Is there formal provision for effective and independent legislative scrutiny of defence policy?

1a. Formal rights


SCORE: 50/100

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1b. Effectiveness


SCORE: 25/100

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1c. Independent legislature scrutiny


SCORE: 0/100

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Theoretically, the Algerian parliament has the right to control the defence policy as laid down in Art. 113 of the constitution, which states that the parliament controls the action of government (1). Algeria’s parliament is composed of two chambers; the Council of the Nation (Conseil de la nation) and the People’s National Assembly (APN, for Assemblée populaire nationale). Regarding the state budget, the government has to report to each house on how the budget is appropriated for each fiscal year. A law on the budget regulation for each financial year has to be passed by both chambers (Art. 179) (2). Art. 140 also states that the parliament is required to vote on the state budget (3). Formally, the parliament has a permanent National Defense Commission. The internal rules of the APN only vaguely say that the commission is responsible for matters relating to national defence (4). No further information on its powers or competencies could be found. Art. 140 stipulates that the parliament has legislative power concerning general rules relating to National Defence and the use of the armed forces by civil authorities (3). However, no formal rules stipulate that parliament has the right to review arms procurement. It has no formal right to veto defence decisions. Instead, the President of the Republic is responsible for national defence (5). In a state of emergency or during a war, the power lies with the President of the Republic. In these cases, the presidents of both chambers will only be consulted, and the parliament shall meet as required by law (6). No further details on the consultation process could be found in the constitution, in the internal rules of the APN, or the law that regulates the relations between the government and parliament (7).

In practice, Algeria’s parliament rarely questions the executive’s legislative proposals, and so the executive branch remains the most powerful, according to a report of the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (1).

There is scant information available on the website of the APN or in the local news that mentions the work of the Defence Commission or planetary sessions on defence policy. The information found suggests that issues on defence policy have only been discussed on the surface and have been poorly reviewed by the defence commission or in parliament.

In 2016, the APN passed a law on the status of reserve officers and military personnel. It was developed by the Ministry of Defence and presented to the legislature on June 22, 2016, by the Deputy Minister for Relations with Parliament. The presentation of the bill was followed by a discussion during which MPs’ opinions were divided between the opposition, which expressed their rejection of this law, and the ruling parties (the National Liberation Front [FLN] and the National Rally for Democracy [RND]), which endorsed it (2). Less than a week later on June 27, 2016, the law passed (3). During other sessions of parliament and the Defence Commission, members of parliament were informed about defence issues, for example, the military industry (4) or terrorism (5).

Algeria’s parliament theoretically debates defence policies; however, research suggests doubts about the monitoring function of the parliament, including the opposition. Yazbek writes that the regime has neutralized the opposition who have “embraced the rules of the game and replicated the same illiberal patterns they decry” (6, p. 1 & 11-12). According to Boudhane, the Algerian parliament is, on the one hand, the only place where the opposition can express their discontent with the government. However, on the other hand, questions addressed to ministers are ultimately held back by the Speaker of the APN (7).

Due to the close relationship between the two dominant political parties (FLN and RND), the president (from 1999 until 2019 Abdelaziz Bouteflika), and the People’s National Army (PNA), there has been no independent control of defence policy. Yazbeck outlines in a 2018 report that the PNA is the main decision-maker in the country, which rules Algeria behind the scenes, while a civilian façade governs the country (1). Bouteflika resigned in April 2019, and elections have been postponed indefinitely (5).

The FLN and the RND dominate both chambers. In the 2017 election for the National Assembly, the FLN won 164 seats in the 462-seat National Assembly, before the election it had held 221 seats. The RND won 97 seats gaining 27 seats from the election in 2012 (2). In the Council of Nation, the RND secured 43 seats in 2015, while the FLN received 40. The Council of Nations is composed of 144 members, 96 of whom are elected Due to the close relationship between the two dominant political parties (FLN and RND), the president (from 1999 until 2019 Abdelaziz Bouteflika), and the People’s National Army (PNA), there has been no independent control of defence policy. Yazbeck outlines that the PNA is the main decision-maker in the country, which rules Algeria behind the scenes, while a civilian façade governs the country (1). Bouteflika resigned in April 2019, and elections have been postponed indefinitely (5).

The FLN and the RND dominate both chambers. In the 2017 election for the National Assembly, the FLN won 164 seats in the 462-seat National Assembly, before the election it had held 221 seats. The RND won 97 seats gaining 27 seats from the election in 2012 (2). In the Council of the Nation, the RND secured 43 seats in 2015, while the FLN received 40. The Council of Nations is composed of 144 members, 96 of whom are elected by indirect and secret ballot (2/3). Another 48 members are appointed by the President of the Republic (3). According to Yazbek, both parties defend government policies in parliament and ensure that electoral results are in favour of the government. The executive’s influence over parliament is not coercive, it provides incentives to the parties, such as political and administrative positions for their members (1). Thus, the undermining of legislative oversight is embedded in the structure of the regime. Major deficiencies and electoral fraud were reported during the last parliamentary election in 2017 (4).

The 2010 Constitution establishes in Article 162 that Parliament exercises control and oversight over the state accounts. It has the exclusive power to legislate on the general elements of the organization of national defence and the organization, functioning and regulation of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA), public security forces and the information services (1).

However, a 2013 constitutional court ruling imposed limits on the parliament’s controlling and oversight function. The court declared several provisions of the parliament’s 2012 internal rules and regulations unconstitutional (2), (3). These provisions allowed MPs to question members of government and request parliamentary hearings and inquiries. Updated regulations were passed in 2017, while the opposition voted against them (4), (5).

Since 2013, the president of the parliament has dismissed several of UNITA’s, the opposition party, formal requests for parliamentary inquiry commissions into alleged corruption as “unconstitutional” or “unfounded”, on the Banco Espírito Santo Angola (BESA) bank (2014), the state-owned oil company Sonangol (2016), and – under President João Lourenço – on Angola’s Sovereign Fund (2017), and on the national debt (2018) (6), (7).

Presidents of parliament have always been senior MPLA officials, the current one, Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos “Nandó”, is a member of the MPLA’s Political Bureau, and his predecessor Paulo Kassoma is a member of the MPLA’s Central Committee (6), (7).

Formal parliamentary oversight and controlling functions were formally restricted by a 2013 constitutional court ruling (see above) (1). Parliamentary debates on the defence sector take place mainly during state budget discussions and voting of bills regarding the defence sector, as well as in the 2nd parliamentary commission. However, due to the highly centralized nature of policy-making within the MPLA, there is no room for effective parliamentary debate. The ruling party has held a two-thirds majority in parliament for decades, and the president of the Republic simultaneously holds the ruling party chair (except during a short transition period between the 2017 elections and the MPLA Congress in September 2018) (1).

Opposition parties have unsuccessfully requested parliamentary inquiries (see above) (2), (3). During annual state budget discussions, opposition parties have repeatedly asked for more detailed information on the defence and security budget. In January 2018, the Minister of Defence declared that the defence budget corresponded to one-fourth of the required budget and that 94% of the budget accounted for personnel expenses; the Finance Minister Archer Mangueira gave different numbers (59% for salaries and 23% for social benefits). No documents were provided to back up his claims (4), (5), (6).

Parliamentary decisions regarding defence and security affairs derive from initiatives conveyed by the president, government and the ruling party majority in the parliament. President Dos Santos, simultaneously president of the ruling party, has exercised unabated influence over decisions of the ruling party in Parliament until he stepped down as president of the Republic in September 2017 (1).

In June 2017, Parliament passed a law that extended the mandates of the current security forces chiefs, including the intelligence services, to eight years. The law was criticized by the opposition and civil society as an unconstitutional attempt by President Dos Santos to limit the future president’s powers and to secure control over the security forces after stepping down. However, in practice, President Lourenço has used his constitutional powers to appoint and dismiss security forces chiefs regardless (2).

