The Supreme Judicial Council banned judges on Wednesday, June 9, from holding political positions in the executive body. This council advocates the independence of the judiciary and its impartiality in the face of ongoing political quarrels. This resolution comes after the dismissal on Tuesday by the head of the national authority for the fight against corruption of the Prime Minister. On Tuesday, the head of the Tunisian government replaced one judge, Imed Boukhris, with another, Imed Ben Taleb, as head of this institution.
The appointment of judges to political positions has been controversial in Tunisia for several years. The judiciary is accused of corruption and bias and trust in the citizen is broken while reforms in the sector are slow.
But a step has just been taken with this ban on Tunisian judges taking positions in the presidency, with the head of government, in ministries and in various state institutions.
According to the High Judicial Council, the image of justice has deteriorated and this system aims to “distance justice from political divisions” that have exhausted the state. It is a “historic, long-awaited” decision, considering the Tunisian judges who have been fighting for their independence since 2011.
For them, this lack of independence threatens the democratic experience in their country. Imed al Khaskhoussi, a member of the High Judicial Council, does not rule out the possibility that the new crisis between the president and his prime minister has accelerated the decision.
According to Tunisian political and judicial circles, this ruling repeals any appointment of judges to political positions. The most recent was Imed Ben Taleb, appointed on Tuesday as head of the National Anti-Corruption Authority.
It also repeals the Prime Minister’s appointment of three judges during his last change. Appointments denied by the president who accused four ministers of meddling in corruption cases. They never swore before him.