Tunisia - annual report 2017

Signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the Tunisian Ministry of Justice and the BMJV: Ghazi Jeribi, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Tunisia; Christian Lange, Parliamentary Secretary of State at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and vice-president of the board of trustees, IRZ (seated from left to right)
Signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the Tunisian Ministry of Justice and the BMJV: Ghazi Jeribi, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Tunisia; Christian Lange, Parliamentary Secretary of State at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and vice-president of the board of trustees, IRZ (seated from left to right)

Legal Policy Situation

Six years after the revolution, Tunisia has made substantial progress towards a democratic state, however, it has not yet found its political stability. Since the revolution, there have been seven new governments, each lasting for an average of about eight months. In early August 2016, Prime Minister Habib Essid lost a vote of no confidence in Parliament after just 18 months in government. It is also due to this situation that the country finds itself in a critical economic and political phase.

The new government therefore intends to follow three primary lines of action: security and enforcement of the rule of law, entrenchment of democracy and continuation of economic progress, as well as the implementation of the projects required to bring about these developments. The new government has announced that it plans to implement urgent reforms, stimulate economic growth, create new jobs and improve communication with its people. The fight against corruption and terrorism continues to be the top priority. If the economic crisis in the North African country is not overcome in the coming year, drastic austerity measures, higher taxes and staff cutbacks in the civil service are inevitable.

Despite the difficult political framework conditions, Tunisian authorities and Tunisian civil society continue to push forward on the legal policy and social reform process. Therefore, even with numerous changes of government, the general impression seems to be confirmed that the democratisation process is being worked on with great commitment and seriousness.

In the judicial field, elections for the High Judicial Council have meanwhile been held; now the focus is on developing it. Following three years of intensive and controversial discussions about the High Judicial Council’s establishment and field of operation, the Council regulates the position and the independence of the judiciary in the Tunisian state structure. After forming the Council pursuant to the new Constitution of 2014, the Constitutional Court was established, which creates additional security for the rule of law and for the liberties and rights of the people. After the law on the establishment of the Constitutional Court came into force, for which the German side provided intensive consultation, the Constitutional Court can now take up its work formally. Issues of key interest now primarily relate to the institution’s actual establishment. This includes specifically the procedural and business procedures in court, court administration and questions of financing. There is a great need for advice here.

The administrative court jurisdiction also continues to undergo intensive reform efforts with the aim of developing and adopting a Code of Administrative Court Procedure. This process is already in its final stage. The presentation of the respective draft legislation is expected for early 2018.

Overall Concept

Since 2011, the IRZ has been carrying out bilateral legal reform projects with Tunisian partners within the framework of its institutional funding. With the support of the Federal Foreign Office, the IRZ has been active in Tunisia since 2012 as part of the “Transformation partnerships” programme. Since then, the IRZ has established itself firmly as a recognised player in the field of international cooperation on the rule of law. In addition to the grants from the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, the work of the IRZ in Tunisia will continue to be supported also by project funding from the Federal Foreign Office. This is how the IRZ will be able to implement a follow-up project to promote judicial reform in Tunisia between 2017 and 2019.

The IRZ will continue to provide advice and knowledge as part of Tunisia’s stabilisation process and can look back on respective success already within the framework of this approach. For example, the IRZ played a major role in the development of a national dialogue process regarding the penitentiary system or in drafting the Tunisian Constitutional Court Act. In its work, the IRZ relies predominantly on a partnership-based, comparative law approach and close regular contact with all project partners in Tunisia.

Foci of Activity 2017

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Participation by the President of the Tunisian Cartel Office in the 18 International Cartel Conference in Berlin
  • Participation by the President of the Tunisian Bar in the third International Lawyers Forum in Berlin

Administration of Justice

  • Conference on the topic “Independence of the Judiciary” in Tunis (in collaboration with the High Judicial Council of Tunisia)

Constitutional Law

  • Participation by two designated Tunisian Constitutional Court judges in the regional conference in Amman/Jordan on the position of the Constitutional Court within the judiciary

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Conference in Tunis on the topic of “Reforming criminal law in Tunisia” (in collaboration with the Tunisian Criminal Law Reform Commission)
  • Study trip by members of the Tunisian Criminal Law Reform Commission to Berlin on the topic of “Reform of the Code of Criminal Procedure”
  • Conference in Tunis on the topic of “International cooperation in criminal law with a focus on extradition proceedings”
  • Regional conference in Tunis on the topic of “Young offenders’ institutions, prison conditions and resocialisation”

Project financed by the European Union

EU Twinning Project: Renforcement des institutions de l’administration pénitentiaire

The IRZ is currently implementing the EU Twinning project “Renforcement des institutions de l’administration pénitentiaire” on reforming the penitentiary system in Tunisia as a junior partner under the leadership of the French organisation Justice Coopération Internationale (JCI). The project began in October 2015 and has now been extended until the end of 2018. It has a total budget volume of around EUR 1.8 million. The Tunisian partners are the Ministry of Justice, the Directorate General for the Correctional Service and Resocialisation (DGPR) and the National Academy for the Correctional Service and Resocialisation (ENPR).

The main project aims are to establish capacities at the Directorate General for Correctional Services and Resocialisation, to support the National Academy for the Correctional Service and Resocialisation in their development of a new training and education programme as well as preparing a national concept to introduce a probation service in Tunisia step-by-step. The implementation of these three main components takes place within the framework of regular seminars, study trips and training events in close cooperation with the respective Tunisian partners.

The project experts from France, Germany and Spain work together on site with the Tunisian partners producing proposals to improve the training of the Tunisian enforcement officers and conduct seminars and training courses in Tunisia. The expert team of the project consortium mainly consists of members of the French National School of the Penitentiary Administration (ENAP), experts from German federal state ministries of justice as well as a team of practitioners from the penitentiary system with many years of experience in the management and deputy management of prison facilities in France, Germany and Spain.


The IRZ plans to continue its commitment in the abovementioned fields in 2018. They are all highly topical and require sustained cooperation. In the area of administrative court jurisdiction, the focus is primarily on the implementation of the Code of Administrative Court Procedure, which is to be passed at the beginning of 2018. Regarding the work of the Constitutional Court, now that such a court has been established, issues relating to the structure and organisation of the Constitutional Court will come into focus.