Death Penalty Database

Tunisia

Information current as of: February 17, 2011

General

Official Country Name

Tunisian Republic (Tunisia). [1]

Geographical Region

Africa (Northern Africa). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Abolitionist de facto. [3]

Methods of Execution

Hanging. [4]

Shooting. [5]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Tunisia, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5439.htm, Oct. 13, 2010.
[2] U.N., World Macro Regions and Components, U.N. Doc. ST/ESA/STAT/SER.R/29, 2000.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011. U.N.G.A., Moratoriums on the use of the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General, p. 11, U.N. Doc. A/63/293, Aug. 15, 2008. La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, La peine de mort – Tunisie, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=98, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011. Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort : Tunisie, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=TUN, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011.
[4] Penal Code of Tunisia, art. 7, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010. La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, La peine de mort – Tunisie, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=98, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011.
[5] Code of Military Justice of Tunisia, art. 45, promulgated by decree of Jan. 10, 1957, updated until 2010.

Country Details

Language(s)

Arabic. [1]

Population

10,486,339. (2010) [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

Around 140. According to Human Rights Watch, which based its estimate on an interview with an official from the Ministry of Justice, there were around 140 prisoners sentenced to death in Tunisia as of February 2011. [3] Courts infrequently impose death sentences. [4] It is said that former President Ben Ali almost systematically commuted death sentences. [5] During Tunisia’s 2008 review by the U.N. Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, the Minister of Justice and Human Rights of Tunisia declared that “the files of those sentenced to death are periodically submitted to the procedure of death penalty commutation.” [6]

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2017 to date (last updated on December 6, 2017)

0. [7]

Executions in 2016

0. [8]

Per capita execution rate in 2016

Executions in 2015

0. [9]

Per capita execution rate in 2015

0 executions.

Executions in 2014

0. [10]

Per capita execution rate in 2014

0 executions

Executions in 2013

0. [11]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions

Executions in 2012

0. [12]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

0 executions

Executions in 2011

0. [13]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

0 executions

Executions in 2010

0. [14]

Executions in 2009

0. [15]

Executions in 2008

0. [16]

Executions in 2007

0. [17]

Year of Last Known Execution

1991. [18]

References

[1] Constitution of the Republic of Tunisia, art. 1, Jun. 1, 1959, as amended through Jul. 28, 2010.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Tunisia, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5439.htm, Oct. 13, 2010.
[3] Human Rights Watch, Tunisie: Human Rights Watch a pu visiter deux prisons, après 20 années d’interdiction par le précédent gouvernement, http://www.hrw.org/fr/node/96226, Feb. 4, 2011.
[4] Amnesty Intl., Tunisia, Briefing to the Human Rights Committee, p. 5, MDE 30/002/2008, Mar. 1, 2008.
[5] Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort : Tunisie, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=TUN, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011.
[6] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Tunisia, p. 5, para. 6 (g), U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/21, May 22, 2008.
[7] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[8] Amnesty International, Death sentences and executions in 2016, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[9] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Executions and Death Sentences in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, ACT 50/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2012/en, Mar. 27, 2012.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[17] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[18] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011. U.N.G.A., Moratoriums on the use of the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General, p. 11, U.N. Doc. A/63/293, Aug. 15, 2008. La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, La peine de mort – Tunisie, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=98, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011. Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort : Tunisie, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=TUN, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Aggravated Murder.
Premeditated murder, [1] parricide, [2] murder when it is preceded, accompanied or followed by another offense punishable by a prison sentence and murder committed in order to further or facilitate another offense, including to ensure impunity for the offense, [3] are punishable by death.

Other Offenses Resulting in Death.
When resulting in death, kidnapping, sequestration [4] and arson [5] are punishable by death.

