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Constitution of the Republic of Gabon (as last amended by the Law No. 13/2003 of August 19, 2003)

Year of current version:2003
Date of entry into force of original text:March 26, 1991
Date of Text (Adopted):March 26, 1991
Type of Text:Constitution / Basic Law
Subject Matter:Other
The Constitution is the supreme law of Gabon. It was adopted on March 15, 1991 and promulgated by Law No. 3-91 of March 26, 1991. The Constitution established a transparent electoral process, formalized multi-party systems and reorganized the governmental institutions. Since 1991, it has been amended five times by the following Laws: Law No. 1/94 of March 18, 1994; Law No. 18/95 of September 29, 1995; Law No. 1/97 of April 22, 1997; Law No. 14/2000 of October 11, 2000 and Law No. 13/2003 of August 19, 2003. These laws modified or characterized the President's prerogatives.

Gabon is a bicameral parliamentary democracy. The Constitution specifies the powers and duties of the three branches of the Government. The legislative, executive and judicial powers are independent from each other. The President of the Republic and the Prime Minister both exercised the executive powers. The legislative powers are attributed to the Parliament, which is composed of the National Assembly and the Senate. The judicial powers are attributed to various courts that will render decisions in the name of the Gabonese people. These courts are the Constitutional Court, Court of Cassation, State Council, Court of Accounts, Court of Appeals, High Court of Justice, tribunals of first instance and Special Courts.

The legal system of Gabon belongs to a mix legal system which includes both civil law and customary law. According to this system, a set of laws and regulations are codified into codes and customary law plays a significant role in family law and law of succession. Until 1976, there were indigenous tribunals in Gabon but they now have been replaced with State courts. Despite their abolition, there are still traditional judges and neighborhood leaders that can act as arbitrators for any conflict that arises and that is presented to them. Their powers are regulated by the Decree No. 0058/ML-SG-DPRH of March 20, 1996 and the Decree No. 0031/ML of July 21, 1998. Those customary practices are usually analyzed on a case by case basis. Customary law does not regulate the intellectual property.

The Constitution does not contain provisions on intellectual property. However, Article 1§10 protects private property and it stipulates that: “Any person, either alone or as a community, is entitled to property. No one can be deprived of its property, except if it is for a public utility, in cases established by the law and through a just and prior indemnity [...] “.
Available Texts: 

Constitution de la République Gabonaise (modifiée en dernier lieu par la loi n° 13/2003 du 19 août 2003) Constitution de la République Gabonaise (modifiée en dernier lieu par la loi n° 13/2003 du 19 août 2003), Complete document (pdf) [448 KB] Constitution de la République Gabonaise (modifiée en dernier lieu par la loi n° 13/2003 du 19 août 2003), Complete document (htm) [0 KB] (Version with Automatic Translation Tool)

Related Legislation:
WIPO Lex No.:GA002



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