Article 84 of the Constitution gives formal power to parliament to scrutinize the defence sector, through a committee known as the Defence and Security Committee (CODES) (1). However, the 2018 BTI Report, states that “the National Assembly has been weak and has never been more than a rubber stamp for the government’s legislative propositions. From top to bottom, institutions suffer from corruption, which limits their performance” (2, p.10). The report notes that this weakness of oversight institutions, including the National Assembly, has deeply transformed the missions of the Army to become “more of a risk for destabilization than a guarantor of stability or security” (2, p.10). Elsewhere, Article 217 of the Constitution, grants power to the Supreme Audit Institution also known as Court of Account, to scrutinize the accounts of the government, including those of the armed forces (3).

Though the constitution gives full rights to parliament, it lacks any serious capacity to perform effective oversight of the defence sector in general and defence policy in particular. Yet, the lack of effectiveness of the Parliament with regards to defence sector oversight was also pointed out in the 2016 BTI report as well, which ended up making the army have “more destabilizing influence than a guarantor of stability or security” (1), (2).

The 2016 report indicates that “the unicameral National Assembly’s authority and involvement in decision-making is notoriously ineffective and its mechanisms of oversight are severely limited” (1), (2). The National Assembly functions by offering questions following debates. It also has constitutional rights to directly send written questions to members of the government (3). The National Assembly discusses defence policy, through the Defence and Security Committee (CODES) (1). The Finance and Budget Committee (FBC) often requests its technical opinion when analyzing the defence budget (1).

According to Articles 84 and 108 of the Constitution (2012), the National Assembly (NA) has the power to pass laws, including laws affecting military personnel and budgets, it also has the power to send the military abroad for peacekeeping operations (1). Similarly, members of parliament may not be prosecuted, investigated, arrested or detained while performing their official duty (art.108) (1). However, both the 2016/2018 BTI Burkina Faso Annual Country Reports, say the “National Assembly has been weak and has never been much more than a rubber stamp for the government;” and alleges the army of being “more of a risk of destabilizing than a guarantor of stability or security,” this clearly demonstrates grave lacks independence of the NA in its work of scrutinizing defence policy (2), (3). In general, the Constitution guarantees the formal separation of powers between the executive, the legislative and the judicial branches, but this it has remained limited in practice (1), (2), (4). The 2018 BTI Burkina Faso Country Report confirms this view when it states that “the institutional separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches is guaranteed in the constitution, but significantly limited in practical terms” (3).

Articles 16, 18, 26, 29, 30 and 35 (1) of the Constitution of 1996 give the National Assembly and the Senate (Parliament) the power to veto laws and to amend or reject security and defence policy, as well as the right to review budgets and defence decisions. However, the above rights are subject to article 35 (2), which states that state secrets and those related to national security cannot be scrutizined by Parliament [1].

Although Parliament has the power to vote on and veto laws and approve budgets, it does not have the power to approve procurement of military assets (Articles 4 and 71 of the Public Procurement Code exempt military and security contracts from the Procurement Commission’s scrutiny) [2]. It has no power to address issues relating to a declaration of war or a state of emergency in the country [3].

The Head of State (President of the Republic), who is also the Head of the Armed Forces, governs the defence and security sectors mostly through decrees and not through laws voted through by Parliament [4].

Bills on defence issues usually come from the Executive and often go unchallenged given that since the advent of multiparty politics, the legislature has been largely dominated by the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) and parliamentarians of the party often vote along party lines and exhibit loyalty to the regime, which has been in power since 1982 [5].

Although the Anti-Terrorism Law of December 2014 was hotly debated by the Opposition as it feared that it would be used to witch-hunt members of opposition parties, the bill could not be vetoed because the National Assembly and the Senate (Parliament) are predominantly members of the ruling CPDM [1].

Article 35 (2) of the Constitution (1996) limits Parliament from scrutinizing state and national security laws [2] and the President governs the defence and security sectors through decrees and not through laws passed by Parliament [3]. ParIiament also does not approve the procurement of defence assets [3]. The National Assembly exercises oversight functions over almost all funds, including defence funds but not those allocated to special services [3].

On March 25th, 2018, Senate elections were held across Cameroon. Of the 100 seats in the Cameroonian Senate, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) won 63 out of the 70 seats up for election. The remaining seven seats went to the main opposition party, the Social Democratic Front (SDF). The other 30 seats are appointed by the President to make up the 100 Senate seats [4]. The majority of those appointed are from the ruling CPDM [5]. Parliamentary voting is more or less a formality because Parliament is also dominated by the ruling CPDM party with 148 out of the 180 National Assembly seats.

A delegate of the Ministry of Defence who is usually a civilian usually presents the budget of the Ministry of Defence. However, during sessions, there is a high presence of military officials which undermines the scrutiny of the budget [1].

According to the 2016 Constitution, the Assemblée Nationale (NA, Parliament) has some formal mechanisms allowing for oversight of government policy. However, the NA lacks explicit formal rights to reject or amend defence policy. It also lacks formal rights to review defence budgets, major arms procurements and defence sections (1):

“Article 93 – Parliament votes the law and gives its consent for taxation. It controls the action of the Government and evaluates public policies.
Article 101 – The Law lays down the rules concerning … the status of the military function, the status of the personnel of the National Police … The Law determines the fundamental principles … of the organization of National Defense.
Article 104 – The declaration of war is authorized by the Parliament. In case of disagreement between the two chambers, the decision belongs to the National Assembly.
Article 105 – The extension of the state of siege beyond fifteen days may only be authorized by the Parliament … in case of disagreement between the two chambers, the vote of the National Assembly is preponderant.
Article 107 – Members of Parliament have the right of amendment.
Article 109 – The bills and bills are arranged both on the desk of the National Assembly and the Senate. The bills and bills are examined by the committees of each chamber.
Article 110 – All bills or legislative proposals shall be examined successively by both Houses of Parliament with a view to the adoption of an identical text. The Budget Law is submitted first to the National Assembly …
Article 111 – The Parliament votes the Budget Law in the conditions determined by the organic law.
Article 112 – Parliament shall consider the draft budget law before the end of the ordinary session. The draft budget law must provide the revenue necessary to fully cover the expenses …
Article 118 – … the Court of Auditors assists the Parliament and the Government in the control of the execution of the finance laws and in the fields falling within its competences.” (1)

While the Defence and Security Committee conducts scrutiny over policies related to national defence, police, immigration, and civil protection, internal conflicts issues, Article 68 of the Constitution states that the President of the Republic presides over the councils, defence and security committees; this seems to limit the power of the legislative body over the executive. Cases having a financial impact must be presented to the National Assembly and are subject to the opinion of the Committee on Economic and Financial Affairs. However, there are no specific provisions on the detailed budget.

According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPA), the preparation of the national budget does not require consultations with the NA. However, the NA monitors the defence budget via its formal right to control all public funds via amendments, as per Article 107 of the 2016 Constitution (2). According to the 2018 Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index (BTI 2018), “Côte d’Ivoire has a long history of complete presidential control of the political process. Political liberalization during the 1990s did not lead to any meaningful political empowerment of the parliament…” (3). The UN peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), whose mandate ended on 30 June 2017, also proved instrumental in strengthening NA oversight of the security sector via the UNOCI-sponsored Réforme du Secteur de la Sécurité (RSS) program. For example, the UN organized a workshop in Grand Bassam from 18-20 July 2016 to build NA oversight capacity via the CSD (4). The government is aware of the institutional weaknesses regarding the lack of formal NA oversight over defence policy and has been working with multilateral organizations and development agencies (UNDP, USAID, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung) to strengthen the NA Commission Sécurité et Défense (CSD). For example, the National Security Council organized a workshop for the CSD in Yamoussoukro in May 2017 to strengthen the capacity of its members to effectively exercise its amendment rights (5). The official NA website described the workshop in Yamoussoukro in May 2017 as a way to endow the CSD with more oversight effectiveness by teaching best practices, allowing NA deputies on the CSD to learn how to draft laws specific to the security sector and being trained in the concept of parliamentary oversight (6).