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
In December 2007, 30 people were put on trial for terrorism-related acts. Two were sentenced to death, one of whom had his death sentence commuted to life in prison on appeal. [6] They were reportedly prosecuted for belonging to an organization that had adopted terrorism to pursue its objectives, for having received military training to commit terrorist acts, for possession and transport of arms, explosives and munitions, recruitment and training of persons to carry out terrorist acts, participation in armed rebellion resulting in the premeditated death of people and the incitement of the population to kill one another. [7] It is possible that the one man still on death row for these offenses (Saber Ragoubi) was also convicted of offenses such as premeditated murder and attacks against the state security, which carry a sentence of death. [8]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
In December 2007, 30 people were put on trial for terrorism-related acts. Two were sentenced to death, one of whom had his death sentence commuted to life in prison on appeal. [9] They were reportedly prosecuted for belonging to an organization that had adopted terrorism to pursue its objectives, for having received military training to commit terrorist acts, for possession and transport of arms, explosives and munitions, recruitment and training of persons to carry out terrorist acts, participation in armed rebellion resulting in the premeditated death of people and the incitement of the population to kill one another. [10] It is possible that the one man still on death row for these offenses (Saber Ragoubi) was also convicted of offenses such as premeditated murder and attacks against the state security, which carry a sentence of death. [11]

Rape Not Resulting in Death.
Rape committed with violence, threat or use of a weapon is punishable by death. [12] Rape committed on a child younger than 10 years old is punishable by death. Rape committed on a child older than 10 years old with violence, threat or use of a weapon is punishable by death. [13]

Arson Not Resulting in Death.
Arson or destruction using explosive devices of State-owned goods is punishable by death. [14]

Treason.
Acts of treason (including attacks against state security) and provoking or offering to commit treason are punishable by death. [15]

Espionage.
Espionage and provoking or offering to commit espionage are punishable by death. [16]

Military Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
The Code of Military Justice provides for a number of death-eligible offenses (desertion, disobedience…). [17]

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
-Attempt of a death-eligible offense. [18]
-Assault on a judge on duty, with threat or use of a weapon. [19]

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

No. When courts find mitigating circumstances, they have the power to impose a sentence of imprisonment in lieu of the death penalty. [20] As of January 2011 we did not find any exceptions to this rule for specific offenses; it appears that courts have discretionary sentencing power in all cases.

For Which Offenses, If Any, Is a Mandatory Death Sentence Imposed?

Tunisia has no mandatory death penalty. When courts find mitigating circumstances, they may impose a sentence of imprisonment in lieu of the death penalty. [21]

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

No individual has been executed since 1991 in Tunisia. [22]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
Individuals can be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years imprisonment for a crime committed while younger than 18 years. [23] Additionally, Tunisia is party to the ICCPR [24] and to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, [25] which prohibit the execution of individuals for crimes committed while under the age of 18.

Pregnant Women.
Under national law, a pregnant woman cannot be executed before she has given birth to her child. [26] Additionally, Tunisia is party to the ICCPR, [27] which prohibits the execution of pregnant women.

Women With Small Children.
Tunisia is party to the Arab Charter on Human Rights [28] which under Article 7 prohibits the execution of nursing mothers within two years from the date of delivery.

Mentally Ill.
People who were insane at the time of the offense are not criminally liable. [29]

