World > Key-System

    { Started in: 2009 }
    { ICL Document Status: Dec 2012 }

    { This is the second edition of the ICL Key System. It still provides a hierarchichal order of content specifications by Key Numbers (e.g.: 5255), but adds a more intuitive non-hierarchichal equivalent by Key Terms (e.g.: Armed Forces, Long Preamble). The second edition also tries to focus on the more exemplary or remarkable features of constitutional documents. In contrast, many of the general keys just work as empty placeholders for commonplace features. The first edition's (1996-2008) brute force approach to indiscriminately key-indexing all features of the constitions has failed; it was too much work for too little insight.

    This edition is still incomplete. }


Part I  Foundation (1)

Constitutions often start with a preamble and some provisions about what defines the specific state. The foundational part reflects the identity of the political community. Therefore, it frequently refers to historical events, specifies the symbolism of the country, and appeals to a traditional understanding of the constitution as a nation-building enterprise.

Chapter I  Preamble (11)

Most constitutions start with a short preamble. Some countries, notably the scandinavian ones, do not use preambles at all. Others use the preamble for long introductions or even very long descriptions of historical events. Preambles are also the location of choice for a reference to god (invocatio dei).


Chapter II  State Definition (12)

According to the three-element-definition, a state is constituted by a people within a specific territory ruled by a sovereign power. The constitution always defines the necessary instruments of that power and most often contains some reference to the people and to territorial integrity.

    -- State People (121)
    -- State Territory (122)
    -- State Power (123)


Chapter III  State Principles (13)

Constitutions characterize their system of government by state principles. Contemporary states all subscribe to democracy in an unspecific and broad sense that encompasses at least some extent of democracy in the specific ruled-by-the-people sense plus some features of the rule of law. More detailed principles are currently evolving. The rule of law already consists of a large number of sub-principles.


Chapter IV  State Symbolism (14)

Symbolism in the broadest sense encompasses all non-essential, but identity-building and unifying features of a specific state. There is no need to specify all of this within the constitution, but it is frequently done and then shares the stronger protection against change resulting from the amendment procedures.

    -- Flag (141)
    -- Anthem (142)
    -- Capital (143)
    -- Motto (144): cb
    -- Emblem (145)
    -- Seal (146)
    -- Coat of Arms (147)


Chapter V  Citizenship (15)

Constitutions normally define special rights for citizens (e.g., to participate in the political process) and and grant special protection (e.g., against extradition). Therefore, the question of citizenship is a matter of constitutional provisions.

    -- Citizenship by nationality of parents (ius sanguinis) (151)
    -- Citizenship by place of birth (ius soli) (152)
    -- Right to citizenship by ethnicity (153)
    -- Naturalization (154)
    -- Immigration (155)


Chapter VI  Languages (16)

States with more than one large language group among their citizens usually define official languages for all state activity. Citizens are then guaranteed to have documents and communications in at least these languages. Where minority rights are at issue, constitutions sometimes define additional languages to be used in relation to these minorities, but not generally.


Chapter VII  State Objectives (17)

While the general theory of the state (Allgemeine Staatslehre) of the 19th century tried to identify a very small number of State Purposes (Staatszwecke) that were -- by the presumably immutable "nature" of the concept "state" -- necessary features of every state (e.g., security, welfare), contemporary constitutionalism mostly relies on a large number of divers goals as specified within the constitution. These goals are legally binding, but only in the indeterminate way of guidelines for the interpretation of more specific rights, duties, and organizational precepts within the constitution. They are usually mentioned among the foundational provisions at the top of a constitutional document.

    -- Justice (1701)
    -- Human Rights (1702)
    -- National Autonomy (1703)
    -- Self-Determination (1704)
    -- Health Care (1705)
    -- Social Welfare (1706)
    -- National Unity (1707)
    -- Culture (1708)
    -- History (1709)
    -- Environment (1710)
    -- Forests (1711)
    -- Intergenerational Equity (1712): gm
    -- Nature (1713)
    -- Nature's Rights (1714)
    -- Morality (1715)
    -- Civic Virtues (1716)
    -- Family Planning (1717)
    -- Peace (1718)
    -- Decentralization (1719)
    -- Self-Government (1720)
    -- Unification (1721)


Part II  Human Rights (2)

While human rights did not figure prominently in the early phase of written constitutions, their protection constitutes a large part of modern constitutions. Most constitutions have a catalogue of specific rights and provisions about fundamental rights in general. Due to historical experience, some infringements on human rights take particular notice, e.g., the prohibition of torture or censorship. International standards are most specific in the field of personal liberty (e.g., rights against search and seizure, rights of the accused).

Chapter I  Rights in General (21)

    -- Unwritten Basic Rights: er


Chapter II  Liberty (22)

    -- Personal Integrity (221)
    --  -- Right to Life (2211)
    --  --  -- Death Penalty: er
    --  -- Right to Bodily Integrity (2212)
    --  -- Personal Freedom (2213)
    --  -- Capital Punishment (2214)
    --  -- Corporal Punishment (2215)
    --  --  -- Admissibility of Corporal Punishment: th
    --  -- Torture (2216)
    -- Right to Privacy (222)
    -- Belief (223)
    -- Communication (224)
    --  -- Freedom of Information (2241)
    --  -- Freedom of Expression (2242)
    --  --  -- Details on Expression: no
    --  -- Right to Assemble (2243)
    --  -- Right to Associate (2244)


Chapter III  Equality (23)


Chapter IV  Procedure (24)


Chapter V  Restrictions (25)


Chapter VI  Duties (26)


Part III  Legislature (3)


Part IV  Executive (4)


Chapter I  Head of State (41)

    -- King (411)
    -- -- No Accusation of King: th
    -- President (412)
    -- Diplomatic Affairs (413)
    -- Power of Command (414)
    -- Right of Pardon (415)
    -- Foreign Affairs (416)


Chapter II  Executive (42)

    -- Head of Government (421)
    -- Prime Minister (422)
    -- Chancellor (423)
    -- National Government (424)
    -- -- Minister as Academic: th
    -- State Government (425)
    -- Regional Government (426)
    -- Local Government (427)


Part V  Judicature (5)

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - 27.6.2020 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.