The NA Commission Sécurité et Défense (CSD) has a composition that reflects the numerical strength of the party currently in power (Rassemblement des Républicains, RDR), as highlighted by the IPU source (1). “The Security and Defence Committee has the general powers accredited to committees, i.e. of inquiry and information. The composition of the Commission reflects the numerical strength of each party in the parliament. The parliament controls national defence policy when the finance bill is being examined” (1). By extension, the CSD also reflects the interests of President Alassane Outtara and NA President Guillaume Soro, a former rebel leader of the Forces Nouvelles (FN) and close political ally of Outtara. There is no evidence in open sources that address the military’s potential influence on the CSD, though this does not mean it does not exist. Given the RDR bias in the composition of the CSD, the country’s post-conflict context and the fact that the opposition boycotted the last presidential election of 2015, the score reflects the fact that both the military and the executive can undermine parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy. While there is no direct evidence of influence of the executive on the NA, the fact that the NA is presided over by Guillaume Soro and that his longstanding political ally, Sidiki Konate, heads the CSD Commission, this gives rise to the possibility that Soro exerts undue influence over Konate in terms of legislative scrutiny of defence policy. Soro is also allegedly vying for the presidency in the 2020 presidential election (2). A Jeune Afrique article states:

“Sidiki Konate has accompanied Soro since the interivoirian negotiations of 2002. Close to the Muslim brotherhoods (Confréries musulmanes), the chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the National Assembly, who became a member of Parliament for the region of Man (Western Côte d’Ivoire) for the Rassemblement des Republicains (RDR), rallies his political and religious bases on Soro’s behalf ” (2).

According to sources, the Parliament has the legal power to practice oversight on all laws, and public decision making in all sectors, including the military and defence sector. However, it has no power to scrutinize defence policies. The military has almost full immunity from any scrutiny mechanisms by the Parliament as well as the judiciary branch (1), (2), (3). Every law must pass through the Parliament, but powers to review budgets, arms procurements and defence policy are very restricted (4). Although the House of Representatives (parliament) is entrusted with “exercising oversight over the actions of the executive power” according to Article 101 of the Constitution (6), these formal powers are restricted by law, and it gives the defence sector extensive autonomy in managing its own affairs. The National Defence Council (NDC), for example, led by the president and senior military and security officials must be “consulted” on any law that is related to the armed forces or national security, and they are the entity mandated to discuss and develop defence policies (5). It should be noted that Egypt has been governed under emergency law sporadically from 2013 and permanently since 2017, which gives the executive exceptional powers (7), (8).

According to sources, there has not been any debate about defence policies in the last five years. Although there are standard mechanisms granted by law, the National Defence Council, which is appointed by a president (who was an officer and the head of the armed forces) undermines these mechanisms (executive power exceeds the power of the Parliament). Because of that, and with the pretext of security instability (emergency), there has not been any debate of defence policies (1), (2), (3). Article 101 of the Constitution grants the Parliament formal powers over the executive branch including the armed forces, and entrust it with reviewing governmental policy and enacting laws, but other articles grant the armed forces exceptional powers and great autonomy (4). Accordingly, reviewing and discussing defence policy is the task of the NDC, and the majority of its members (9 out of 14) come from a military background (5). Therefore, the wide powers given to the NDC render the Parliament’s formal powers of oversight ineffective.

According to sources, the military and the executive (president) have been attempting to undermine scrutiny or questions on the financial and political assets and power of the military (1), (2), (3) (4). The few attempts by some independent-minded parliamentarians to question the financial benefits of armed forces officers lead to unfavourable consequences for the parliamentarians, including being expelled or forced to resign from their position (ex. M. Anwar al-Sadat) (5). The speaker has also expressed his full support of the government and the armed forces and said that ”the parliament’s main task to be helping the government to achieve its goals, not criticizing them or providing a critical oversight function. He has repeatedly demanded that deputies avoid being too critical of the government” (6,7). This is representative of the kind of impotency suffered by the Parliament vis-a-vis the executive. It is well-established that the current Parliament is ineffective in its scrutiny over the executive, especially concerning the military (1).

Parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy is performed under the Constitution of Ghana and provides Parliament with executive oversight power. According to Art. 103 (3) the committees of the parliament hold powers of investigation and inquiry into the activities and administration of ministries and departments as well as propositions for legislation (1). However, Article 108 of the Constitution only allows Parliament to reduce (but not increase) budget allocations to Ministers, Departments and Agencies (1).

Most of the scrutiny over defence policy is assigned to the Parliamentary Selected Committee on Defence and Interior (PSCDI, 18 members) and the Parliament Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PSCPA, 25 members). The former’s responsibility is to “examine all questions relating to defence and internal affairs”, while the latter’s function is “the examination of the audited accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted by Parliament to meet the public expenditure of the Government and of such other accounts laid before Parliament” (2), (3).

It is not clear if the parliament has formal powers (under the law) to approve or veto laws on security and to reject or amend defence policy.

Parliament rarely debates issues on defence and security because of their lack of expertise in the subject matter, and self-censorship by the majority leadership of Parliament, who do not generally tolerate defence scrutiny on the floor of parliament (1), (2), (3), (4). Overall parliamentary oversight of the executive is considered to be weak (5). As there is no publicly available information on the work of the committees, it is difficult to assess their effectiveness. Furthermore, Ghana does not have a clearly defined defence policy, and national security concerns are often advanced, due to the absence of information (5).

Due to the hybrid system that underpins the type of governance system that governs Ghana, the executive easily manipulates and controls the legislature through the leadership of the ruling (and invariably the majority) party in Parliament (1), (2), (3), (4). There is no hard evidence that the executive or the military coerce or unduly influence Parliament to vote in their favour on security and defence topics. However, the issue of excessive political party alignment and loyalty has been raised to question the effectiveness of MPs’ oversight in general (5).

As enumerated in Article 48 of Iraq’s 2005 Constitution (1) federal legislative powers are reserved for the Council of Representatives and the Federation Council, yet the latter as referenced online (2) doesn’t exist. The parliament has a legal right to develop a mechanism and propose and propose mechanisms of scrutiny over the defence policies. Although the constitution does not mention defence per se, it does not give it an exception, which indicates that MoD is also included in the term “ministries”. The constitution also requires the parliament to ratify appointments of high ranks officers, which is another evidence that the parliament has legal powers. The council enact laws, review budgets and “monitors performance of [the] executive authority” (1). Iraq’s presidential council is endowed with veto powers over legislation and constitutional amendments (3) but these have been abused to disrupt government formation (4). Intense horse-trading between the ruling by largely Shia Islamist parties is reflected across several arenas, including parliament (5). Disagreements over the interpretation and application of the constitution, obstruct political consensus, which results in lobbying efforts by different parties, towards policy changes that serve not the public but rather political party interests.

In recent years vetoes have achieved little more than postponing the approval of budgets and cabinets (6). One source notes (7), Iraq’s constitution “charges the president with ratifying laws, but does not explicitly grant him veto power or specify what happens if he withholds approval”. More recent legal commentary (7) contradicts the above. Commenting on calls to impose a reciprocal travel ban on US citizens, an FT article (7) states that the president “can either veto the request or send it” across to the PM to make it a law. Laws, concerning defence, are enacted by the CoR, as the constitution states, and are responsible for electing members of the presidential council; the president, prime minister, and the speaker of the parliament (8).

The veto is infrequently exercised to contest or revise defence policies. The passing of the Popular Mobilization Law that grants members of the umbrella paramilitary organization legal status were passed, allowing militias to be formally inducted into security services (1). The law passed in a session boycotted by Sunni deputies and lawmakers, who accused the governing elite of having failed to consult them regarding the process. No draft law was submitted either, “in a move which bypassed scrutiny of their transformation into a permanent institution”, an interviewee said (2). Chatham House research fellow Renad Mansour writes that the PMF shall not integrate “in the traditional way, it will become an institutionalized autonomous force” (3). The PMF falls under the command of the Prime Minister’s Office, as opposed to the Ministry of Defence. Additionally, the law’s ambiguous provisions were never discussed. Another policy paper clarifies that the Parliament must pass new laws to resolve the ambiguity regarding the PMF’s command structure (4). Despite that, defence policy, in spite of these limitations, is discussed, marred however by individual preferences which align with policies tied not to the state but the doctrinal and operational outlook of armed-state-backed-forces. An important case in point was a vote in parliament “to discontinue questioning of the acting trade minister over corruption allegations and the governor of Basra fleeing to Iran amid a corruption investigation” (5). The debilitating effect on parliament is clear.