References

[1] Penal Code of Tunisia, art. 201, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010.
[2] Penal Code of Tunisia, art. 203, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010.
[3] Penal Code of Tunisia, art. 204, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010.
[4] Penal Code of Tunisia, arts. 237, 251, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010.
[5] Penal Code of Tunisia, art. 307, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010.
[6] Magharebia, Tunisian court upholds death penalty for convicted terrorist, http://www.magharebia.com/cocoon/awi/xhtml1/en_GB/features/awi/newsbriefs/general/2008/02/21/newsbrief-01, Feb. 21, 2008. Magharebia, Amnesty International criticises Tunisian death sentence, http://www.magharebia.com/cocoon/awi/xhtml1/en_GB/features/awi/newsbriefs/general/2008/02/22/newsbrief-03, Feb. 22, 2008.
[7] Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, Peine de mort d’un salafiste confirmée, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/article.php?art=576, Jun. 5, 2008.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Act now for Saber Ragoubi, Tunisia, http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/act-now-saber-ragoubi-tunisia, Dec. 6, 2010.
[9] Magharebia, Tunisian court upholds death penalty for convicted terrorist, http://www.magharebia.com/cocoon/awi/xhtml1/en_GB/features/awi/newsbriefs/general/2008/02/21/newsbrief-01, Feb. 21, 2008. Magharebia, Amnesty International criticises Tunisian death sentence, http://www.magharebia.com/cocoon/awi/xhtml1/en_GB/features/awi/newsbriefs/general/2008/02/22/newsbrief-03, Feb. 22, 2008.
[10] Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, Peine de mort d’un salafiste confirmée, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/article.php?art=576, Jun. 5, 2008.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Act now for Saber Ragoubi, Tunisia, http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/act-now-saber-ragoubi-tunisia, Dec. 6, 2010.
[12] Penal Code of Tunisia, art. 227, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010.
[13] Penal Code of Tunisia, art. 227, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010.
[14] Penal Code of Tunisia, art. 76, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010.
[15] Penal Code of Tunisia, arts. 60, 60bis, 60ter, 61bis, 63, 72, 74, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010. Code of Military Justice of Tunisia, arts. 117-119, 123, promulgated by decree of Jan. 10, 1957, updated until 2010.
[16] Penal Code of Tunisia, art. 60ter, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010. Code of Military Justice of Tunisia, arts. 121, 122, promulgated by decree of Jan. 10, 1957, updated until 2010.
[17] Code of Military Justice of Tunisia, arts. 69, 70, 79, 81, 99, 104, 109, 111, 113, 115, 116, promulgated by decree of Jan. 10, 1957, updated until 2010.
[18] Penal Code of Tunisia, art. 59, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010.
[19] Penal Code of Tunisia, art. 126, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010.
[20] Penal Code of Tunisia, art. 53, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010.
[21] Penal Code of Tunisia, art. 53, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010.
[22] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011. U.N.G.A., Moratoriums on the use of the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General, p. 11, U.N. Doc. A/63/293, Aug. 15, 2008. La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, La peine de mort – Tunisie, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=98, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011. Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort : Tunisie, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=TUN, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011.
[23] Penal Code of Tunisia, art. 43, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010.
[24] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[25] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3, Nov. 20, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=UNTSONLINE&tabid=2&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en#Participants , last accessed Jan. 19, 2011.
[26] Penal Code of Tunisia, art. 9, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010. Code of Military Justice of Tunisia, art. 46, promulgated by decree of Jan. 10, 1957, updated until 2010.
[27] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[28] World Health Organization, Arab Charter on Human Rights, http://www.who.int/hhr/Arab%20Charter.pdf, last accessed Feb. 21, 2011.
[29] Penal Code of Tunisia, art. 38, Jul. 9, 1913, as amended through Jun. 29, 2010.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

Mar. 18, 1969. [2]

Signed?

Yes. [3]

Date of Signature

Apr. 30, 1968. [4]

First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Recognizing Jurisdiction of the Human Rights Committee

Party?

No. [5]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [6]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Toward the Abolition of the Death Penalty

Party?

No. [7]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [8]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

American Convention on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Death Penalty Protocol to the ACHR

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)

Party?

Yes. [9]

Date of Accession

Mar. 16, 1983. [10]

Signed?

No. [11]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

No. [12]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [13]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

No. [14]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

Yes. [15]

Date of Signature

Jun. 16, 1995. [16]

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

No. [17]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

Yes. [18]

Date of Signature

June 15, 2004. [19]

2016 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [20]

Vote

In Favor. [21]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [22]

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [23]

Vote

In Favor. [24]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [25]

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [26]

Vote

In Favor. [27]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [28]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [29]

Vote

Not Present. [30]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [31]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [32]

Vote

Not Present. [33]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [34]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [35]

Vote

Not Present. [36]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [37]

