Tunisia should establish Constitutional Court soon

Three years ago, the Tunisian Parliament voted for a constitution that foresees a new Constitutional Court. Until today that Court has not been established, leaving a critical gap in the country’s system of democratic checks and balances. Experts participating in DRI’s seminar “La prise de décision au sein de la Cour Constitutionnelle” on 19 April 2017 agreed that setting up the Court swiftly is crucial.

“There is an urgent need today for a courageous constitutional court that will establish strong and creative jurisprudence, ­underlined Prof. Lotfi Chedly, the dean of the Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Sciences in Tunis. Salsabil Klibi, a constitutional expert and lecturer at the Faculty, added that there are currently many unconstitutional laws in Tunisia, which negatively affects the effectiveness of the new Constitution.

On the other hand, Ambassador Andreas Reinike of Germany called for patience and building confidence in the transitional period when he opened the seminar together with Ambassador Raimondo De Cardona of Italy and the Tunisian Minister of Defence and honorary president of ATDC, Prof. Farhat Horcheni.

The seminar organised by DRI, in partnership with the Association tunisienne de droit constitutionnel (ATDC) and the Italian Constitutional Court, initiated a series of events facilitating an open exchange of experiences between the Tunisian and Italian constitutional experts. The activities aim at launching a public debate on the future of the Constitutional Court to bring the importance of its prompt establishment to the attention of decision makers and citizens. They equally provide a platform for exchange of experiences and views on concrete aspects of the functioning of constitutional courts.

During the seminar, Prof. Marta Cartabia, Vice-President of the Italian Constitutional Court shared her views on particular topics of the decision-making process within constitutional courts and discussed best practices regarding the rules of procedure of constitutional courts, as well as the techniques of formulating articulate decisions with the participants.

In the course of a subsequent separate working session with a group of judges, Prof. Cartabia emphasised that “The collaboration between diverse judicial authorities and the constitutional court is vital to building the legitimacy of this institution”. She further discussed possibilities of coordination and further support to the process of strengthening the Tunisian constitutional justice system with Mr Mehdi Grissia, the First President of the Administrative Tribunal acting also as the President of the Instance Provisoire de Contrôle de la Constitutionnalité des Projets de Loi (Tunisian temporary constitutional court) in a separate meeting.

The next mission of Italian constitutional experts to Tunisia is scheduled for the end of May.

DRI has supported both the drafting of the 2014 Constitution and the development of the 2015 law on the Constitutional Court, the two documents providing a legal framework for establishing the first Tunisian Constitutional Court. 

For more information regarding the legal framework of the Tunisian Constitutional Court please refer to the DRI report.

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