Iraq’s leaders, old and new, are likely to face stiff opposition should they attempt to pass additional laws/amendments to clarify the group’s leadership and loyalties. “It is likely to be a very difficult and long drawn out process if Abadi were to push for further legislation” the policy paper concludes. The politicization of the armed forces and the lack of oversight from the MoD continues, as the above case displays, to render parliament’s formal rights ineffective. Sunni lawmaker, Ahmed al Masary (6) stated: “the legislation aborts nation building”. Unable to dissolve the PMF, Abadi buckled under political pressure and “granted the PMF an autonomous structure and jurisdiction” (7). By constitutional law, the prime minister “is the direct executive authority responsible for the general policy of the State and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces” (8). The force, MP, Raad al Dakhili stated “would constitute something that looks like Iran’s Revolutionary Guard” (1). While parliamentary sessions offer a space for debating matters of controversy, the lawyer’s interview made clear that lawmakers are wary of voicing scrutiny against powerful paramilitaries, supported by the government and allied Iran (2).

As established above, the Parliament’s formal rights and authority have been undermined by quasi-state actors emboldened to operate outside the bounds of constitutional and statutory law. The PMF is a prime example with backing from Iraq’s highest reigning cleric authority — Al Marjiyya (1), (2) and legislative scrutiny of PMF crimes, misdemeanours and unconstitutional behaviour has resisted by the Badr-led Fatah alliance headed by former militia commander of Badr Corps Hadi al Ameri (3). Moves to legalize the loose associate of paramilitaries contravenes Article 9B of the Constitution, which prohibits the formation of armed militias outside the state’s legal framework (4), (5). The criticism voiced against PMF bill (6) by the head of Iraq’s Itihad al-Quwa al-Wataniyah bloc, Usama al Nujaifi, “urging its immediate reversal” and rejecting “the attempt to equalize the two forces” (paramilitaries and the army) did not translate into legislative scrutiny (6).

Ayatollah Ali al Sistani’s office has displayed a growing influence on defence matters. His defence of paramilitaries has granted PMF actors a shield of immunity, as argued by the lawyer interviewed (9) provided that they are tied directly to the PM’s Office. Iran’s involvement in providing arms, logistical support and intel, to PMF brigades further undermines parliament’s legislative scrutiny and raises doubts over the group’s autonomy and loyalty to Iraq (5). Iraq’s Supreme Court is the body charged with the interpretation of provisions in the constitution but has not contested/raised concerns over the legalization of paramilitaries.

Oversight over executive decisions and actions does exist but the effectiveness of NATO’s role in driving the post-conflict scenario hinges on the compliance of parallel sub-state actors, militias — in other words (7). As one analyst reports (7), “the Iraqi state developed a legal framework to formally integrate the militias into the armed forces with civilian, government oversight. But the government did ostensibly little to control the de-facto autonomy enjoyed by these forces” — an observation to extends to the parliamentary groups aligned to these militias.

As a parliamentary monarchy, Jordan’s parliament, commonly referred to as the National Assembly, is bicameral, consisting of two chambers: an elected House of Deputies comprising of 130 members (Majlis al-Nuwab) and the Assembly of Senators (Majlis al-Ayyan), appointed by the King and consisting of 65 members. According to Chapter V of the Jordanian Constitution [1], the national assembly has legislative and oversight functions [2]. These functions do not extend to the armed forces, as Article 32 of the Constitution stipulates that the King is the Supreme Commander of the Army, Navy and Air Forces. The King, according to Article 33 of the Constitution, also has the right to declare war, conclude peace and confirm treaties and agreements. Furthermore, Jordan does not have an effective Ministry of Defence. Even though, in 2014, the King urged the Government to activate the Ministry of Defence to relieve the Jordanian Armed Forces of some logistical and administrative burdens, the duties of the Minister of Defence have often fallen to Prime Ministers. The current Prime Minister, Omar al-Razzaz, is also the Minister of Defence [3]. Therefore, the presence of a nominal Minister of Defence is contradicted by Article 32 and 33 of the Constitution, as the Minister of Defence has no actual power over decisions relating to security [6]. State budgets, which include the defence budget, are prepared by the General Budget Department. This department presents its allocations to the Cabinet, which endorses or rejects the proposed annual budgets [4]. There are some occasions documented during which annual government spending was approved by the National Assembly, the latest of which was in early 2018. On January 2, 2018 the budget presented to Parliament was endorsed without changes by the House of Deputies, who in turn put the budget forward to the House of Senate. The Senate also approved the budget with no amendments [5, 7]. However, the Parliament does not have formal powers to vote on all matters related to security, only on defence budgets as a part of the general government budgets. The scoring has also taken into consideration that according to Article 34 of the Constitution, the King also reserves the right to dissolve the National Assembly [1].

Whilst there is evidence of Parliament debating some defence policies, the effectiveness of such debates remains questionable. The defence budget of 2018, for example, was approved without changes [1]. In 2017, the Jordanian Parliament voted to review the Peace Treaty with Israel [2]. However, there is no evidence that such Parliamentary votes are followed through, and Peace Treaties remain in the hands of the King, in whom executive power is vested according to Article 26 of the Constitution [3]. According to multiple sources, the effectiveness of the Parliament’s oversight on defence and security activities, including the budget, is minimal [4,5].

There is no evidence of the executive or the military coercing or unduly influencing the Parliament to vote in their favour, yet there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration in relation to the independence of the legislature scrutiny: (1) Defence remains largely controlled by the King according to the Constitution [1], (2) Parliamentary votes on defence are not followed through by the executives, as evidenced in the case of reviewing Israeli peace treaties [2], (3) the King has the power to dissolve Parliament [1], and (4) the Senates are appointed by the King and must be, according to Article 64 of the Constitution, “Present and former Prime Ministers and Ministers, persons who had previously held the office of Ambassador, Minister Plenipotentiary, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, President and judges of the Court of Cassation and of the Civil and Sharia Courts of Appeal, retired military officers of the rank of Lt. General and above, former Deputies who were elected at least twice as deputies, and other similar personalities who enjoy the confidence of the people in view of the services rendered by them to the Nation and the Country”. Even though there is no evidence of executives and the military directly undermining Parliament’s scrutiny, the independence of the Parliament and its voting system is questionable, due to the presence of military and executive personnel in the Senates, and because the King has the power to dissolve Parliament [3, 4].

The Kuwaiti Parliament has the right to scrutinise all Government policies, including those of the defence and security ministers, according to the constitution’s article 112, 101 and 102 (1) and the internal laws of Parliament article 76, 144 and 147 (2). The Parliament can legally demand all kinds of information from the executive branch, summon ministers for questioning and conduct investigations, and the Government must comply. It can also hold a no-confidence vote on these ministers if they object to their policies and even though it does not have the right to veto laws or decisions, it could attempt to exercise control by refusing to authorise funding for it.

But all these moves can be stopped in their tracks by article 107 of the constitution (1), which allows the Emir, the head of the executive branch under which the security agencies fall, to dissolve the Parliament at any point and for any reason.

Also, the Emir can declare a defensive war without going through Parliament first or having to dissolve it even it opposed his decision, according to the constitution.

Moreover, there a loophole in article 147 of the constitution (1), which gives Parliament the right to investigate Government decisions but only if they are “under the jurisdiction of the Parliament,” an area that is not explicitly defined in the constitution or in the PIL.

In short, the Kuwaiti Parliament has extensive review powers and formal influence over funding, which should afford it some control over defence and security policy, but the law favours the executive branch. It can easily overrule them and ignore their demands, so long as it is willing to withstand potential public and media criticism of its decision.