References

[1] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[2] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[3] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[4] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[5] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[6] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[7] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[8] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[9] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African_Charter_on_Human_and_Peoples_Rights.pdf, Aug. 2, 2011.
[10] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African_Charter_on_Human_and_Peoples_Rights.pdf, Aug. 2, 2011.
[11] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African_Charter_on_Human_and_Peoples_Rights.pdf, Aug. 2, 2011.
[12] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Doc. 0025, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/999Rights_of_Women.pdf, Feb. 14, 2011.
[13] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Doc. 0025, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/999Rights_of_Women.pdf, Feb. 14, 2011.
[14] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/96Welfare_of_the_Child.pdf, Jan. 27, 2011.
[15] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/96Welfare_of_the_Child.pdf, Jan. 27, 2011.
[16] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/96Welfare_of_the_Child.pdf, Jan. 27, 2011.
[17] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[18] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[19] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[20] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 54-71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[21] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 54-71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[22] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Note Verbale dated 7 September 2017, U.N. Doc. A/71/1047, Sep. 13, 2017.
[23] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 141, 144, U.N. Doc. A/69/488/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2014.
[24] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17-18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[25] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Note Verbale dated 28 July 2015, U.N. Doc. A/69/993, Jul. 29, 2015.
[26] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 95-96, U.N. Doc. A/67/457/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2012.
[27] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[28] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[29] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, p. 5, U.N. Doc. A/65/456/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2010.
[30] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[31] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[32] U.N.G.A., 63rd session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/63/430/Add.2, Dec. 4, 2008.
[33] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[34] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[35] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/62/439/Add.2, Dec. 5, 2007.
[36] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[37] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008, U.N. Doc. A/62/658, Feb. 2, 2008.

Death Penalty In Law

Does the country’s constitution make reference to capital punishment?

No, but under Article 5, the “inviolability of the human person” is guaranteed. [1]

Does the country’s constitution make reference to international law?

Under Article 32, the authority of regularly ratified treaties is higher than that of national laws. [2] In Article 5, the Tunisian Republic guarantees fundamental freedoms and human rights in their universality, comprehensiveness, complementarity and interdependence. [3]

Have there been any significant changes in the application of the death penalty over the last several years?

The last execution took place in 1991in Tunisia [4] and death sentences are infrequently handed down. [5]

In March 2008, 25 members of parliament submitted a bill proposing the abolition of the death penalty, but without effect. Former President Ben Ali is reported to have declared a few months before that he would "never sign an execution order." It is also said that former President Ben Alì almost systematically commuted death sentences. [6] During Tunisia’s 2008 review by the U.N. Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, the Minister of Justice and Human Rights of Tunisia declared that “the files of those sentenced to death are periodically submitted to the procedure of death penalty commutation.” [7]

In a 2008 report to the U.N. Secretary-General, Tunisia reported that “although the death penalty has not been abolished, the President’s refusal to sign death warrants has led to a de facto abolition since 1991.” [8] Tunisia also indicated that “capital punishment is applied only in cases of premeditated homicide or homicide accompanied by aggravating circumstances.” [9]

In April 2008, the U.N. Human Rights Committee took note “of the solemn commitment reiterated by the President of the Republic that no sentence of capital punishment would be carried out.” [10]

During Tunisia’s 2008 review by the U.N. Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, the Minister of Justice and Human Rights explained that Tunisia having de facto abolished the death penalty “has led to a debate on abolition within the society and Tunisia hope to make further progress along this path and to abolish the death penalty once and for all.” [11]

Following Ben Ali’s recent departure from power, FIDH reports that the new government has decided “to embark on the path towards abolishing the death penalty” and that the Council of Ministers of the transition government announced on the evening of 1 February 2011 that the country would sign the second optional protocol to the ICCPR regarding the abolition of the death penalty.” [12]

Is there currently an official moratorium on executions within the country?

Yes, even though the commitment was made by former President Ben Ali, [13] and it is not yet known, as of January 2011, if his successor will pledge himself similarly.

Have there been any significant published cases concerning the death penalty in national courts?

As of January 2011, we have not found any relevant jurisprudence relating to the death penalty in Tunisia. It should however be noted that death sentences are infrequently handed down. [14]

Where can one locate or access judicial decisions regarding the death penalty?

Tunisian jurisprudence can be accessed on http://jurisprudence.e-justice.tn/.

What is the clemency process?

