Tunisia: Draft Bill on the fight against terrorism, and the prohibition of money laundering

Tunis, 16 April 2015: ARTICLE 19 is concerned that the Tunisian Draft Bill on the fight against terrorist offences and money laundering, currently being discussed in the Parliament, fails to meet the requirements of international standards on freedom of expression. In particular, some of its provisions could prevent journalists from covering events and issues related to the workings of government and politics. Hence, unless it is amended, the Draft Bill will potentially curb the free flow of information and the public discussion of matters of general interest.

The Draft Bill on the fight against terrorist offences and money laundering (Draft Bill) adopted by the government on 25 March 2015, is currently being discussed by a joint commission within the Assembly of Peoples’ Representatives (APR) before submitting it for general discussion in the plenary session. Since January 2014 a previous version of this Draft Bill was submitted to the National Constituent Assembly by the government at that time. This version was a subject of political controversy. The new government elected on February 2015 introduced amendments to the draft bill. The revised draft law is the subject of our analysis.

ARTICLE 19 reviewed the Draft Bill for its compliance with international standards on freedom of expression.

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the fact that the Draft Bill opens with a clear reminder to the authorities in charge of its application that they must respect constitutional and international guarantees in the field of human rights, refugees protection and humanitarian law (Article 2).

We also recognize that the definition of a terrorist offence adequately targets acts accomplished with the intention of ‘bringing terror unto the population’ or of ‘compelling a State or an international organization’ to adopt a certain course of action (Article 13).

It is also positive that the National Commission on the fight against terrorism has to “follow up on UN institutions’ resolutions related to terrorism” and translate them into relevant national directives (Article 64). We also appreciate that, under the same provision, the National Commission has to cooperate with non-governmental organisations. It is true, however, that a reference to international human rights laws and international human rights bodies could usefully fit into Article 64.

More generally, there still is concern that many provisions of the Draft Bill need to be revised in order to meet the requirements of international law.

Legal Analysis: Tunisia Draft Bill on the Fight Against Terrorism and the Prohibition of Money Laundering.

تعليق المادة 19 حول مشروع مشروع قانون أساسي یتعلق بمكافحة اإلرهاب وبمنع غسل األموال .

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