Tunisia judges strike to insist on independence

The judges say the proposed legislative change will undermine the independence of the judiciary

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Tunisia’s judges went on strike Thursday to protest a proposed legislative change they claim would undermine the independence of the judiciary by allowing the government to appoint members of their supervisory body.

“All judges participated in the strike,” said Raudha Karafi, president of the Association of Tunisian Magistrates.

At issue are proposals by Justice Minister Salah Ben Issa to change the law governing the judiciary to allow the country’s president to appoint members of the Supreme Council of the Magistrature.

Karafi said that would violate the constitution, “which stipulates the independence of the magistrature.”

Raoudha Laabidi, president of the judges’ union, complained that the minister had “made changes to the first draft of the bill without consulting the technical committee responsible for writing the law.”

Tunisia’s new constitution, adopted last year, designates the Supreme Council of the Magistrature as responsible for guaranteeing “the good functioning and independence of the judiciary.”

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