Final death sentences are automatically transmitted by the Public Prosecutor to the President, who may decide to grant pardon or commute the sentence, based on the advice given by the Minister of Justice and the board of pardons. No execution can take place before a clemency plea has been denied. [15]

Under Article 43 of the Code of Military Justice no execution can be carried out before a clemency plea is brought to the head of state by the Defense Minister. [16]

It is said that former President Ben Ali almost systematically commuted death sentences. [17] During Tunisia’s 2008 review by the U.N. Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, the Minister of Justice and Human Rights of Tunisia declared that “the files of those sentenced to death are periodically submitted to the procedure of death penalty commutation.” [18]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

No. [19]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

Capital cases are tried by a criminal section of the tribunals of first instance located at a court of appeal. [20] Sentences can be appealed before the criminal section of a court of appeal. [21] Appeals of the courts of appeals’ decisions are heard by the Court of cassation, on matters of law only. The Court of cassation gives priority to capital cases. [22] If the Court of cassation overturns the court of appeal’s decision, the accused will be retried by another court of appeal or the same one, with different judges. [23]

The review of death sentences is mandatory. The Public Prosecutor has to transfer the files to the court of appeal and later on to the Court of cassation if the decision of the tribunal of first instance is upheld. [24]

Collateral review is also provided for by the Criminal Procedure Code. There are four situations in which the accused may ask for a review by the same court that handed down the death sentence. All four relate to the appearance of new facts or evidence calling into question the guilt of the death-sentenced person. [25]

Defendants can appeal the decisions of the military tribunals before the military Court of cassation. [26]

References

[1] Constitution of the Republic of Tunisia, art. 5, Jun. 1, 1959, as amended through Jul. 28, 2010.
[2] Constitution of the Republic of Tunisia, art. 32, Jun. 1, 1959, as amended through Jul. 28, 2010.
[3] Constitution of the Republic of Tunisia, art. 5, Jun. 1, 1959, as amended through Jul. 28, 2010.
[4] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011. U.N.G.A., Moratoriums on the use of the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General, p. 11, U.N. Doc. A/63/293, Aug. 15, 2008. La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, La peine de mort – Tunisie, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=98, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011. Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort : Tunisie, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=TUN, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011.
[5] Amnesty Intl., Tunisia, Briefing to the Human Rights Committee, p. 5, MDE 30/002/2008, Mar. 1, 2008.
[6] Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort : Tunisie, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=TUN, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011.
[7] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Tunisia, p. 5, para. 6 (g), U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/21, May 22, 2008.
[8] U.N.G.A., Moratoriums on the use of the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General, p. 11, U.N. Doc. A/63/293, Aug. 15, 2008.
[9] U.N.G.A., Moratoriums on the use of the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General, p. 12, U.N. Doc. A/63/293, Aug. 15, 2008.
[10] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Tunisia, p. 2, para. 5, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/TUN/CO/5, Apr. 23, 2008.
[11] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Tunisia, p. 18, para. 81, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/21, May 22, 2008.
[12] Intl. Federation for Human Rights, Tunisia on the way towards abolishing the death penalty, http://www.fidh.org/Tunisia-on-the-way-towards-abolishing-the-death, Feb. 2, 2011.
[13] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Tunisia, p. 2, para. 5, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/TUN/CO/5, Apr. 23, 2008.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Tunisia, Briefing to the Human Rights Committee, p. 5, MDE 30/002/2008, Mar. 1, 2008.
[15] Penal Procedure Code of Tunisia, arts. 342, 371, 372, law No. 68-23, Jul. 24, 1968, as amended through Aug. 12, 2009.
[16] Code of Military Justice of Tunisia, art. 43, promulgated by decree of Jan. 10, 1957, updated until 2010.
[17] Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort : Tunisie, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=TUN, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011.
[18] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Tunisia, p. 5, para. 6 (g), U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/21, May 22, 2008.
[19] Penal Procedure Code of Tunisia, art. 221, law No. 68-23, Jul. 24, 1968, as amended through Aug. 12, 2009. Code of Military Justice of Tunisia, arts. 10-12, promulgated by decree of Jan. 10, 1957, updated until 2010.
[20] Penal Procedure Code of Tunisia, arts. 124, 221, law No. 68-23, Jul. 24, 1968, as amended through Aug. 12, 2009.
[21] Penal Procedure Code of Tunisia, arts. 126, 207, 221, law No. 68-23, Jul. 24, 1968, as amended through Aug. 12, 2009.
[22] Penal Procedure Code of Tunisia, art. 258, law No. 68-23, Jul. 24, 1968, as amended through Aug. 12, 2009.
[23] Penal Procedure Code of Tunisia, arts. 269, 272, law No. 68-23, Jul. 24, 1968, as amended through Aug. 12, 2009.
[24] Penal Procedure Code of Tunisia, art. 223, law No. 68-23, Jul. 24, 1968, as amended through Aug. 12, 2009.
[25] Penal Procedure Code of Tunisia, arts. 277-279, law No. 68-23, Jul. 24, 1968, as amended through Aug. 12, 2009.
[26] Code of Military Justice of Tunisia, art. 29, promulgated by decree of Jan. 10, 1957, updated until 2010. See also, for more details, Amnesty Intl., Tunisia, Briefing to the Human Rights Committee, p. 17, MDE 30/002/2008, Mar. 1, 2008.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

