Tunisian courts to go on strike after suspension of Judicial Council

Tunisian courts to go on strike after suspension of Judicial Council
The Association of Tunisian Judges has called on all courts in the country after President Kais Saied dissolved the country's Supreme Judicial Council in a widely condemned move.
2 min read
09 February, 2022
Tunisian courts began a strike on Wednesday [Getty]

Tunisian courts will suspend operations for two days following President Kais Saied's dissolution of the Supreme Judicial Council, a body tasked with ensuring judicial independence.

The Association of  Tunisian Judges called on all courts in the country to go on strike on Wednesday and Thursday in response to Saied's move, calling it a "flagrant violation of the independence of the judiciary by the President of the Republic".

The association said that by dissolving the Supreme Judicial Council, Saied had abolished "the last guarantee of the separation of powers and the preservation of the balance between them".

It said that it would provide further information regarding the judicial strike later.

Live Story

Western countries and human rights groups also expressed concern at Saied's dissolution of the Supreme Judicial Council with ambassadors from the G7 group of rich Western nations saying that "a transparent, independent and efficient judiciary and the separation of powers are essential for a functioning democracy that serves its people".

Amnesty International's regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, Heba Morayef, called Saied's dissolution of the council "a grave threat to fair trial rights in Tunisia".

"If the President enacts a decree to dissolve or suspend the institution, it will sound the death knell for judicial independence in the country," she said in a statement.

While Saied has not issued a decree formally abolishing the council, he said on Saturday that it "should consider itself a part of the past as of this moment" and sent police on Monday to close the council's headquarters.

On Tuesday, 45 Tunisian NGOs signed a joint statement condemning the abolition of the council, saying that Saied had taken over "all authority and completely destroyed the principle of the separation of powers".

The Supreme Judicial Council has rejected Saied's move and vowed to continue working despite the closure of its headquarters.

On 25 July last year, Saied sacked Prime Minister Hichem Michechi and suspended the country's parliament in a power-grab.