Tunisia Authorities Threaten Judicial Independence
February 28, 2023
Cited article by Human Rights Watch
HRRC condemns President Kais Saied's attack on Tunisia's judicial branch. By arbitrarily removing judges and prosecutors without consequence, Tunisians are not guaranteed the right to a fair trial. We join Human Rights Watch in calling for the reinstatement of the magistrates who were dismissed and a push to return judicial independence.
In June 2022, Tunisia President Kais Saied arbitrarily dismissed 57 judges and prosecutors in an "anti-corruption" campaign and, despite a court order in August 2022, refuses to reinstate them. One justice minister loyal to President Saied is reportedly preparing criminal cases against 49 of the magistrates in order to justify not reinstating them. Those dismissed are under investigation for various charges ranging from adultery to terrorism, and many have and continue to face intimidation from authorities.
Since seizing power in July 2021, President Saied has targeted the judicial branch, first by proclaiming total supervision of the public prosecution system, and second by dissolving the country's High Judicial Court, a constitutional body which guaranteed the independence of the judiciary. Concerns are increasing as the current composition of the judicial branch in Tunisia threatens the very justice system. The Tunisian people are at risk of not receiving fair trials in front of independent and impartial judges.