According to Human Rights Watch, about half of the death-sentenced prisoners are incarcerated at Mornaguia prison, near Tunis. [1]

Description of Prison Conditions

According to Amnesty International, as of December 2010, “prisoners remain on death row in dire conditions.” The organization reports the case of Saber Ragoubi, sentenced to death in 2007 in a terrorism-related case, who is said to be “held in solitary confinement. He is not permitted to receive visits from his family, nor receive correspondence.” [2] In general, Amnesty says that “prisoners serving sentences imposed for political or security reasons (…) are subject to discrimination and abuse in prisons.” [3] They are for instance denied medical care arbitrarily and on a discriminatory basis. “Medical doctors who had been among those imprisoned reported after their release that virtually all long term prisoners are ill due to poor prison conditions, including inadequate hygiene and medical care, and sometimes as a result of torture or other ill-treatment.” [4]

According to the U.S. Department of State in its 2009 human rights report, “current and former prisoners reported that the lack of basic facilities forced inmates to share a single water and toilet facility with more than 100 cellmates, creating serious sanitation problems…According to prisoners' families, the government imposed arbitrary restrictions, such as limiting family visits, when prisoners sought redress for grievances about treatment and conditions. On April 10 [2009], several families of prisoners arrested on terror charges published a letter on the Internet (tunisnews.net) to protest the cruel detention conditions in which their family members were being held throughout the country. The families alleged that the prisons were overcrowded, detainees were denied needed medical attention, denied access to family visits, and arbitrarily placed in solitary confinement.” [5]

A delegation of Human Rights Watch that visited two prisons in early 2011 confirmed that death row prisoners had been denied visits by their family for years, contrary to Tunisian legislation. Serious overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions remains obstacle and constitute inhuman and degrading treatment. [6]

Are there any known foreign nationals currently under sentence of death?

As of January 2011, we were not able to determine if foreign nationals are currently under sentence of death in Tunisia.

What are the nationalities of the known foreign nationals on death row?

As of January 2011, we were not able to determine if foreign nationals are currently under sentence of death in Tunisia.

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

As of January 2011, we were not able to determine if women are currently under sentence of death in Tunisia.

Are there any reports of individuals currently under sentence of death who may have been under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed?

As of January 2011, we found no reports of individuals currently under sentence of death in Tunisia who may have been under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed.

