War Resisters' International Constitution and Rules
— as agreed at the WRI meeting in Bogota, Colombia, 2019
1. The basis of the War Resisters' International is the following Declaration (hereinafter termed the Declaration) adopted at the first International Conference at Bilthoven, 1921:
"War is a crime against humanity. I therefore am determined not to support any kind of war and to strive for the removal of all causes of war".
a. Organisations may apply for affiliation either as a Section or as an Associate Organisation. Such applications will be decided by Council, subject to confirmation by the next international Conference, according to criteria such as the signing of the Declaration and making a commitment to the International.
b. An organisation that signs the Declaration may be accepted by Council as a Section.
c. An organisation or publication whose objectives are consistent with the Declaration may be accepted by Council as an Associate Organisation.
d. All members of Sections shall be Individual Members of the International. In addition, any person who is not a member of any Section may be accepted by the Executive Committee as an Individual Member of the International on signing the Declaration.
e. The Council shall have the power to disaffiliate any Section or Associate Organisation on stating its reasons. Any Section or Associate Organisation so disaffiliated shall have the right of appeal to the Conference. The Executive Committee shall have the power to disaffiliate any Individual Member on stating its reasons. Any Individual Member so disaffiliated shall have the right of appeal to the Council.
a. The Conference shall be held within four years of the previous Conference, on dates determined by the Council.
b. All representatives of Sections and Associate Organisations have the right to attend, speak and vote at the Conference. Individual Members who are not representatives may also attend and speak but shall not have a vote.
c. The Conference shall determine the main policy of the International.
d. The Chairperson shall be decided by consensus in an electronic consultation of the Sections and Associate Organisations, in advance of the Conference and in accordance with the Rules.
Not more than twelve members of the Council and – if no consensus can be reached – the Chairperson shall be elected at the Conference in accordance with the Rules. They shall serve until the next Conference.
e. The Conference shall try to make decisions by consensus. If no consensus can be reached within the time agreed, a vote will be held in which each Section with more than 1000 members has three votes, each other Section two votes and each Associate Organisation one collective vote (except in case of motions to amend the Constitution).
f. A Special Conference shall be convened at the request of one fifth of the member organisations.
a. The Council shall meet at least once every two years, if not annually. In those years when there is no Council meeting, additional efforts should be made to have other consultations with Council and to hold regional meetings.
b. The following persons shall be members of the Council: the Chairperson, the Treasurer and the other members of the Executive Committee of the International ex officio; not more than twelve persons elected by the Conference; and one representative of each Section appointed by that Section.
One member of each Associate Organisation shall have the right to attend and speak, as a non-voting observer, at Council meetings.
A Section representative serving on the Executive Committee who ceases to be Section representative may be co-opted to Council.
c. Council shall be responsible for carrying out the decisions of the Conference and shall act in the name of the International between Conferences.
d. The Treasurer shall be appointed by the Council for the same term as the other members of the Executive Committee. The Council shall elect from its members not more than four other members of the Executive Committee and not more than three Vice-Chairpersons, having regard to the desirability of representing different world regions through these appointments. Every Council member is required to sign the Declaration.
e. The Council shall try to make decisions by consensus. If no consensus can be reached, then a vote will be held in which all members shall have one vote. In such cases, decisions may only be taken with a majority of the votes. In between meetings the Council has the right to take decisions by postal ballot or electronic consultation.
5. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
There shall be an Executive Committee composed of the Chairperson, the Treasurer, and not more than four other Council members, elected by the Council.
Members of the Council not elected to the Executive Committee shall have the right to attend and speak at meetings of the Executive Committee.
It shall be responsible for carrying out the decisions of the Council and for general administration and finance. In between Council meetings, the Executive Committee may interpret the existing policy of the International. The Executive Committee is also empowered to act for the International with respect to formal legal matters. The Executive Committee shall try to make decisions by consensus. If no consensus can be reached, the procedure for decisions shall be determined by the Rules.
a. The Executive Committee shall be empowered to appoint and pay staff for the WRI office who must sign the Declaration. The Executive Committee shall have the power to terminate such appointments.
b. The role of the WRI office shall be to carry out tasks of coordination and develop programmes as decided by the Council.
Sections, Associate Organisations and Individual Members accepted by the Executive Committee shall pay an annual affiliation fee based upon their membership and income in accordance with such guidelines as may be set out in the Rules.
8. AMENDMENTS TO CONSTITUTION
This Constitution may be amended by a vote of the Sections either at a Conference or by postal ballot. Amendments may be proposed by the Council, a Section or any five Individual Members. A proposed amendment shall require two-thirds of the votes cast at the conference or in a postal ballot. The procedure for ballots on proposed amendments shall be determined by the Rules, provided that there shall be an interval of not less than six months between the first formal notification of the wording of a proposed amendment and the first day of the relevant Conference, or the closure of the ballot, as the case may be.
