Conference on the Prison System in Tunis from 16 to 17 June 2014

Experts of the Jordanian and Tunisian prison service

Experts of the Jordanian and Tunisian prison service

On 16 and 17 June 2014 the IRZ organised an extensive conference on the reform of the prison system in cooperation with the Tunisian Ministry of Justice, Human Rights and Transitional Justice. For two days, some 300 delegates, among them senior officials, members of the judiciary, prison officers and representatives of civil society discussed the progress and drawbacks in the efforts towards a humanisation of imprisonment and a more efficient organisation of the prison system in general. The conference was opened by the Tunisian Minister of Justice, Mr Hafedh Ben Salah, and took place for the second time on the initiative of the IRZ. The event highlighted the state of reforms in a public and hence transparent way and can thus be an impetus for future strategies. Representatives from Algeria, Jordan and Morocco also attended the conference upon invitation of the IRZ and contributed to the reform discussion with their experience from other Arab countries.

From the German side, the Head of Department of the Prison Service at the Senate Administration for the Judiciary and Consumer Protection of Berlin, Dr Gero Meinen, and two of his colleagues reported about the German experience and approaches in this field. The IRZ has been organising a regular exchange between German and Tunisian prison authorities since 2011.

Judicial Reform in Tunisia

Judicial Reform in Tunisia

Judicial Reform in Tunisia

In January 2014 the Constituent Assembly of Tunisia adopted a new Constitution. The IRZ organised expert talks in Tunis in April 2014 in cooperation with the German section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in connection with the new Constitution and the associated reform efforts undertaken by the Tunisian Government. The German section of the ICJ is made up of professionals from all fields of legal activities. The fact that 40 German participants attended this event (among them the Federal Constitutional Court Judges Prof Dr Eichberger and Prof Dr Paulus) testifies to the importance that the German representatives attach to the reforms.

The expert talks conducted by the delegation started at the Constituent Assembly, where they met with the President of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Kalthoum Badreddine, and further representatives of the Constituent Assembly, where they held intensive talks about the development and implementation of the new Constitution. Following this the delegation was received by the Tunisian Minister of Justice, Dr Hafedh Ben Salah, where they discussed the challenges of transposing the new Constitution into law.

The visit was supplemented by a meeting with the President of the Administrative Court, Mohamed Faouzi Benhammed, as well as with other judges, where they discussed the competences, the functions and the relationship between the Administrative Court and citizens. Talks were also held with the President of the Bar Association, Prof Mohamed Fadhel Mahfoudh, and other members of the Bar Association.

Finally, the delegation were the guests of the Judicial Academy in Tunis, whose Director, Dr Imed Darouiche, gave a practical insight into the Judicial Academy and gave a presentation about the training and recruitment of judges in Tunis.

The Commission of Jurists was also received by the German Ambassador, Dr Andreas Reinicke, who invited them to the German Embassy along with Tunisian guests from politics and society.

Against the background of this intense Tunisian interest, the IRZ will continue and intensify the expert talks about the new Tunisian Constitution with German law experts. A Tunisian delegation of constitutional and administrative judges is expected to travel to Germany in June for a study trip, where they will exchange opinions with the Federal Constitutional Court, the Higher Administrative Court and a selected Administrative Court.

IRZ Conference dealing with Tunisian Administrative Jurisdiction

Kick-off event in Tunis on 3 and 4 April 2014 dealing with the reform of the Tunisian administrative jurisdiction

Kick-off event in Tunis on 3 and 4 April 2014 dealing with the reform of the Tunisian administrative jurisdiction

In January 2014, the Constituent Assembly of Tunisia adopted a new constitution. The Tunisian government intends to reform the administrative jurisdiction, amongst other areas, on basis of this reform.

For this reason, the IRZ, in cooperation with the Tunisian Administrative Court ("Tribunal Administratif") and the Tunisian Ministry of Justice, organised the kick-off event "Tunisian Administrative Jurisdiction: Reality and Perspectives" which took place in Tunis on 3 and 4 April 2014.

The event was opened by the Tunisian Minister of Justice, Hafedh Ben Salah, the First President of the Administrative Court of Tunis, Mohamed Faouzi Ben Hamed, two representatives of the Ministry of Justice and the deputy Director of IRZ, Dr. Stefan Hülshörster.

The speakers were Tunisian judges and their German counterparts, Michael Groepper, Judge at the Federal Administrative Court (ret.), and Dr Erwin Allesch, Vice President of the Higher Administrative Court of Bavaria. Their presentations showed both similarities and differences in the legal practice of the two countries. The following intensive discussions gave an important insight into the former and present situation of the Tunisian administrative law. It was pointed out that it was envisaged to reform the Administrative Court Rules of Tunisia. A cooperation between the Tunisian Administrative Court and German Administrative Courts aims at supporting this reform.

The IRZ is planning an expert exchange, amongst other activities, with the Federal Constitutional Court and the Federal Administrative Court, which is to take place soon. Furthermore, it is envisaged to organise further expert seminars in Tunis dealing with relevant constitutional and administrative issues.

The presentations given by the experts also generated broad media coverage with many reports about this successful IRZ event.