The Parliament’s powers are hard to utilise for internal reasons:
Kuwait does not have political parties (even though the constitution does not explicitly ban their formation) and so all 50 elected lawmakers run independently, as individuals, and they don’t necessarily have much loyalty to each other or interest in cooperating with one another, a Kuwaiti royal (3) and an analyst said (4). They are not united from the beginning by a belief in a certain set of ideas, so it is not easy for lawmakers to united together and demand a no-confidence vote, for example.
The reason above has created a populist streak that runs through Kuwaiti politics. Politicians must focus more on the needs of their constituents and less on the collective good of the nation, including the people who did not vote for them. This means that they spend most of their time in Parliament trying to save jobs, opposing austerity measures or serving the short-term interests of one or two groups in society, activists said in interviews.
Kuwait also enacted a law in 2016 that banned individuals who have insulted the Emir (an offence that most of the opposition figures in Kuwait were found guilty of) from contesting elections. This means that only people who are not very critical of the Government can be elected, and these are precisely the kind of lawmakers who won’t risk dissolution (and the loss of their well-paying job that allows them to rub shoulders with senior officials who are likely to bribe them or offer them special benefits) to oppose any policy proposed by the Government, officials and a report from Reuters said. This is, of course, an old practice that has always plagued the Kuwaiti Parliament and other legislative bodies around the world, but many now believe is being actively promoted by the 2016 law.
Article 6 of Kuwait’s nationality law (5) limits the right to vote to less than half of the local population, by only allowing Kuwaitis whose ancestors lived in Kuwait in before 1920 to vote – the main beneficiaries of the welfare system through which the royal family has been distributing Kuwait’s oil revenues since the country started exporting it in 1946 (6). These are the people who are least likely to elect lawmakers who are willing to oppose the Emir.

Parliament regularly reviews and debates the budget and spending of the country’s defence and security sector. It discusses it least twice a year, and it holds (usually private) sessions to review arms procurement deals that cost $330,000 USD or more once every six months at least, according to officials, as it does other agencies (1, 2 and 3). The lawmakers have often referred suspicious financial transaction inside the security agencies to the public prosecutor’s office.

The Parliament, however, rarely attempts to change defence policies, which are considered the “Emir’s speciality,” lawmakers, activists and a member of the royal family said (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7).

Lawmakers do not usually try to change the plans the defence and security sector puts forward. They have attempted to make no significant changes to policies since their formal refusal to ratify the security pact Kuwait signed with GGC countries in 2012, which did not stop the defence and interior ministries from implementing the moves decreed by the agreement. Even though they could have continued to press the security agencies and the executive branch on these policies, lawmakers decided not to (8).

Parliament only discusses the Defence Ministry’s big picture and policies when a law has been presented to them by the Government or when there is public interest in a specific incident — but even then lawmakers tend to comply with the security officials.

Both the Interior Minister and the Defence Minister are members of Parliament and they have the right to vote on laws, along with the other ministers who are given parliamentary seats by the virtue of their post, according to the constitution (1) and the PIL (2). The government has a total of 15 seats, meaning the executive branch controls at least about a quarter of the Parliament and that is without attempting to influence elected MPs (3). These members, along with their aides and officials close to the Emir, pressure lawmakers, informally and individually, into toeing the line, according to officials and a member of the royal family (4, 5, 6, 7 and 8). Lawmakers who are keen on criticising defence institutions or who want to advocate a new defence policy that goes against the wishes of the Emir are sternly and quickly reminded that the Emir can easily dissolve the Parliament altogether, and that persistence could result in them being accused insulting the Emir, or having the citizenship revoked, like many members of the opposition, the aforementioned sources said.

Only six Parliaments lasted their full terms in Kuwait since 1962, the news outlet, Gulf News, said (9). Nine Parliaments have been dissolved, the last one being in October 2016 due to disagreements between the Emir and the elected lawmakers at the time.

Kuwait’s executive branch disbanded these nine Parliaments because they tried to be independent despite the laws constraining them, but the current Parliament lacks this will, partly because it was formed after the authorities enacted a law in June 2016 that banned politicians convicted of insulting the Emir from running from office, effectively preventing a large number of opposition figures from standing in national elections, according to a Reuters report (10).

According to the Parliament’s rule of procedure, the Parliament has formal powers to scrutinize government policies. Furthermore, the Parliament is responsible for approving the state budget, bills, law proposals, international conventions and agreements including bilateral agreements with a country and government institutions (1). However, the National Defense Law leaves the defence and security policy setting and oversight in the hands of the Council of Ministers (Art. 6) (2). Defence and security procurements are subject to special procedures. Defence procurements, are facilitated by the General Directorate of Administration (3).

In theory, the Government of Lebanon is responsible for setting the defence and security policy (1). The presidentially-led Supreme Defence Council, on the other hand, sets the policy’s framework of implementation and necessary measures (Article 8 NDL) (1). The Parliament is only involved in revising and approving the state’s budget which includes the defence budget (2). It does not debate nor approve the defence policy (3). It has recently approved the state’s budget for 2019, including the defence budget (3).

Parliamentary politics is subordinate to the interests of principal confessional elites. Thus, Lebanese politics are organized in a manner that undermines parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy, and less so the executive branch or the military per se (1), (2). According to Interview no. 2, the military command deals with the executive branch directly (3). Source 5 indicated that LAF representatives are present during the Defence, Interior, and Municipalities parliamentary committee’s revision for military cooperation treaties or any similar document that has a monetary aspect to it (4). Source 4, indicated that the parliamentary committee does not do enough on defence-related issues. Treaties that are revised by it are done superficially (5). On the other hand, the CDP document was not shared with them. It was only presented in a form of presentation, source 4 and 2 indicated.
However, the Council of Ministers operates as a mini-parliament. As a result, parliamentary politics – which are subordinate to the interests of principal confessional elites – are often a moot point. In short, it is how politics are organized that undermine parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy, and less so the executive branch or the military per se.

According to the constitution, the parliament (National Assembly), determines the fundamental principles and general organisation of the defence and security sector². It also approves the overall state budget, is consulted on its content, and exercises day-to-day oversight through the Defence and Security Committee (CDSPC; for concerns regarding its functioning, see Q2).
Article 70 stipulates that the National Assembly has the right to vote on laws concerning the general status of the personnel of the Armed forces and the general organisation of the defence and national security². Meanwhile, the two subsequent articles give parliament even more important powers.
Article 71 states that “A declaration of war shall be authorised by the National Assembly in a special meeting for that purpose. The President of the Republic shall then inform the nation by an announcement”.
Furthermore, Article 72 outlines that “states of emergency and states of siege shall be declared in the Council of Ministers. Their extension beyond ten days may only be authorised by the National Assembly”².
In parliament, the military budget is first examined by the Defence and Security Committee. The CDSPC invites the directors of all the main divisions of the armed forces, the army chiefs of staff, the army joint chiefs of staff and the Minister of Defence for discussions on the mission, the annual objectives and the budgetary requirements of the armed and security forces³. Legislators must debate and approve the defence budget as part of the government’s general annual finance bill, but various other powers are lacking³.

For example, the constitution makes no mention of any formal parliamentary rights to scrutinise or veto appointments of senior defence officials². A member of the Defence and Security Committee confirmed to the assessor that the CDSPC has no oversight of such appointments⁴. Similarly, although parliament, via the CDSPC, can review military purchases for the previous year, there is no legislative oversight of individual defence purchases before they are made⁴.
Indeed, Article 8 in the Procurement Code enables the government to make defence purchases without having to comply with the standard procurement requirements⁵. This means that parliament can be easily circumvented when it comes to making off-budget purchases. This was the case with the acquisition of the presidential jet (see evidence in 10a) and military vehicles (see Q63).

