Senegalese opposition MPs on Wednesday March 3, 2021 seized the Constitutional Council with an appeal for annulment against the lifting of parliamentary immunity of MP Ousmane Sonko. An appeal that has suspensive power until the Constitutional Council delivers its opinion.
The deputies of the parliamentary opposition lodged, on Wednesday, with the Constitutional Council, an appeal for annulment against certain legislative provisions contained in the draft resolution proposed by the Law Committee, on February 15, 2021, and the draft resolution adopted by the National Assembly on February 26.
This is the first time since Senegal’s accession to international sovereignty, according to these deputies, that a request for the lifting of parliamentary immunity has been made without the court file specifically targeting a member concerned. “This procedure against X constitutes in the eyes of a good part of specialists and of national opinion as a manifest violation of the rights of the National Assembly and of the fundamental rights of the deputies”, one can read in the document addressed to the highest court in the country.
These parliamentarians draw the attention of the Constitutional Council to “certain acts and provisions of legislative form as well as the voting conditions of the resolution” which are “contrary to the Constitution and the Organic Law establishing the internal regulations of the National Assembly”. They thus denounce “the violation of the procedures established by the organic law on the internal regulations of the National Assembly” by pointing out the formal defects in the irregular composition of the Ad Hoc Commission and the violation of respect for the rights of the defense.
For the constitutionalist and president of the Democratic Alliance / Pencoo, Moussa Tine, the receipt of this act by the registry of the Constitutional Council automatically suspends the summons of the examining magistrate until the decision of the Constitutional Council. “The judge of the 8th cabinet must immediately suspend the summons of the deputy until the decision of the elders. The law leaves no alternative, ”he said.
An opinion shared by the former president of the parliamentary majority group, Moustapha Diakhaté. He confirms that the appeal by opposition MPs suspends the lifting of the parliamentary immunity of Usmane Sonko. However, he underlines that the Constitutional Council is incompetent to overturn the resolution of the parliament. “The deputies who have lodged this appeal cannot ignore that the Constitutional Council is incompetent to quash part or all of a resolution of the National Assembly. They engage in political politics ”, he declared before adding:“ However, in a democratic state, submission to the law is an obligation imposed on everyone, including the judiciary ” .
This is why, he said, as soon as the 10th deputy of the National Assembly seized the Constitutional Council, the hearing procedure of the deputy concerned must be suspended. “Nevertheless in Senegalese law, appeals for annulment of acts of public powers are addressed to the Supreme Court and not to the Constitutional Council. The Constitutional Council is incompetent to pronounce on a resolution of the National Assembly ”, he underlined.
By virtue of the Organic Law on the Constitutional Council, he explains, the institution only looks at the constitutionality of legal texts. “The lifting of the immunity of a parliamentarian is not a law. It is a decision of the National Assembly “, he observes before concluding:” However, out of respect for the Constitutional Council, the summons of deputy Ousmane Sonko by the examining magistrate must be suspended pending the decision of the Council. constitutional. “