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Euro-Med Monitor to HRC: Judicial independence in Tunisia and Bahrain must be upheld

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  Tunisia – Bahrain

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Geneva – In a statement to the UN Human Rights Council’s 54th session, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor urged the Independent Expert on International Order, Livingstone Sewanyana, to ensure the independence of the judicial authority in both Tunisia and Bahrain by eliminating interference from executive authorities.

In Tunisia as well as Bahrain, the executive authorities’ control over the judicial system undermines the principles of democracy, said the organisation, turning the judiciary into a tool for punishing political opponents and opinion holders.

Delivering the statement to the Council, Euro-Med Monitor’s researcher Ama Gyambrah highlighted the illegal measures taken by Tunisian President Kais Saied, which undermine judicial independence in the country. “[Saied] dissolved the Supreme Judicial Council, appointing himself as primary ruler, made decisions that fell under the Supreme Judicial Council’s jurisdiction, such as appointment and dismissal, and abolished several constitutional and union rights of judges,” said Gyambrah

She further noted that the measures aimed at enabling executive authorities’ total control over the Tunisian judiciary were successful in severely harming its independence, allowing the executive authority to use the judiciary “to imprison opponents, punish opinion holders, and constrict freedoms in the country”.

Similarly, Gyambrah said that the executive authority in Bahrain “has near-complete control over the judicial system [there], as evidenced by the absence of fair trial guarantees and the harsh sentences handed down to opponents, including the death penalty”.

Given the critical role of an independent judicial system in protecting democratic and human rights principles, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor called for Livingstone Sewanyana, the Independent Expert on International Order, and the Human Rights Council to place a high priority on judicial independence in both Tunisia and Bahrain.

 

The executive authority’s control over the judiciary undermines democratic principles and turns it into a tool for punishing political opponents and opinion holders

Ama Gyambrah, a researcher at Euro-Med Monitor

 

Full statement

Mr President,

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor and IRDG welcome the report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of democratic and equitable international order on his visit to Georgia, particularly the recommendations on the importance of strengthening the judiciary’s independence to protect human rights.

The executive authority’s control over the judiciary undermines democratic principles and turns it into a tool for punishing political opponents and opinion holders; this is what we want to draw your attention to in Tunisia and Bahrain.

The Tunisian president dissolved the Supreme Judicial Council, appointing himself as primary ruler, made decisions that fell under the Supreme Judicial Council’s jurisdiction, such as appointment and dismissal, and abolished several constitutional and union rights of judges.

These decisions severely harmed the judiciary’s independence, allowing the executive authority to use it to imprison opponents, punish opinion holders, and constrict freedoms in the country.

Similarly, the executive authority has near-complete control over the judicial system in Bahrain, as evidenced by the absence of fair trial guarantees and the harsh sentences handed down to opponents, including the death penalty.

We urge you to meet with the governments of Bahrain and Tunisia to discuss ending all interference in the independence of the judiciary and reforming the judicial system to protect democratic principles and human rights.

Thank you.