In parliament, the military budget is first examined by the Defence and Security Committee. The CDSPC invites the directors of all the main divisions of the armed forces, the army chiefs of staff, the army joint chiefs of staff and the Minister of Defence for discussions on the mission, the annual objectives and the budgetary requirements of the armed and security forces¹⁰. The committee has the power to propose amendments to the budget or a reformulation of the military’s objectives. The draft budget is then presented to the National Assembly for debate and voting. These formal rights are respected in practice according to several interviewees⁴ ⁵ ⁶ ⁷.
The National Assembly debated and voted on the LOPM, the government’s primary piece of defence legislation, which provides for USD2.3 billion of investment for the armed forces between 2015 and 2019⁵ ⁶ ⁷ ⁹. A member of the National Assembly’s Defence and Security Committee told the assessor that not only did the CDSPC scrutinise the LOPM, but that every year the government has to present a list of its purchases to enable the committee to check that they conform with the needs outlined in the LOPM⁷. But individual military acquisitions are not reviewed or approved by the National Assembly or the CDSPC prior to the actual purchase.
Indeed, the way in which parliament was entirely sidelined in the acquisition of the presidential jet (see evidence in 10a) and military vehicles (see Q63) highlights how the assembly’s formal oversight function can easily be bypassed. Similarly, the National Assembly did not get to vote on the landmark 2015 peace and reconciliation deal with armed groups in the north, which was designed to bring an end to insecurity in the region.
The main body within parliament for scrutinising defence police is the Defence and Security Committee. The committee can propose amendments to defence legislation (including budgets) before it is passed to parliament⁶ ⁷. A member of the committee told the assessor that its proposals are sometimes integrated into the final legislation⁷. In particular, the CDSPC earned praise from domestic media outlets for its work in formulating the new General Statute for the FAMa⁸. The new statute offers clear criteria for promotions within the armed forces.
MaliActu, a news website that is often critical of IBK’s government and has published several damning pieces on the CDSPC’s chair, Karim Keita (the president’s son), commended the CDSPC for making “pertinent recommendations” to the defence ministry. These included the construction of a modern military hospital, a review of the statutes concerning specific units within the armed forces and the creation of a unit of auxiliary gendarmes⁸.
However, a senior security governance professional told the assessor that the CDSPC is neither well-staffed, nor well-resourced, undermining its ability to provide any effective oversight of defence policy⁴.
Most importantly, the fact that the committee is chaired by the president’s son, who had neither military nor political experience prior to his election as a member of parliament in 2013, severely undermines the CDSPC’s credibility when it comes to holding the executive to account.
So, although both parliament and the dedicated committee use their formal powers to amend policy or make recommendations, their effectiveness is limited. The National Assembly is dominated by the president’s party and 12 of the 14 members of the CDSPC belong to parties within the current government⁷. Thus, there have been no instances during this parliament of the National Assembly voting against the executive’s defence legislation.

There is no evidence that the military undermines parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy. However, the fact that the CDSPC is chaired by the president’s son casts major doubt over the ability of the committee to properly scrutinise the government’s security plans.
The president’s son, who has no prior military or political experience, heads up the committee. Thus, there is limited scope for the CDSPC to challenge the executive. However, the committee can propose amendments to defence legislation (including budgets) before it is passed to parliament⁵. A member of the committee told the assessor that its proposals are sometimes integrated into the final legislation⁵.
The committee is influential and high-profile because of president’s son being the chair⁴. The source said the CDSPC can influence but is not able to challenge the government.
So, although the CDSPC is very unlikely to properly scrutinise government policy while the president’s son is chair of the committee, it is only this relationship, rather than pressure from both the executive and the military, that compromises parliament’s oversight capabilities.

Article 54 of the 2011 Constitution established the Moroccan High Security Council (Conseil Supérieur de Sécurité du Maroc) (1), however, little is known about the laws and regulations that would govern its authority and when it would start operating.
Article 54 of the Moroccan Constitution gives the Council a consultative power regarding security strategies, the management of security crisis and the responsibility to ensure the institution of good governance controls. In July 2014, Act 85-13 was adopted according to the provisions of Article 67 of the Constitution. It clarifies the role and processes of the accountability mechanism, the Parliamentary Commissions of Inquiry.
A Commission of Inquiry may be appointed by the king or by one of the two houses of Parliament and can, in theory, investigate wrongdoings by officials and institutions including law enforcement agencies and security services.

Although parliament has no formal powers over defence policy, under Art.70 of the Moroccan Constitution, it has the authority to assess public policies to identify and measure the effectiveness of policies adopted by the State in a given sector, including security and defence sectors (1).

This indicator has been marked Not Applicable, becuse of the absence of parliamentary power over defence policy. None of the following statements apply:
The executive branch does not coerce or unduly influence parliament to vote in its favour, but the presence of military officials within parliament undermines parliamentary scrutiny of defence.
Both the military and the executive regularly undermine parliament scrutiny of defence policy.

Under the Constitution (1), the Nigerien National Assembly (NA) has formal rights to oversee government actions, including defence and security policy. The NA has several formal powers to review the State Budget. Under Articles 113 and 114 of the Constitution, the NA exercises a budget approval function. As per Article 98, the NA can request information on the activities or budgetary management of the Executive. Under Art. 115, the NA can ask the Court of Auditors to investigate issues of budgetary execution.
The Constitution allows for a National Defence Council (Art. 63 and 64 of the Constitution) and a National Security Council (Art. 63, 65 of the Constitution). These bodies are advisory units to the president, the supreme head of the armed forces. The Superior Council advises on the nomination of high-level military nominations and grade promotions of officers alongside all other questions within the military domain (Article 64). The National Defence Council advises on all questions relevant to national security and strategy as well as on foreign affairs (Article 65). As advisory units, their effectiveness is at the discretion of the president. No provisions for veto were found, but as per Article 67 of the Constitution, the NA is entitled to assess the duration of emergency powers and end a state of emergency, if judged abusive. As per Art. 105, the NA is the only body that can extend a state of emergency beyond the 15 days stipulated in the Constitution. Further, the NA is entitled to carry out a no-confidence vote with an absolute majority. Even though there is no explicit mention of NA oversight of major arms procurements and defence decisions, there is a Security and Defence Committee, set up at the beginning of each legislative cycle (2) which is specifically entitled to oversee defence and security policy (see question 2). The National Assembly has the right to employ formal mechanisms to conduct scrutiny over defence policy but lacks some of the powers listed in score 4.

The National Assembly (NA) debates issues of defence and national security and has made attempts to influence government policy through formal mechanisms. It authorises declarations of war and the dispatch of troops abroad (Art.104 of the Constitution) (1). The NA exercised this right on February 9, 2015, when it authorised the deployment of troops to Nigeria (2).
In cases of martial law, which is decided by the council of ministers, the NA must provide an opinion and the period of martial law cannot last longer than 15 days without parliamentary authorisation (Art. 67 of the Constitution). This function was used on February 10, 2015, when a state of emergency was proclaimed in the Diffa region. This state of emergency remains in place and is extended every three months. In March 2017, the state of emergency was also declared in some departments of the Tillabery (Ouallam, Ayorou, Bankilaré, Abala, Banibaand) and Tahoua (Tassara and Tillia) regions (3).
However, the role of the NA seems to have changed with the most recent three-month extension, in June 2018. At that time, the state of emergency in the regions of Diffa and certain departments of Tillabery and Tahoua was ordered by the Council of Ministers rather than the NA. This decision, based on Art. 106 of the Constitution and Law No. 2018-41 (2018), allows the government to issue an Order (Ordonnance) after consulting with the Constitutional Court and receiving an authorisation from the NA to take measures that are normally related to the field of law (4). Based on this, the Council of Ministers issued the Order authorising the three-month extension of the state of emergency in the mentioned regions (5).

Following the most recent election in February 2016, the National Assembly elected 117 deputies to serve a five-year term. The PNDS-Tarayya presidential political party is represented by 75 seats (1), which makes it a parliamentary majority. As a result of the October 2017 reshuffle, and latest reconfigurations of April 2018, the government counts 43 members, with key strategic positions led by the PNDS militants or their allies. This includes Prime Minister Brigi Rafni, Defence Minister Kalla Moutari, Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum, Finance Minister Massaoudou Hassoumi, and Foreign Relations Minister Kalla Hankouraou (2, 3).
The current government does not contain a strong military component (4). However, throughout the history of Niger, the role of the military has been significant (4). Given the complexity of the political configuration, increasing instability in the Sahel region in correlation with the growing military expenditure (from 1.3% of GDP in 2011 to 2.7% in 2017) (5), it is clear that the executive branch exercises an influence on parliamentary votes. Furthermore, question 2 shows that lack of the technical expertise of the Defence and Security Committee undermines its capacity to control security and defence policy.

