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Legal policy starting point
The elections to a Constituent Assembly in October 2011 were followed by the formation of a coalition government in December, led by the Ennahdha (rebirth) party which is based on Islamic values, together with the centre-left CPR (Congrès pour la République) and social-democratic Ettakatol (Front Démocratique pour le Travail et les Libertés, FDTL) parties.
Western democracies are above all interested in whether the future constitution of Tunisia will be rather secular or religious. Will independent institutions operating under a democratic constitution be guaranteed and human rights be respected? In the judicial field the focus is on the following issues:
- independence of the judiciary
- organisation of authorities and courts
- compliance with international human rights standards in criminal prosecution and in the prison system
- status of the legal profession
- reform of the commercial law et. al.
Cooperation to date
Cooperation with Tunisia has been well on its way since the IRZ Foundation established the Northern Africa project division. After consultations in Tunis on the determination of requirements, with the involvement of the IRZ management and members of the German Association of Judges, cooperation started with a fact-finding trip by a high-level delegation of Tunisian prison officers to the Federal Ministry of Justice and penitentiary institutions in Berlin. Furthermore, the IRZ Foundation organised a seminar for the Organisation of Young Lawyers in Tunisia. Further cooperations both in Tunisia and in Germany are envisaged with the Centre d'Etudes Juridiques et Judiciaires in the field of legislative consultation, the Ministry of Justice and the Judicial Academy, the prison authorities, the bar and industry institutions.
The ultimate goal of all activities of the IRZ Foundation in Tunisia is to provide support on its path towards a modern, democratic system which both ensures compliance with human rights and meets the requirements of a modern market economy.
The prime principle of all activities is the concept of “local ownership”, i.e. all planned activities were discussed extensively with the local partners during several fact-finding missions to determine the country’s requirements and are largely based on their analysis of needs and proposals. The IRZ Foundation primarily offers activities with potential multipliers, for instance in the context of the further training for judges, which are aimed at achieving an efficient and sustainable cooperation with the funds available. All activities of the IRZ Foundation are organised in such a way that they can be continued beyond 2012.
To accomodate the regional concept, the IRZ also organises joint activities with representatives from Tunisia and Egypt. One example in this context is the workshop on the topic of “corruption and compliance” with a focus on Egypt and Tunisia, implemented in March 2012, which was organised in cooperation with the Centre for International Peace Operations in Berlin. Participants from both countries will also be invited to a “summer school” in Cairo on the topic of a “Modern Administrative and Commercial Law” funded by the German Academic Exchange Service, which will be followed by four-week internships in Germany.
The IRZ Foundation has envisaged 18 further individual activities with Tunisia for 2012:
- fact-finding trips, working visits as well as visits by delegations
- training and internships
To ensure a consistent and organisational continuation of the IRZ’s cooperation with Tunisia, the new topics coming up in the course of the process are to be followed by further activities which wil be continued beyond 2012. Tunisia’s considerable interest in working together with the IRZ Foundation gives rise for hope that the successful cooperation will be continued.