The Council shall have the power to make rules to implement the Constitution, provided that such Rules, and any subsequent amendments of such Rules, shall be approved by not less than two-thirds of the Council members present. The Rules, together with amendments to the Rules, shall have the same force as the Constitution and shall have immediate effect, but shall be subject to confirmation by not less than two-thirds of the votes cast on a motion or motions for that purpose at the next Conference.
— as amended by Council on 22.01.2010
(a) The preliminary agenda of a Conference shall be circulated to all Sections, Associate Organisations and Individual Members not later than two months before the Conference.
Decisions of a Conference shall be minuted and sent to all Sections, Associate Organisations as well as elected and appointed Council Members. The Council shall act in accordance with these decisions.
(b) Where there is no consensus on a proposal to the Conference, a vote will be held on the basis of one voting card for each vote allocated in Article 3. No individual may hold voting cards on behalf of more than one organisation.
(c) Candidates for Chairperson and for Members to the Council individually elected by the Conference may be nominated by a Section, an Associate Organisation or any five Individual Members. Nominations for Chairperson must be received by the WRI office not later than six months, for Council Members not later than four months before the first day of the Conference.
All nominations of candidates must be in writing. The written consent of candidates must be obtained by the nominators or the WRI office. Announcements of nominations shall include the names of the nominators.
The WRI office shall send the nominations for Chairperson and the invitation for an electronic consultation to the Sections and Associate Organisations promptly after the deadline. The consultation shall be finished not later than four months before the first day of the Conference.
The WRI office shall send the report of the consultation and one ballot paper for each vote allocated in Article 3 for the election of Council Members and – if necessary – Chairperson to the Sections and Associate Organisations not later than two months before the first day of the Conference. Ballot papers must be returned either to the WRI office not later than one week before the first day of the Conference or during the Conference. The Chairperson and the individually elected Council Members shall assume office after the election.
The exact details of the voting system, as decided or amended by Council from time to time, shall be attached as an addendum to the Rules.
(d) The International Assembly shall meet in person, unless Council decides that special circumstances (financial, organisational, or other) make it unfeasible to hold an in-person meeting. In this case, an electronic meeting of the International Assembly will be held instead. Detailed information on the technological means to be used and the precise procedures for participation and voting will be circulated for review to all WRI affiliates and individual members two months before the meeting. Changes to such means and procedures should be announced no later than two weeks before the opening of the International Assembly.
(a) Any Section or Associate Organisation may place an item on the Agenda of the Council. Agendas and Minutes of the Executive Committee shall be circulated to all Council Members, Sections, and Associated Organisations.
(b) Council Members should attend Council meetings or consultations and speak with and about WRI.
3. Executive Committee
(a) Agendas and Minutes of the Executive Committee shall be circulated to all Council Members.
(b) The Executive Committee shall establish its own procedure within the framework of the Constitution and Rules.
If necessary, decisions may be taken in meetings or electronic consultations by two thirds of all members.
(c) The Executive Committee shall meet at least two times in a year in person.
4. 4. Decision-making
The International has a commitment to try to make decisions, at International Assembly, Council, or Executive Committee, by consensus rather than formal majority voting. The provisions in the Constitution for such voting are therefore to be treated as a last resort to resolve a serious impasse rather than the norm.
In making appointments to the staff, the Executive Committee shall endeavour to maintain a Secretariat which is both multinational and multilingual, and balanced with regard to gender.
(a) Sections and Associate Organisations shall pay an annual affiliation fee according to their means.
(b) Non-payment of affiliation fees by a Section or Associate Organisation during two successive years may be construed by the Council as a ground for disaffiliation.
(c) The Annual Financial Statement and Balance Sheet shall be submitted by the Treasurer for the approval of the Council.
(d) Sections and Associate Organisations shall be responsible for the travelling expenses of their representatives attending meetings. Payment of travelling expenses of Council Members individually elected by the Conference and of Executive Committee Members shall be decided by the Executive Committee.
7. Constitutional Amendments
Any formal proposal for amendment of the Constitution received by the WRI office shall be placed on the agenda of the next relevant Conference unless either the Executive Committee or the Council determine that it shall be put to a postal ballot.
The WRI office shall circulate the proposal and – if necessary – an argument for its adoption by the proposers to the Sections not later than four months before the first day of the Conference or together with one ballot paper for each vote allocated in Article 3 to the Sections not later than four months before the closure of the ballot.
8. Language and interpretation
The Constitution and Rules shall be published in the English, French, German and Spanish languages, provided that in the event of dispute as to interpretation the English text shall prevail.