The National Assembly (NASS) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has oversight powers which are not clearly defined in law and are seldom exercised in practice. Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution, gives each house of the National Assembly the power to investigate anything to which it has the powers to make laws, the conduct of affairs of any person or MDA (Ministries, Departments, and Agencies) charged with the responsibility for executing or administering laws enacted by the National Assembly (1). This function is executed primarily through its committees – special, standing or ad-hoc committees established by Section 62 of the 1999 Constitution. Through these committees, there is a mechanism to provide parliamentary scrutiny of national defence policy and implementation of the policy (2). The committees can make recommendations concerning national defence policy, review budgets and increase budget allocations to the defence sector. However, the committees appear to have only a general oversight functions to review or reject requests for general arms procurement. Examples of specific technical inputs into arms procurement such as expressing a preference about one weapons system or another is not within the scope of the National Assembly (3).

The committees are governed by standing orders from both houses of the National Assembly. The houses are empowered by Section 60 and 101 of the Constitution (2).

The NASS can review a policy when it is consulted and pass or veto legislation (1). However, the consultation process is intermittent and it depends on the status of the relationship between the National Assembly and the executive. Even though the president and the majority of the NASS are from the same political party, tensions and conflicts often arise. In response to a self-assessment and capacity needs assessment exercise participants from the NASS scored the NASS very poorly, concerning oversight functions (2). Participants noted that the NASS seemed to have considerable problems evaluating the implementation of laws; it is often not consistent or systematic, and it has insufficient resources such as research capacity and competent staff to ensure effective performance. The constitution does not clearly define the NASS’s oversight function over defence policy. The NASS is in conflict with the executive over its power to scrutinise budget proposals.

Additionally, the unusual structure of legislative committees in Nigeria is worth mentioning. There are separate committees for the air force, navy, and army, as well as the House and Senate committees on defence (3). This creates unnecessary overlap and confuses the separation of responsibilities. Additionally, the reservation of many aspects of defence policy within the executive for national security reasons prevents effective oversight on the most important questions and issues. The invocation of ‘national security’ to prevent National Assembly oversight of and discussion about military acquisitions and operational questions is a common occurrence. This renders effective oversight impossible.

The defence policy is shrouded by secrecy and is not consistently submitted for legislative scrutiny (1). By continuously failing to submit defence policy for public scrutiny the executive undermines parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy. The NASS’s oversight role has been compromised, and its resources are insufficient for it to act on time to hold the government to account. The executive undermines parliamentary scrutiny by not engaging in policy debate with the legislature (2).

Oman is a bicameral system overseen by the sultan who holds executive powers as the head of government and state, according to Article 41 of Oman’s Basic Law he is “inviolable” and must be respected and his orders obeyed (1). The parliament has no formal powers to approve or veto laws on security or defence policy. The council/parliament (made up of the Majlis al-Shura and the al-Dawla) of Oman acts as “an advisory body” meeting four times a year, it is responsible to the sultan and the Council of Ministers (2). The Majlis al-Shura is the consultative assembly of the lower house of the Council of Oman consisting of 84 elected members, who are elected every three years. The consultative assembly, the Majlis al-Dawla is the upper house of the Council of Oman, consisting of 83 members appointed by the sultan for four-year terms. Government drafted legislation can be referred within the two councils, which are tasked with the mission to contribute to national decision making and presented on the government’s website as independent (3), the al-Shura despite reforms lacks legislative powers (2). Its powers are curtailed to scrutinising ministers (4), reviewing government drafted legislation and selecting its leadership (5). The al-Shura Council does not have the power to draft laws or overturn decisions made by the government or the sultan. In Article 29 of Royal Decree 86/97, the responsibilities of the al-Shura Council are set out as participatory and suggestive to the sultan; the Council of Ministers and can be disregarded, they lack formal powers (6). Their mandate according to royal decree is limited to scrutiny on social, economic, and environmental policy. Since 2011, the al-Shura Council has been reviewing laws drafted by the Council of Ministers with the power to approve or amend them; they are then referred to the consultative assembly the Majlis al-Dawla. There is no oversight on defence or security issues by the al-Shura or al-Dawla. The mandate of the advisory legislative bodies does not include reviews of major arms procurements or defence decisions. The previous explanations have been confirmed by several sources in Oman. The Majlis has no oversight over defence or security in Oman (7), (8).

As established above the al-Shura Council, the elected house is limited to the scrutiny of ministers. In articles presenting debates held at the al-Shura the topics of finance, agriculture and education are mentioned for 22nd annual sitting (1) and tax, education, migration and health in the most recent, 24th, annual sitting (2). No reference is made to discussions regarding defence or security in the al-Shura Council neither on the website or across media outlets. On the al-Shura website, there is a reference to defence, presenting a news story of a visit from students of the National Defence School (part of the Ministry of Defence) to al-Shura Council in January 2018, where participants learnt about the role al-Shura plays in strengthening national security (3). No details are given about how al-Shura is involved in national security in the news item. Moreover, a report from Bertelsmann Stiftung in 2018 argues, “the large size of the state bureaucracy and its lack of technical skills limit the effectiveness of Oman’s administrative system” hinting at the limited capacities of the parliamentary bodies (4). Moreover, the report states the “Majlis al-Shura cannot address important issues such as national security, oil, foreign relations, or the structure of the political system” (4). According to our source, the al-Shura council as an advisory body has not debated reviewing any of the defence or security policies or budgets. The army and security files are beyond the authority of the council (5), (6).

Article 8 of Royal Decree 86/97 states, “ministries, Government departments, public authorities and institutions shall cooperate with the State Council and Majlis al-Shura to make their tasks easier and to furnish them with any necessary data or information related to the fields of their competences” (1). However, the fields of competences for al-Shura Council do not include defence and are limited to social, economic, and environmental policy. Therefore, although legislation recognises the link between transparency of authorities to parliament bodies, this does not extend to defence and military. It is not possible within this context to assess the independence of legislature scrutiny, as the legislature is not expected to scrutinise defence policy and no evidence reflects coercion or undermining legislature scrutiny, as this scrutiny is non-existent in the first place. According to our sources, the sultan as the executive and the head of the army undermines the independence and the work of the council to conduct oversight on defence and security policies and any other related issues (2), (3).

Palestinian law gives the Parliament the power to approve or reject laws, including security laws. The Parliament can also reject or amend the defence policy. It has the right to review and approve budgets, major security procurements and defence decisions (1), (2).

The Parliament is not active, and therefore legislative scrutiny does not occur. Parliament has been inactive since 2007 and was dissolved in 2018 (1). The executive has replaced the legislative power in the West Bank. There is one member in the Executive Committee of PLO who is responsible for military affairs, but he has no active power over the Palestinian forces. Since 2007, the Palestinian Parliament ceased holding its meetings due to Hamas’s de-facto take over of the Gaza Strip. This executive committee effectively has no power on security or defence policy (2).

The Palestinian Parliament was dissolved in 2018 and had been inactive since 2007 (1), as such no scrutiny takes place. As there is no active parliament in Palestine, the executive branch and the national security sector enjoy the absence of the legislative scrutiny over the national forces and security apparatuses (2).

In Qatar, the Advisory Council (Shura Council), established in 1972, is considered by the Qatari to be the legislative authority in the country. The Council consists of 45 members; 30 elected and 15 appointed by the Emir. The formal rights of the council, according to the Government’s Communications Office, include (1) discussing proposed laws and decrees referred by the council of ministers [but not to draft or to propose], (2) economic, administrative and political state policies, (3) all state affairs related to social and cultural issues, (4) debating general budgets for public projects, (5) the Council’s own budget and financial accounts, (6) following up on issues raised in the cabinet, (7) addressing questions to ministers, (8) requesting additional detail on matters concerning government and ministerial policy, and (9) proposing and putting forward recommendations on Council issues (1). This means that the Council’s responsibilities do not explicitly include scrutiny over defence policy, therefore it has no formal rights in defence policy. According to the constitution, the Government (or the executives), in theory, cannot pass any laws without the Council. However, the Emir has the final say on all political and policy matters (2). The Emir also has absolute power to dissolve the council, and is the chief commander of the armed forces, according to Article 65 of the constitution (4), which ensures that he has comprehensive power over defensive policy.  Furthermore, a role exists within the Government for a Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs, which has been held by Mohamed Al-Attiyah since January 2016.  However, Al-Attiya’s role in relation to defence appears to be nominal, as the Ministry of State for Defence Affairs does not even have an official website. The Advisory Council, which is the equivalent of the legislative council in Qatar, has no formal powers over defence laws or policy. According to our sources, the Shura Council has a superficial role and no scrutiny over any policy (5,6).

