The Battle of Said and the Judiciary.. Compliance or Reform?

Video duration 23 minutes 44 seconds

The Tunisian judge, counselor to the Court of Appeals, Afif Al-Jaidi, suggested that Tunisian President Kais Saied’s proposal to the issue of grants aims to control the judiciary, after his control of the executive and legislative branches.

Jaidi wondered why President Said raised the issue of grants related to the judiciary at this particular time, noting that the decree he issued comes in light of the monopoly of the ruling regime in Tunisia on the executive and legislative authorities in accordance with Order 177, which means that the judiciary is the only institution that is still outside its authority.

The head of the Supreme Judicial Council, Youssef Bou Zakher, said that the council considers the decree to stop grants issued by President Said, as a violation of the judicial authority and the powers of the Supreme Judicial Council. Bou Zakher stressed – in an interview with Al Jazeera – that this decree will not deter judges from carrying out their duties.

The Tunisian judge – in his speech to an episode of “Beyond the News” program (2022/01/21) – indicated that Saeed repeats the talk about the judiciary and the corruption of judges, and that his objection is only to the founding law of the Supreme Judicial Council, which is the guarantor of the independence of the judiciary, and it is an umbrella Ensures that the executive authority does not interfere in judicial decisions.

Jaidi denied the existence of a conflict between the Tunisian president and the judiciary, and said that the judiciary is in a state of defense of its independence.

On the other hand, the academic, former member of the National Constituent Assembly, Rabeh Al-Kharaifi, described the decision to stop the privileges of members of the Judicial Council as legal, and it came in accordance with Decree 117, stressing that the president does not want to subjugate the judiciary, but rather to reform it.

According to Al-Kharaifi, Saied wants to prepare Tunisian public opinion for a deep reform of the judicial institution, calling on judges to present a vision for the development of the judiciary and to submit proposals for reforming the Supreme Judicial Council.

The Tunisian president said last Thursday that the judiciary is not the state or the government, and it must implement the law, a day after Said issued a decree that put an end to the privileges of members of the Judicial Council. The president stated that the judiciary is free and that it is working to remain free, but added that “impunity must not continue.”

Tunisia has been witnessing a worsening political crisis since last July 25, after Saied took exceptional measures, most notably freezing the competencies of Parliament, lifting the immunity of its deputies, abolishing the constitutionality monitoring body, issuing legislation with presidential decrees, dismissing the prime minister and forming new ones.

The majority of political forces reject these decisions, and consider them a coup against the constitution and an infringement of rights and freedoms, while other forces support them and see them as a correction of the course of the 2011 revolution that toppled President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

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