Preparatory Commissions and the Development of Provisional World Law

Preparatory Commissions under the Earth Constitution and the development of Provisional World Law

 WCPA Secretary General Eugenia Almand

 (Draft for a longer article on this theme, 2 March 2023)

Recently, assertions have circulated that there were never formed preparatory commissions under the Earth Constitution Article 19.1 and 19.2. However, the quality body of Provisional World Law that we possess today was largely the work of these commissions. This article is to help dispel this misunderstanding, and to draw a connection between the work of Article 19 commissions and the accomplishments of the Provisional World Parliament.

Nota Bene: This article is not intended for de-emphasizing the need for the preparatory commissions to operate in a stronger and more formal manner. Nor is this explanation to question the urgency of re-compliance with Earth Constitution Article 19.4., regarding the formation and functioning of the World Executive. We should all endeavor to meet and maintain this compliance as soon as feasible.

Article 19.1.2. of the Earth Constitution lists preparatory commissions to do work of drafting and presenting legislative proposals to the Provisional World Parliament. Article 19.2. of the Earth Constitution defines the work of the listed preparatory commissions. Article 19.2.10. of the Earth Constitution requires these preparatory commissions to prepare provisional world legislation and session actions for presentation to the Provisional World Parliament.

Article 19.2.10: The several commissions on particular world problems shall work on the preparation of proposed world legislation and action on each problem, to present to the Provisional World Parliament when it convenes.

Although the WCPA and the Provisional World Parliament rules require that preparatory commission voting members ratify the Earth Constitution (“ratify” meaning that ratifiers agree to be subject to provisional world district courts as these begin to function), there is no constitutional requirement that preparatory commission members be member delegates of the Provisional World Parliament or World Constituent Assemblies. 

Apart from ratification of the Earth Constitution, there have been no solemn undertakings in association with preparatory commission membership, nor have there been any constitutional requirements for solemn undertakings for these. Recognition of these procedural facts is not disparagement of the essential work that the preparatory commissions have historically engaged in. The PWP has the authority to created additional commissions, as in did with World Legislative Act #8: the World Commission on Terrorism, introduced by Dr. Terence Amerasinghe of Sri Lanka.

The Earth Constitution, the Provisional World Parliament (PWP) and the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA) have placed no term of office restrictions of any kind for membership as preparatory commission members. Membership has not ordinarily been by electoral process, but rather by statement of interest and intent on the registration and certification forms for participation in the Provisional World Parliament. Preparatory commission membership is not a sinecure, and there are no special bells or whistles that go off when commission members do their work. Generally, there has been no special honors bestowed upon members of the preparatory commissions.

Over the approximately 46 years and more since the preparatory commissions have been functioning, the commissions have been doing their work without fanfare, without accolades. 

There have been occasional preparatory commissions for the Earth Constitution since the founding of the World Constitution and Parliament Association in 1958. However, this essay is addressing only the preparatory commissions specified or allowed by Earth Constitution Article 19.1.2. These Article 19 commissions began their operation in earnest at the third session of the World Constituent Assembly, meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in December of 1978 and January of 1979. Since that time, commissions have operated largely informally, yet these have been in operation nonetheless. Otherwise, there would be no body of world legislative proposals from which the Provisional World Parliament might deliberate for adoption of its programs.

From these preparatory commissions emerged the legislative proposals for the first session of the Provisional World Parliament meeting in Brighton, England in 1982.

The first proposal came from the World Problems Commission. Commissioner John Stockwell was the primary author, and Commissioner Sally Curry, Provisional World Parliament Member introduced a resolution on the Rights of Animals. (This resolution was adopted by the Parliament.)

All 72 enumerated world legislative acts and the session resolutions went through substantial development within the preparatory commissions. Most of the world legislation has gone through occasional revision by the preparatory commissions. And all were reviewed, before moving to the Parliament as a bill, by the Commission for Legislative Review.

In many cases, world legislative proposals of the preparatory commissions first went through substantial development through international conventions or through international legal firms before deliberation by the commissions. This was especially the case for world legislative acts WLA 15 (Human Rights Bench), WLA 20 (Criminal Bench), WLA 23 (Accounting & Auditing), WLA 24 (Procedure & Evidence), WLA 27 (Child Rights), WLA 28 (Juvenile Bench), WLA 34 (Dismantling Procedure), WLA 37 (World Federal Immunities), and WLA 49 (Shipbreaking Code).

In other cases, there was substantial development of proposal rules by state legislative councils: WLA 17 (Rules of form and style for legislative drafting) and WLA 19 (Penal Code). Finally, some world legislative proposals came to the preparatory commissions via track three diplomacy deliberative assemblies: WLA 29 (Elections Act), WLA 30 (Water Rights), WLA 33 (Fissile Production Ban), and WLA 38 (Public Utilities).

To illustrate the importance of this preliminary sourcing, we note that, for instance, nearly the entirety of the 40-page text (maybe 95% or more) of the Criminal Bench was drafted first by a team of international judges and lawyers headed by A. Koroma, D. Thiam, J. Crawford, et al., of the International Law Commission–A. Koroma being the Chief Justice of the International Court of Justice and the primary author of the widely-adopted Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court.

The Criminal Bench differs from the original Rome Statute almost only in the provisions that convert the statute from non-binding convention law format into binding parliamentary law format–somewhat less than 5% of the overall text. However, this 5% addresses ALL of the objections made by peoples and states not party to the Rome Statute. Between January of 2001 and April of 2006, these small adaptations from international convention law by the world disarmament preparatory commission added essential practical character to the statutes 15 (Human Rights Bench), 20 (Criminal Case Bench), 24 (Procedure and Evidence), 28 (Juvenile Bench) and 37 (Immunities and Privileges), while conserving the comprehensive legal framework of the originals.

It should be clear that the development of Provisional World Law by the Provisional World Parliament has been directly and substantially connected with the activities of the several Commissions specified by Article 19 of the Earth Constitution. Many highly qualified and diverse persons from countries around the world have contributed to the outstanding body of Provisional World Law that exists today.