…continued from part three.
SECTION IV: NATIONS OF THE EMPIRE
Article I: On Sovereignty
This Charter guarantees the local sovereignty of nations of the Empire underneath the overall sovereignty of the Empire. No interference with local law or custom is contemplated, except where such local law or custom is in conflict with Imperial law (This is, in essence, a supremacy clause, because all constituent nation law in conflict with Imperial law is overridden. Presumptively, all constituent nation laws in areas not reserved to the Empire are valid and will be recognized and respected by the Empire. –ed.). Each nation of the Empire shall be free to determine its internal form of governance as it chooses, consistent with the guarantees, protections, and requirements of this Charter.
The nations of the Empire are sovereign and equal beneath the Empire; no preference shall be given by the Empire to any, or the citizens of any, above and beyond that accorded all, or the citizens of all. No nation of the Empire shall be divided, united, or altered in territory or constituency by the governance of the Empire without the permission of the governance of all nations of the Empire involved.
The Empire reserves to itself the power to create as it sees fit governmental demesnes superior to the constituent nations but subordinate to the Empire. This shall include the power to abolish such demesnes as the Empire sees fit, but no constituent nation may be thus abolished; nor shall any constituent nation be reduced in jurisdiction without the consent of its governance.
Article II: Full Faith and Credit
Full faith and credit shall be given in each nation of the Empire to the Acts, decrees, edicts, writs, records and judicial proceedings of every other nation of the Empire; and the Curia shall, when necessary, act to mediate the means in which and by which such credit shall be given.
Article III: Charter
Each constituent nation of the Empire shall maintain a Charter, in which shall be set out its domain, citizenship, structure, and form of government, and which shall be agreed with the Empire at the time of its admission to the Empire; and such Charter shall be binding upon both the nation and the Empire, and shall not be modified without the consent of both the nation’s governance and the Senate.
Article IV: Dispute Resolution
The government of the Empire shall provide appropriate means for the negotiation and resolution of such disputes, other than matters at law, as may occur between the nations of the Empire; and the Senate shall act as the final arbitrator of any such disputes, and its decision shall be final. In matters at law, such disputes shall be within the jurisdiction of the Curia.
Article V: External Relations
No nation of the Empire shall of its own authority enter into any treaty, alliance, compact, agreement or other relationship with a nation outside the Empire; nor shall any nation of the Empire of its own authority engage in war with any foreign power, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.
No nation of the Empire shall of its own authority (It has been established, however, that with the consent of the Senate local member nations can appoint non-diplomatic representatives for such purposes as participating in postal unions, local trade organizations, and other sub-Imperial functions. — ed.) appoint ambassadors or other diplomatic officers accredited to any nation outside the Empire, nor to any organization of nations including any nation outside the Empire.
Article VI: Legal Priority
The law of each nation of the Empire shall be binding upon all inferior demesnes of government contained therein; and each nation of the Empire shall be bound by the law of all superior demesnes of government which contain it, and may not make law in contradiction to it.
Article VII: On Trade
The Empire shall support free trade among its constituent nations. No nation of the Empire shall engage in piracy or smuggling (A couple of notes here: in this case, the Charter is talking about constituent nations engaging in piracy or smuggling against each other, or the general Imperial trade; not against third parties, although piracy is universally illegal. But one should also note that the word translated here as smuggling refers, in the original Eldraeic, to the import or export of mala in se contraband, not evading customs duties and excises… although, of course, any relation between this linguistic quirk and the truly remarkable number of “blockade runner” starships in the hands of civilians hanging out at seedy free trader bars is purely coincidental. As is the regularity with which complaints on this topic come up at the Conclave of Galactic Polities whenever it has nothing better to do. –ed.), nor allow its territory to be used for piracy or smuggling, nor shall it issue letters of marque and reprisal (And here it’s worth noting that constituent nations shall not issue letters of marque. The Empire as a whole may issue all the letters of marque it pleases. And does. — ed.), or other permission for ships operating within its territory to engage in piracy or smuggling.
No tax or duty shall be laid on articles given or received in trade between the constituent nations of the Empire; nor any special excise laid on the products of any constituent nation. No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one nation of the Empire over those of another; nor shall vessels bound to, or from, one nation, be obliged to enter, clear or pay duties in another (In the modern day, however, starships entering Imperial territory may be required to clear at the port of entry; since such ports of entry are federal Imperial territory, however, rather than territory of any constituent nation, this does not constitute a violation of this clause. — ed.).
Article VIII: On Standards
The Empire shall establish uniform standards for weights and measures, for the calendar, and for such other areas as it may be necessary, by which standards all Imperial business shall be conducted, and by which trade between its constituent nations shall and must be able to be conducted.
Article IX: Admission and Annexation
Any nation may, through a duly recognized representative, proclaim allegiance to the Empire, and with the approval of the Senate, such nation shall become a constituent nation of the Empire, equal in status to all other nations of the Empire. Such nations shall govern themselves as they see proper, provided that such government does not violate the law of the Empire.
When the Empire shall come into possession, through lawful conquest, of the territory and citizenry of another polity, it shall at first be held under military rule respecting the Fundamental Rights, until such time as the Empire shall see fit to release it or dispose of it to an ally, or until such time as it attains stable self-government under the Empire, at which time it shall and must be admitted to the Empire as a nation equal in status to all others.
Article X: Unincorporated Territory
Those areas of the territory of the Empire which are not under the jurisdiction of a constituent nation at the time of the founding of the Empire (Principally former “international waters”. — ed.), or which are declared to be Unincorporated Territory subsequent the establishment of the Empire, shall be designated as an Unincorporated Territory; and this Unincorporated Territory shall be governed by a Viceroy appointed by the Imperial Couple, with the concurrence of the Senate.
Imperial citizen-shareholders dwelling within any Unincorporated Territory shall have the right to decide, by plebiscite, to become a self-governing nation within the Empire (Readers will note that there is absolutely no lower bound on size listed here. — ed.), either singly or in combination with other Unincorporated Territories, or to unite, with the concurrence of its governance, with an existing constituent nation of the Empire.
…continued in part five, when we start getting into the practicalities of government organization for a few sections.