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

As of January 2011, we found no reports regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

Under Article 69 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the defendant heard for the first time by the examining judge in a felony case has the right to free legal representation if he is indigent. However, the examining judge has a duty to assign him a counsel only if the defendant asks him to do so. [7] Amnesty International reports that “some detainees in terrorism-related cases appear…to have been denied the legal representation when brought before an investigating judge for the first time, in violation of Article 69 CPP…In many cases involving terrorism-related offences that were reported to Amnesty International between 2004 and 2005, no lawyer was present to assist the detainee during the first hearing before the investigating judge. Some detainees later told their lawyers that they were not informed of their rights by the investigating judge or that when they requested legal counsel it was not provided and the investigating judge continued with the interrogation.” [8]

Representation by a lawyer is compulsory in capital cases and tribunals of first instance have to assign one to the accused if he lacks representation at the trial phase. [9]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

Representation by a lawyer is compulsory in capital cases and courts of appeal have to assign one to the accused if he lacks representation at the appellate phase. [10] Tunisian law also provides for legal aid in cases where indigent defendants want to appeal the court of appeal’s decisions before the Court of cassation, in felony cases. [11]

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

As of January 2011, we did not find information on the quality of legal representation in capital cases in Tunisia. However, based on different reports, prior to former President Ben Ali’s departure from power, it seems that criminal lawyers experience many difficulties providing effective legal representation in Tunisia. According to the U.S. Department of State, “in most cases the presiding judge or a panel of judges dominates a trial, and attorneys have little opportunity to participate substantively. (…) Defense lawyers claimed that judges sometimes refused to let them call witnesses on their clients' behalf or to question key government witnesses. Defense lawyers contended that the courts often failed to grant adequate notice of trial dates or allow time to prepare their cases. There were reports that judges restricted access to court records and evidence, especially to records and evidence the government held, and in some cases required all the lawyers working on a case to examine documents together on a single date in judges' chambers, without allowing them to copy relevant documents.” [12] Amnesty International supports these statements: “in terrorism-related cases, defence rights have been frequently disregarded in breach of Tunisian national and international law. Defence lawyers complain that they are not given adequate time and facilities to prepare the defence and are required to spend considerable time in seeking to obtain copies of case files, which are often incomplete and may lack key documents. Lawyers complain also that they are sometimes denied access to their clients during pre-trial detention on the spurious grounds that their clients do not wish to see them and that when they do have access to them client-lawyer confidentiality may also be breached by the detaining authorities. Lawyers representing detainees in terrorism-related cases are also routinely intimidated and harassed by state authorities.” [13]

Harassment of human rights defenders, including lawyers, is a very serious issue in Tunisia: they are prosecuted, their homes are searched, they are subject of surveillance and physical assaults… [14]

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

In its 2008 briefing to the U.N. Human Rights Committee, Amnesty International denounced “a continuing pattern of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment…of persons arrested and detained by Tunisian security forces…Most detainees are tortured or otherwise ill-treated while detained incommunicado during the period of garde à vue, pre-arraignment detention.” [15] In its 2008 Concluding Observations, the same Committee said it was concerned ‘by reports that, in practice, confessions obtained through torture are not excluded as evidence in a trial.” [16] In its 2009 human rights report, Amnesty mentioned that “there were new reports of torture and other ill-treatment in police stations and detention centres run by the State Security Department. Detainees were particularly at risk when they were being held incommunicado.” [17] By the end of our research in January 2011, the last report of ill-treatment was dated January 7, 2011. [18]

More information on criminal justice in Tunisia and the lack of independence of the judiciary can be found in a FIDH January 2011 report, “Instrumentalisation de la Justice en Tunisie”. [19]

