Tunisia - annual report 2019

Study trip on the topic “Integrity of constitutional court judges“
Study trip on the topic “Integrity of constitutional court judges“

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

Even eight years after the revolution, and although Tunisia has made significant progress towards a democratic constitutional state, the country is still not politically stable. After the death of President Beji Caid Essebsi, who was democratically elected in 2014, at the end of July 2019, presidential elections were held in September and October, from which the constitutional law expert Kais Saied, an independent candidate and political novice, surprisingly emerged as the winner. It remains to be seen which impetus this election will ultimately give to the political, economic and legal development of the country.

So far it is reasonable to assume that the newly elected President Saied will maintain the three policy pillars adopted by the former government:

  • security and enforcement of the rule of law,
  • strengthening of democracy and
  • continuation of economic development and implementation of the necessary projects.

Urgent reforms are also needed in Tunisia to stimulate economic growth. In spite of the difficult political and economic environment, the Tunisian authorities and civil society continue to drive the process of reforming legal and social policies. Despite numerous changes of government, many are working with tireless commitment and immense sincerity to democratise Tunisia.

Overall Concept

IRZ‘s bilateral project activities to support legal reform in Tunisia, which have continued since 2011, were further intensified at the beginning of 2017 by the joint declaration of intent on legal cooperation between the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Tunisia. An initial work programme for the years 2017 and 2018 was brought to a successful conclusion as part of this declaration of intent. Subsequently, a follow-on work programme was adopted for the period 2019 to 2020, on which IRZ is currently working. Funded by the Federal Foreign Office, the project to promote judicial reform in Tunisia, that has been implemented by IRZ since 2017, was successfully completed after a term of over two years.

The Supreme Judicial Council is still the central project partner to IRZ within the Tunisian judiciary. Its task is to guarantee the independence of the Tunisian judiciary and, in this role, to provide additional security for the rule of law and for the rights and freedoms of citizens. It follows, therefore, that IRZ‘s activities in Tunisia are primarily focused on the independence of the judiciary.

So far, the Constitutional Court has not been able to formally commence its work due to continuing disagreement over the election of its members. Nonetheless, IRZ is continuing its work on issues of constitutional law, particularly in cooperation with the Tunisian „Provisional Commission to Review the Constitutionality of Draft Legislations“, which is tasked with performing matters of constitutional adjudication until the Tunisian Constitutional Court actually starts work. This consultation focuses on questions concerning the position and competences of a Constitutional Court within the judicial system.

Administrative court jurisdiction is also undergoing an intensive reform process with the aim of developing and adopting a law on administrative courts. The decentralisation process initiated in the course of the reforms was implemented both in the administrative sector and within administrative court jurisdiction in order to help enhance self-administration. IRZ also provides consultation to the Tunisian Administrative Court on practical issues of electoral disputes and election review procedures due to the great need for counselling in this area.

With regard to the penitentiary system, project work focuses mainly on reform approaches within the four-year plan to reform the judiciary and penitentiary system, which was adopted by the government for 2015 to 2019. The advice focuses primarily on issues of rehabilitation planning, preparing inmates for release, transition management and the resocialisation of inmates after release.

Focus of Activity in 2019

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Conference in Tunis “Constitutional courts and their role in ensuring legal certainty“
  • Conference “The principle of proportionality: Importance, scope and control mechanisms“ in Tunis
  • Study trip of a Tunisian delegation to Karlsruhe, Hamm and Düsseldorf on the topic “Integrity of constitutional court judges“

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Participation of Tunisian experts in the International Conference on Competition in Berlin
  • Participation of Tunisian experts in the International Lawyers‘ Forum in Berlin
  • Exchange of experience in Tunis on the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
  • Exchange of experience in Tunis on the topic of “Consumer protection in the Tunisian and German legal system“
  • Exchange of experience in Tunis on the issue “Practical aspects of the Apostille process and notarial professional law“

Public Law

  • Seminar “Election complaints and the legal review of election results in election disputes“ in Tunis
  • Conference “Administrative justice and election disputes“ in Tunis

Administration of Justice

  • Seminar on the topic of “Judiciary and the media“ in Tunis
  • Round table discussion on “Coordination of legal cooperation with Tunisia“
  • Seminar in Tunis on the topic of legislation technique
  • Exchange of experience on the efficiency of the judiciary in Tunis

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Study trip by a Tunisian delegation to Berlin on the topic “Involvement of economic actors and adaptation of education and training opportunities taking into account the needs of the German labour market“
  • Exchange of experience in Tunis on “Combating corruption – mechanisms and prevention“
  • Symposium in Berlin on the practice of international legal assistance in criminal matters, with participants from the Ministries of Justice and the Public Prosecutors‘ Offices of Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia

Basic and Further Training

  • Seminar in Tunis on personal, social and methodological skills in professional practice (soft skills) for the judiciary


The activities planned for 2020 continue to aim at strengthening the consolidation and implementation of Tunisia‘s new Constitution of 2014 and supporting both the judiciary and the executive in the forthcoming reform projects. IRZ plans to move forward with its assistance to the Constitutional Court until it is fully established and operational. The same applies to the Supreme Judicial Council as a means of ensuring the independence of the judiciary. Project activities will also prioritise the fight against human trafficking. This will be complemented by advisory services and training in the field of legislation technique, which will be aimed primarily at project partners at ministerial level. By supporting the drafting of good and effective laws, IRZ aims to contribute to strengthening legal certainty.

In addition, the implementation of the work programme between the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Tunisia will continue in 2020. In particular, the work programme sets out cooperation in the fields of international private law, criminal law and criminal procedure law, combating corruption, human rights and consumer protection and the independence of the judiciary.