Last week we celebrated His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s 13th anniversary of assumption to power, and although there are many things to be grateful and proud of about being a Kuwaiti, our Amir is whom we are proudest of the most. We are blessed as Kuwaitis and citizens of Kuwait to have an Amir who is wise, kind and loving to his people. His love also extends to the world, as he has been honored as the Humanitarian Leader of the world by the United Nations, a title that has only been awarded to him.
Although the importance of his work cannot be defined, and what he gives back to the people of Kuwait is priceless, I decided today to write about the legal roles of an Amir of Kuwait under the Kuwaiti constitution. What does the Kuwaiti constitution say about the position of the Amir of Kuwait? As a lawyer, I love reading the Kuwaiti constitution, and I always say that the Kuwaiti constitution is very progressive for a constitution that was issued in 1962 and compared to the constitutions of neighboring countries.
My opinion is that the constitution is progressive not only because of all the freedoms and rights it grants its citizens, but also the balance between the powers of the state including the Amir, judiciary, governmental cabinets and the National Assembly (legislative power).
Here are a few articles in the Kuwaiti constitution that mention the important role of the Amir of Kuwait.
Article 51 [Legislative Power]
The legislative power is vested in the Amir and the National Assembly in accordance with the Constitution.
Article 56 [Prime Minister]
(1) The Amir, after the traditional consultations, appoints the Prime Minister and relieves him of office. The Amir also appoints ministers and relieves them of office upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
Article 60 [Oath of the Amir’s office]
Before assuming his powers, the Amir takes the following oath at a special sitting of the National Assembly: “I swear by Almighty God to respect the constitution and the laws of the state, to defend the liberties, interests and properties of the people, and to safeguard the independence and territorial integrity of the country.”
Article 67 [Chief-of-Command]
The Amir is the Supreme Commander of the armed forces. He appoints and dismisses officers in accordance with the law.
Article 75 [Pardon, Amnesty]
(1) The Amir may, by decree, grant a pardon or commute a sentence.
(2) However, general amnesty shall not be granted except by a law and then only in respect of offenses committed prior to the proposal of the amnesty.
Article 79 [Exclusive Legislation]
No law may be promulgated unless it has been passed by the National Assembly and sanctioned by the Amir.
Very grateful for His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, the peace we live in and the amazing society and community that we all have access to.
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By Attorney Fajer Ahmed