Exchange of experiences in Tunis on the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Published: May 10, 2019
Participants in the exchange of experiences on the Hague Convention  on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in Tunis
Participants in the exchange of experiences on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in Tunis
Tunisia

On 29 and 30 April 2019, the IRZ and the Tunisian Ministry of Justice organised an exchange of experiences on the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Tunisia joined the convention in 2017, although the country’s accession has not yet been accepted by any EU member state.

The event is part of the Memorandum of Understanding on a working programme for cooperation in 2019 and 2020 between the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the Tunisian Ministry of Justice. The exchange of experiences served as a follow-up to the conference on select Conventions of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, which took place in Tunis in 2018.

The experts representing the IRZ were Sabine Brieger, a former judge at the Local Court of Berlin Pankow/Weißensee and a former German liaison magistrate, and Katharina Rodenbach, representing the German Federal Office of Justice and responsible for international child custody, child abduction and the protection of children and adults.

Under the leadership of Prosecutor General Imed Derouiche, Head of the Judicial Service at the Tunisian Ministry of Justice, the German experts discussed with their Tunisian colleagues various aspects concerning the practical application of the Convention in Tunisia’s justice and administrative systems.

Moufida Boughanmi, Prosecutor General and national coordinator for the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction at the Tunisian Ministry of Justice, provided information on the current situation regarding the application of the Convention. In this respect, it was made clear that the implementation of the Convention in national legislation and jurisdiction and the determination of the relevant judicial and official structures continues to present a major challenge. The tenor of the lively discussions, about the responsibility and facilities of the courts for example, was that the national legislation currently in force is not sufficient to meet the requirements of the Hague Convention.

Together with the experts, participants in the conference discussed outstanding issues, clarified terminology, learned about the specific features of trials in accordance with the Convention and discussed procedures with the help of a sample case. The participants concluded that a law on implementation is an urgent and essential next step. This is a prerequisite for establishing repatriation processes in both directions. The lack of a law on implementation also explains why Tunisia’s accession to the Convention has still only been recognised by three member states.

Together with the Hague Conference, the IRZ has provided active support for the process of Tunisia’s accession since 2012 with local advice and expert discussions, and it has continued to offer regular advice since then. The IRZ plans to organise further events on other selected Conventions, such as on the Apostille Convention of 1961.