American “concern” about the Tunisian president’s dissolution of the Supreme Judicial Council

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said, “An independent judiciary is a vital component of an effective and transparent democracy. It is imperative that the Tunisian government maintain its commitments to respect the independence of the judiciary in accordance with the constitution.”

On Saturday evening, the Tunisian president announced the dissolution of the Supreme Judicial Council, accusing this body of corruption and of slowing down investigations into the 2013 assassination of leftist activists.

The Supreme Judicial Council, established in 2016, is an independent body responsible for appointing judges. It is made up of 45 judges, two-thirds of whom are elected by Parliament and who themselves choose the remaining third.

Said said, “In this council, positions are sold, and the judicial movement (appointments in it) is established based on allegiances,” stressing that “money and property obtained by a number of judges are billions and billions (…) These are in their place where the accused stand.”

The Supreme Judicial Council expressed its rejection of the decision “in the absence of a constitutional and legal mechanism that authorizes it,” considering it “an attack on the constitution and guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary.”

On Monday, Tunisian police closed the headquarters of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, in a measure denounced by its president as “illegal”.

Ned Price added that “the United States renews its call to accelerate the process of political reform in Tunisia,” which would ensure “continued respect for human rights.”

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