There is no evidence of the Council, which represents the legislative authority, debating or reviewing defence policy. The Advisory Council, however, has explicit power to debate matters related to other government issues, as explained in the previous sub-indicator. [1,2,3] These powers do not, however, extend to the military or defence. [4] According to our sources, the Council have never discussed any issues related to defence since its establishment in 2013. [5,6]

This indicator has been marked Not Applicable because the Advisory Council has no legislative power over the military and the defence sector and thus cannot act independently in matters related to defence.

The Emir has absolute power over the Executive Council, which by law can undermine any decision of the council and all other bodies. Article 62 of the Constitution states that ‘the Executive Authority shall be vested in the Emir and he shall be assisted by the Council of Ministers as specified in this Constitution’. [1] This sub-indicator has been marked as zero because the Advisory Council does not have any power to either influence defence laws and policy, or debate defence policy. Furthermore, the Head of State undermines the effectiveness of the Council, as he has the ability to overrule any decisions made. [2,3]

As there is no legislative body or a parliament in the KSA, there is no authorized council that has formal rights or power over defence policies, including the budget (1). The most comparable equivalent, the Majlis al-Shura (or Consultative Council), is a 150-member formal advisory body which is appointed by the King. The body’s powers are limited, and include discussing plans for the country’s economic and social development, studying laws, regulations and international treaties; making policy suggestions; and proposing draft laws (2).

The Majlis al-Shura has no legislative or executive power and is limited to a consulting role (3). Control over defence policy is concentrated in the hands of the country’s de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, who became Minister of Defence in January 2015 and Crown Prince in June 2017 (4), (5). He effectively has the power to craft security policies and make all budgetary and arms procurement decisions (6), (7).

Our sources confirm that the Shura Council does not review any defence policies, budgets, operations, reports or legislation (1). Reviewing defence policy is not within the stated mandate of the Majlis al-Shura nor its Committee on Security Affairs (2). The body has a primarily consultative role and does not exercise either formal or informal influence over policy.

The executive (King and Crown Prince) have executive and legislative powers, and authorities concentrated in their hands (1). Therefore, they undermine the semi-legislative/consultative council and its development (1), (2). The Majlis does not have authority to scrutinize or debate defence policy, which is solely the domain of the central government and more specifically the Crown Prince and minister of defence along with the relevant bodies that he heads (e.g. the Council on Political and Security Affairs).

The Parliament has formal powers to approve or veto laws on security. The Constitution provides that the structure of the army is organised in accordance with the law (1). Laws relating to organisation of the national army are deemed organic laws (2). Like other ministries, the budget of the Ministry of Defence is approved by the Assembly of People’s Representatives (ARP) (3). The Rules of Procedure of the Assembly of People’s Representatives established two parliamentary committees responsible for the scrutiny of the defence and security sector. A legislative committee was established in order to scrutinise bills related to the armed forces (4) and a special committee has to follow all issues related to defence and security. This special committee handles all files and issues related to security and defence, monitor the government’s implementation of security and defence strategies and hold dialogue and accountability sessions with those involved in these fields (5).

The Parliament debates and reviews defence policy and attempts to influence policy through formal mechanisms. First, the Parliament includes two dedicated defence and security committees: 1. A permanent committee for the organisation of the administration and armed forces affairs; 2. A special committee for security and defence. According to the ARP website, this committee held six hearings, six meetings and two field visits during 2018 (1). The review of the minutes of the meetings of the special committee for security and defence shows that the Security and Defence Committee held a session on Monday, February 12, 2018, to discuss the security situation in the country, the Ministry’s strategy and the readiness of the military establishment to achieve public security and the subject of national service (2). Then, in a session held on Monday, February 5, 2018, the Committee discussed the necessity of asking the ministries for reports about their general policies and the status of budget execution (procurement of equipments and arms, training programs, recuitment) (3).

While the existence of two dedicated defence committees in parliament is a significant asset, providing, in theory, independent scrutiny, there still appears to be a tendency for the over-classification of information on security grounds, meaning that the committees do not have access to it and the effectiveness of these oversight mechanisms is therefore limited. In fact, it seems that the submission of armed forces to civilian control is not unanimous. Members of committees lack experience regarding defence and security issues. There are some limits to the oversight powers of the ARP as it can not “sanction” the minister who does not show up at the meeting or if he does not give a convincing answer (4).
The analysis of the available reports of the security and defence committee shows that this committee does not yet review the procurement of equipments and arms (1).

This indicator has not been assigned a score due to insufficient information or evidence.

According to our sources, there is a kind of passive influence of the executive of the Parliament on several issues including military. Although there is no clear evidence, our sources confirm that there is a possibility that both executive and military could influence the Parliament scrutiny on defence and security issues (1,2).

The UAE advisory council, known as The Federal National Council (FNC) has no formal powers over defence laws or policy. According to the UAE constitution, the FNC is a consultative council, representing the semi-parliamentary body of the UAE. Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi is the current Chairperson and the Speaker of the Federal National Council, and the FNC currently consists of 40 members, following the FNC election in 2015 (1). The candidate has to be approved by the electoral organization. According to the country’s constitution, FNC members represent the entire population of the UAE, and the FNC is considered the fourth of the five federal authorities. The FNC’s role is as an advisory council to the government; however, the government is not required to accept any of the FNC’s proposals. The FNC’s responsibilities include: amending or rejecting federal draft laws including financial bills, examining the Annual General Budget draft law and the draft law of the final accounts, discussing international treaties and agreements, and discussing general issues pertaining to the affairs of the Federation and offering recommendations. The FNC’s addresses to the government are considered ‘observations and wishes’, but these do not have any legal effect. The FNC can discuss government bills drafted by the Council of Ministers; it can agree with, amend, or reject such bills, but it cannot veto them (2). The FNC has a Committee for Internal Affairs and Defence that is in charge of discussing draft laws and general topics related to security and defence, but there is no evidence available on the official website of the government, nor on other media outlets showing that this committee has power over the defence and security. Therefore, the FNC has no formal powers over defence laws or policy. The Supreme Council of National Security is responsible for the national security of the country and ensuring its safety from all threats that compromise national security and pose economic, social, cultural or environmental hazards (3), (4), (5).

The FNC does not have direct power over defence and security, because this power lies with the Supreme Council of National Security. However, at the end of 2018, the FNC reviewed activity reports of the Constitutional, Legislative and Appeals Committee and the Defence, Interior and Foreign Affairs Committee, and presented them to the UAE Cabinet (1). These reports are submitted by the FNC committees. However, there is no oversight or debate over any of the defence policies (2), (3).

This indicator is marked Not Applicable. As no policies or sections in the constitution gives the FNC the power to oversee defence or security policies, both the military and the executive do not need to undermine any scrutiny conducted by the FNC on defence policy, as it does not exist in the first place (1), (2).

Country Sort by Country 1a. Formal rights Sort By Subindicator 1b. Effectiveness Sort By Subindicator 1c. Independent legislature scrutiny Sort By Subindicator
Algeria 50 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Angola 50 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Burkina Faso 50 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Cameroon 50 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Cote d'Ivoire 25 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Egypt 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Ghana 50 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Iraq 50 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Jordan 25 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Kuwait 25 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100
Lebanon 25 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100
Mali 50 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Morocco 0 / 100 0 / 100 NA
Niger 50 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Nigeria 50 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Oman 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Palestine 100 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Qatar 0 / 100 0 / 100 NA
Saudi Arabia 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Tunisia 50 / 100 50 / 100 NEI
United Arab Emirates 0 / 100 0 / 100 NA

With thanks for support from the UK Department for International Development and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs who have contributed to the Government Defence Integrity Index.

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