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For Immediate Release
November 19, 2003

Global Message

From the Department of Defense

The Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council have agreed to a process to restore Iraq's sovereignty and to adopt a permanent constitution.

The Governing Council-CPA agreement establishes a Fundamental Law, to be drafted by the Council in consultation with the CPA. It will formally set the scope and structure of the sovereign Iraqi transitional administration.

Elements of the "Fundamental Law":

The Council and the CPA agreed to construct a bill of rights that will include freedom of speech and religion; equal rights for all Iraqis regardless of gender, sect, and ethnicity; and guarantees of due process.

They agreed to create a statement of the independence of the judiciary, and a mechanism for judicial review; a statement of civilian political control over Iraqi armed and security forces; that the Fundamental Law cannot be amended.

The Fundamental Law's drafting and approval is to be complete by February 28.

The CPA and the Iraqi Governing Council are scheduled to reach an agreement on Iraq's security by the end of March. It is to determine the status of Coalition forces in Iraq -- allowing wide latitude for it to provide for the safety and security of the Iraqi people.

Fundamental Law will specify the bodies of the national structure and will make clear which individuals will be selected for these bodies.

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