1.) Persons have the right to assemble and associate peaceably and to form or belong to trade unions or other associations.
(2.) Except with his consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of a right referred to in clause (1.) of this Article.
(3.) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with, or in contravention of, the provisions of this Article to the extent that that law makes provision that is reasonably required-
(a) in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or
(b) for protecting the rights and freedoms of other persons.
Enforcement of fundamental rights and freedoms 14.-(1.) A right or freedom conferred by this Part is enforceable by the Supreme Court at the suit of a person having an interest in the enforcement of that right or freedom.
(2.) The Supreme Court may make all such orders and declarations as are necessary and appropriate for the purposes of clause (1.) of this Article.
Interpretation 15. In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires-
"contravention", in relation to any requirement, includes a failure to comply with that requirement, and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly;
"disciplined force" means-
(a) the Police Force; or
(b) any other body established by law for the purposes of defence or maintaining public safety or public order;
"legal representative" means a person entitled to be in or to enter Nauru and entitled by law to appear in proceedings before a court on behalf of a party to those proceedings;
"member", in relation to a disciplined force, includes a person who, under the law regulating the discipline of that force, is subject to that discipline;
"public property" includes property of a body corporate established by law for public purposes.
PART III.1 THE PRESIDENT AND THE EXECUTIVE The President 16. (1.) There shall be a President of Nauru, who shall be elected by Parliament.
(2.) A person is not qualified to be elected President unless he is a member of Parliament.
(3.) The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are not qualified to be elected President.
(4.) The President holds office until the election of another person as President.
(5.) Parliament shall elect a President-
(a) whenever the office of President is vacant;
(b) at the first sitting of Parliament next following its dissolution; and
(i) the President tenders the resignation of his office by writing under his hand delivered to the Speaker;
(ii) a resolution for the removal from office of the President and Ministers is approved under Article 24; or
(iii) the President ceases to be a member of Parliament otherwise than by reason only of its dissolution.
Executive Authority vests in the Cabinet 17.-(1.) The executive authority of Nauru is vested in a Cabinet constituted as provided by this Part and the Cabinet has the general direction and control of the government of Nauru.
(2.) The Cabinet is collectively responsible to Parliament.
The Cabinet 18.-(1.) The Cabinet consists of the President and the Ministers appointed under Article 19.
(2.) A member of the Cabinet shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, take and subscribe the oath set out in the First Schedule.
(3.) A member of the Cabinet shall not hold an office of profit in the service of Nauru or of a statutory corporation.
Appointment of Ministers 19.-(1.) Whenever a President is elected, he shall as soon as practicable appoint four or five members of Parliament to be Ministers of the Cabinet.
(2.) Whenever there are less than four Ministers the President shall appoint a member of Parliament to be a Minister but if Parliament is dissolved the President shall appoint a person who was a member immediately before the dissolution of Parliament.
(3.) Whenever there are four but not five Ministers the President may appoint a member of Parliament to be a Minister.
Vacation of office 20. A Minister ceases to hold office-
(a) upon the election of a President;
(b) upon resigning his office by writing under his hand delivered to the President;
(c) upon being removed from office by the President; or
(d) upon ceasing to be a member of Parliament otherwise than by reason only of its dissolution.
Provision for Minister to act as President 21. The Cabinet may appoint a Minister to perform the duties and exercise the functions of the President during any period during which the President is unable to act owing to illness, absence from Nauru or any other cause.
Meetings of Cabinet 22.-(1.) The President shall preside at meetings of the Cabinet.
(2.) Subject to this Constitution, the Cabinet may regulate its own procedure.
Appointment of Ministers to Departments 23. The President may assign to himself or to a Minister responsibility for any business of the government of Nauru and may revoke or vary an assignment made under this Article.
Vote of no confidence 24.-(1.) Where Parliament on a resolution approved by at least one-half of the total number of members of Parliament resolves that the President and Ministers be removed from office on the grounds that it has no confidence in the Cabinet, an election of a President shall be held.
(2.) Where a President has not been elected before the expiration of a period of seven days after the day on which a resolution under clause (1.) of this Article is approved Parliament shall stand dissolved.
Chief Secretary 25.-(1.) There shall be a Chief Secretary of Nauru, who shall be appointed by the Cabinet.
(2.) A member of Parliament is not qualified to be appointed Chief Secretary.
(3.) The Chief Secretary may resign his office by writing under his hand delivered to the President and may be removed from office by the Cabinet.
(4.) The Chief Secretary has such powers and functions as the Cabinet directs and as are conferred on him by this Constitution or by law.