Jurists denounce attacks against the independence of judges in Tunisia

Today, the ICJ denounced the pressure which has been exerted against Tunisian judges who participated in a Seminar entitled Judicial Independence and Functions in Tunisia.

The Seminar was organized between 14-24 November 1994 in Tunis by the ICJ in collaboration with the Arab Institute for Human Rights and other governmental and non-governmental Tunisian institutions.

After the Seminar ended, the Ministry of Justice in Tunis exerted direct pressure on the Tunisian participants and asked them to withdraw their support of the document entitled Sommaire d’activités des cours (Summary of the Activities of the Course), a collection of reports drafted by participants during the Seminar.

The ICJ denounce the fact that the Ministry of Justice pressured participating judges to sign a new document significantly different in content.

The entire Seminar, including the session where the original document was discussed and adopted, was videotaped. Currently, the Ministry of Justice is in possession of the only copy of the videotape.

On this occasion, the ICJ Secretary-General, Adama Dieng, said: “We see these acts as direct attacks against the independence of the judiciary in Tunisia. We hope that no reprisals have been taken against those who had the courage to refuse to bow to pressure and sign the new document.”

The ICJ gave the opportunity to the Tunisian Government to remedy the situation before making their concern public. To date, however, no adequate response has been received. The ICJ, once again, invite the Tunisian Government to take urgent measures to remedy this situation.

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