Exchange of experiences on the “Enforcement of judgements and sentences”

During the exchange of experiences
During the exchange of experiences

On 8 April 2021, IRZ organised an exchange of experiences on the “Enforcement of judgements and sentences” in a hybrid format. As well as representatives from the Tunisian Ministry of Justice, a number of criminal court judges from various courts in Tunisia and senior officials from prison administration were also present. The event took place as part of the joint working programme on legal cooperation between the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the Tunisian Ministry of Justice.
The IRZ experts at the event were Andreas Stüve, Senior Public Prosecutor at the Düsseldorf Public Prosecutor’s Office, and Michael Nehring, a judge at the Regional Court of Bonn.

The following took part on behalf of the Tunisian project partners

  • Imed Derouiche, Prosecutor General in Tunisia and Head of the Judicial Service at the Tunisian Ministry of Justice
  • Omar Yahyaoui, a Public Prosecutor at the Ben Arous Court of first instance
  • Sonia Dridi, a sentencing judge at the Court of Manouba
  • Sinan Zbidi, a sentencing judge at the Court of Manouba

The subject of the event tied in with the Exchange of experiences on “Alternative forms of punishment and alternatives to pre-trial custody”, which took place in November 2020.

As well as discussing the fundamental principles and impediments to the lawful enforcement of judgements, the event also focussed on the roles played by public prosecutors and judges in the various sentencing options. Tunisia is currently taking advice on draft legislation for the new penal code. Alternative forms of punishment are already provided for by the law but are seldom applied. Alternatives to prison sentences, which until now have only existed in the form of rudimentary fines, also need to be reinforced.

Even though the aim in Tunisia is to enforce judgements as quickly as possible, the frequent absence of the defendants from the sentencing hearing is a major problem, since this means that the sentence cannot be enforced in these cases. As a result, the participants identified a need for the reform of national laws in Tunisia. There is also a requirement for improvements in the cooperation between judges, public prosecutors, the police and prison authorities when it comes to sentencing. A decision by the Ministry of Justice has already led to the introduction of a coordination unit.

With regards to sentencing and the use of alternative forms of punishment, the question of the maximum capacities of prisons also needs to be considered. In order to support the coordination between criminal justice and prison management, Tunisia has therefore introduced the position of enforcement judges. Enforcement judges are also responsible for imposing alternative forms of punishment.

The lively discussions between the participants showed that there is a requirement for further consultancy in Tunisia, particularly on the subject of enforcing fines and issues concerning the organisation and supervision of probation decisions. IRZ will therefore continue and intensify its cooperation with the Tunisian justice system in the field of alternative sanctions.