Tunisia: Reverse the President’s power grab

Presidential Decree 117 on 22/09/2021 is an affront to the Rule of Law and the constitutional order and must be immediately revoked, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said today.

هذا البيان الصحفي متوفر باللغة العربية أيضاً

The Decree purportedly suspends most of the 2014 Constitution and gives the President full executive and legislative powers, including to rule by decree on the functioning of judiciary, the military, security forces, political parties, unions, and associations. The President’s legislative and executive decrees are not subject to judicial review.

Decree 117 also abolishes the body in charge of reviewing the constitutionality of laws, perpetuates the suspension of Parliament, and confirms the removal of the immunity enjoyed by its members.

If enforced, the Decree would result in grave violations of the 2014 Constitution.  With the Constitutional Court yet to be established, few, if any, constitutional remedies are available to address such violations.

“President Saied has no constitutional or legal authority to rewrite the Constitution or to dismantle and crush the powers and bodies that should serve as a check on his abusive rule,” said Said Benarbia, ICJ MENA Director.

“His relentless, systematic assault on the 2014 Constitution only brings Tunisia back into authoritarianism.”

Under articles 18 and 19 of the 2014 Constitution, armed and security forces are to exercise their functions within the boundaries of the law and with full neutrality.

Armed and security forces must not give effect to Kais Saied’s assault on the rule of law and the Constitution, and should refrain from any actions that have the effect of impeding the functioning of the Parliament, the judiciary and other constitutional bodies.

“Decree 117 is null, void and of no legal effect,” added Benarbia. “It’s flagrantly illegal and no one should give effect to or obey any of its provisions.”

Contact

Said Benarbia, Director, ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, t: +41-22-979-3817; e: said.benarbia(a)icj.org

Asser Khattab, Research and Communications Officer, ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, e: asser.khattab(a)icj.org

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