Talks with Prof. Dr. Gabriele Britz (centre), a judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court, and Press Officer Dr. Max Schoenthal (2nd from left)
Talks with Prof. Dr. Gabriele Britz (centre), a judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court, and Press Officer Dr. Max Schoenthal (2nd from left)
Tunisia

From 25 to 29 November 2019, the IRZ welcomed a delegation from the Supreme Judicial Council of Tunisia and the “Provisional Authority for the Control of Constitutionality of draft-laws” (IPCCPL) for a five-day study visit on the “Integrity of the constitutional judge”. The event was held as part of the project for judicial reform in Tunisia, which the IRZ is implementing between 2017 and the end of 2019 with the support of the German Foreign Office. The study trip is part of the project component that is supporting the development of the constitutional court in Tunisia. The creation of a constitutional court was set out in the Tunisian constitution of 2014.

The delegation visited the German Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, the Higher Regional Court of Hamm and held talks with representatives of the Ministry of Justice for North Rhine-Westphalia in Düsseldorf. The following people attended meetings with the Tunisian guests:

  • At the German Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe: Prof. Dr. Gabriele Britz, a judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court, and Dr. Max Schoenthal, Press Officer at the court;
  • at the Higher Regional Court of Hamm: Norbert Koster, a judge at the Higher Regional Court, and Martin Brandt, a judge at the Higher Regional Court and Press Officer at the court;
  • at the Ministry of Justice for NRW: Dr. Christian Reitemeier, Chief of Department and Head of the Department of Public Law, Constitutional Law and Department Coordination, Dr. Andreas Klenke, a Higher Administrative Court judge from the same department, and Dirk Reuter, Deputy Press Officer at the Ministry of Justice.

During the study visit, the Tunisian delegation discussed with their German hosts the relations between the media and the public on the one hand, and judges on the other hand. They shed light on the challenges involved in this area of conflict from a variety of perspectives. The main focus of discussions was on how the independence of the judiciary can be maintained in this context and the tasks and responsibilities of press officers at court. They also discussed conflicts, potential ways of providing help and practical discrepancies between judicial and executive authorities.

Since the parliamentary elections held in Tunisia in September and October 2019, the Tunisian government, in particular the Tunisian Ministry of Justice, has been working intensively under the newly elected President without a party, Kais Saied, to set up a workable constitutional court. Once the law on setting up a constitutional court has come into force, the court will be able to formally start work. However, this is being prevented from happening because of the failure of parliament to agree on the appointment of suitable candidates for judges. Until the time when the Tunisian Constitutional Court becomes fully functional, the IRZ is supporting the IPCCPL with specialist expertise. The aim of this project is to support the political and legal institutions of judicial and executive authorities in the implementation of the functions that are embedded in its constitution. In concrete terms, this means that the IRZ plans to continue with the constitutional support it has provided until now. However, more time is still required to achieve these objectives.