Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tunisian military justice system and its jurisdiction over civiilans

The Tunisian media has published earlier today an interesting piece about their national military justice system. The article opens by stating that reliance on the of military justice to try civilians (bloggers, journalists, politicians, lawyers, businessmen, etc.) arouses the outrage by civil society which considers this as plain and simple violation of their human rights.

The article focuses on the launch of “Operation Clean Hands” which led to the arrest and trial by a military tribunal of businessman Chafik Jarraya accused of corruption; he is also being investigated for’ dealing with a foreign power in peacetime, crimes that are liable for imprisonment or even the death penalty. The Director of Human Rights Watch in Tunisia opined that “In a real democratic transition, military trials for civilians or secret detention have no place, regardless of the seriousness of the charges."

Me Armor Saadoui, an experienced counsel, agrees with the need to have a military nexus before trying anyone before a military tribunal: “Military courts must remain special courts, reserved for military crimes and offenses in the strict sense, that is to say within the barracks, relating to the military function" particularly since in his opinion,” military justice serves as a tool of political control. He adds: "There is as yet no independence of justice in Tunisia, both in legal texts and in their application." Meanwhile, the number of cases dealing with civilians brought before military tribunals continues to grow.

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