Tunisia: Independence of the judiciary must be protected in Constitution

Tunisia: Independence of the judiciary must be protected in Constitution - Civic Space

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the agreement reached on the articles adopted in the new Tunisian Constitution, which are consistent with universal principles of human rights. ARTICLE 19 now calls on members of the National Constituent Assembly to continue this approach when adopting the remaining articles of the constitution, and stresses in particular, the need for guarantees for the independence of the judiciary through ensuring a system of appropriate checks and balances.

“It is encouraging to see that that the Articles in the new constitution that relate to freedom of expression and access to information meet international human rights standards” said Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.

“We also welcome the protection for freedom of conscience in the constitution, along with the guarantee of equality between women and men, which reflects a commitment to ensuring a gender balance in elected councils. These measures reflect the principles we have advocated for not only in Tunisia, but around the world,” says Thomas Hughes.

ARTICLE 19 is concerned however, about disagreements concerning the chapters relating to the judicial and executive powers. It is vital that a series of checks and balances is put in place to ensure the independence of the judiciary, which is an essential requirement in establishing the foundations of democracy.

ARTICLE 19 also calls on the National Constituent Assembly to adopt the proposals concerning Articles 122 and 124, which ensure the independence, neutrality and sustainability of the Commission for Audio-visual Communication, as the regulator of the sector. This body must be free to regulate the sector free from any political or financial influence.

ARTICLE 19 believes that the progress made in the governmental process, including the formation of a caretaker technocratic government the creation of the Independent Electoral Authority, sends a positive message to the international community, which has looked to the experience of democratic transition in Tunisia as a model for the Arab region.

“The completion of the constitutional, governmental and electoral process on the occasion of the third anniversary of the Tunisian revolution, restores the confidence of all Tunisian men and women in the transitional process” confirms Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.