Article 1 The following shall be declared as constitutional principles shared by all Member States: a) • Separation of powers - the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary. • Empowerment and strengthening of parliaments and guarantee of parliamentary immunity. • Independence of the Judiciary: Judges shall be independent in the discharge of their duties. • The freedom of the members of the Bar shall be guaranteed; without prejudice to their penal or disciplinary responsibility in the event of contempt of court or breaches of the common law. b) Every accession to power must be made through free, fair and transparent elections. c) Zero tolerance for power obtained or maintained by unconstitutional means. d) Popular participation in decision-making, strict adherence to democratic principles and decentralization of power at all levels of governance. e) The armed forces must be apolitical and must be under the command of a legally constituted political authority; no serving member of the armed forces may seek to run for elective political. f) Secularism and neutrality of the State in all matters relating to religion; freedom for each individual to practise, within the limits of existing laws, the religion of his/her choice everywhere on the national territory. The secularism shall extend to all parts of the State, but shall not deprive the State of the right to regulate, with due respect to human rights, the different religions practiced on the national territory or to intervene when law and order break down as a result of any religious activity. g) The State and all its institutions belong to all the citizens; therefore none of their decisions and actions shall involve any form of discrimination, be it on an ethnic, racial, religion or regional basis. h) The rights set out in the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other international instruments shall be guaranteed in each of the ECOWAS Member States; each individual or organization shall be free to have recourse to the common or civil law courts, a court of special jurisdiction, or any other national institution established within the framework of an international instrument on Human Rights, to ensure the protection of his/her rights. In the absence of a court of special jurisdiction, the present Supplementary Protocol shall be regarded as giving the necessary powers to common or civil law judicial bodies. i) Political parties shall be formed and shall have the right to carry out their activities freely, within the limits of the law. Their formation and activities shall not be based on ethnic, religious, regional or racial considerations. They shall participate freely and without hindrance or discrimination in any electoral process. The freedom of the opposition shall be guaranteed. Each Member State may adopt a system for financing political parties, in accordance with criteria set under the law. j) The freedom of association and the right to meet and organize peaceful demonstrations shall also be guaranteed. k) The freedom of the press shall be guaranteed. l) All former Heads of State shall enjoy a special status including freedom of movement. They shall enjoy special benefits compatible to their status as former Heads of State.

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