References

[1] Human Rights Watch, Tunisie: Human Rights Watch a pu visiter deux prisons, après 20 années d’interdiction par le précédent gouvernement, http://www.hrw.org/fr/node/96226, Feb. 4, 2011.
[2] Amnesty Intl., Act now for Saber Ragoubi, Tunisia, http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/act-now-saber-ragoubi-tunisia, Dec. 6, 2010.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Tunisia, Briefing to the Human Rights Committee, p. 11, MDE 30/002/2008, Mar. 1, 2008.
[4] Amnesty Intl., Tunisia, Briefing to the Human Rights Committee, p. 12, MDE 30/002/2008, Mar. 1, 2008.
[5] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Tunisia, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136081.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[6] Human Rights Watch, Tunisie: Human Rights Watch a pu visiter deux prisons, après 20 années d’interdiction par le précédent gouvernement, http://www.hrw.org/fr/node/96226, Feb. 4, 2011.
[7] Penal Procedure Code of Tunisia, art. 69, law No. 68-23, Jul. 24, 1968, as amended through Aug. 12, 2009.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Tunisia, Briefing to the Human Rights Committee, p. 14, MDE 30/002/2008, Mar. 1, 2008.
[9] Penal Procedure Code of Tunisia, art. 141, law No. 68-23, Jul. 24, 1968, as amended through Aug. 12, 2009.
[10] Penal Procedure Code of Tunisia, art. 141, law No. 68-23, Jul. 24, 1968, as amended through Aug. 12, 2009.
[11] Law of Tunisia on legal aid, art. 1, No. 2002-0052, Jun. 3, 2002, as amended by Law No. 2007-27, May 7, 2007; Portail de la justice et des droits de l’homme en Tunisie, Questions à caractère social et médical, Ministère de la Justice et des droits de l’homme, http://www.e-justice.tn/index.php?id=716, last accessed Jan. 13, 2011.
[12] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Tunisia, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136081.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Tunisia, Briefing to the Human Rights Committee, p. 15, MDE 30/002/2008, Mar. 1, 2008.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Independent voices stifled in Tunisia, MDE 30/008/2010, Jul. 12, 2010; U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on independence of judges and lawyers, Gabriela Carina Knaul de Albuquerque e Silva, Addendum, Communications to and from Governments, paras. 1081-1090, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/26/Add.1, Jun. 18, 2010 ; Intl. Federation for Human Rights & Conseil National pour les Libertés en Tunisie, Instrumentalisation de la Justice en Tunisie – Ingérences, Violations, Impunité, pp. 12, 13, http://www.fidh.org/Instrumentalisation-de-la-Justice-en-Tunisie, Jan. 12, 2011.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Tunisia, Briefing to the Human Rights Committee, p. 6, MDE 30/002/2008, Mar. 1, 2008.
[16] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Tunisia, p. 3, para. 12, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/TUN/CO/5, Apr. 23, 2008.
[17] Amnesty Intl., Human Rights in Republic of Tunisia, Report 2009, http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/tunisia/report-2009, last accessed Jan. 12, 2011.
[18] Amnesty Intl., Urgent Action, Increased torture risk for Tunisian prisoner, MDE 30/001/2011, Jan. 7, 2011. See also: Amnesty Intl., Act now for Saber Ragoubi, Tunisia, http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/act-now-saber-ragoubi-tunisia, Dec. 6, 2010.
[19] Intl. Federation for Human Rights & Conseil National pour les Libertés en Tunisie, Instrumentalisation de la Justice en Tunisie – Ingérences, Violations, Impunité, http://www.fidh.org/Instrumentalisation-de-la-Justice-en-Tunisie, Jan. 12, 2011.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

In its April 2008 Concluding Observations, the U.N. Human Rights Committee made the following observations and recommendations, among others:

-It welcomed “the fact that the State party considers itself de facto abolitionist” and took note “of the solemn commitment reiterated by the President of the Republic that no sentence of capital punishment would be carried out.” [1]
-It expressed concerns “about serious and substantiated reports that acts of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are being committed in [Tunisia]” and recommended Tunisia to “ensure that all allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are investigated by an independent authority, and that the perpetrators of such acts, including their hierarchical superiors, are prosecuted and punished and that the victims receive reparation, including appropriate compensation; improve the training of public officials in this area; include detailed statistics on this subject in its [next] periodic report.” [2]
-It was also concerned ‘by reports that, in practice, confessions obtained through torture are not excluded as evidence in a trial.” [3]
-The Committee was concerned that “Tunisian law allows the police to make arrests and detain individuals for a period of three days, renewable subject to a judge’s consent. During these periods of deprivation of liberty, detainees do not have access to a lawyer. According to numerous reports transmitted to the Committee, the legal guarantees of persons deprived of their freedom are not observed in practice. Thus the lawful period of police custody is allegedly exceeded, in certain cases, without the persons arrested being allowed to undergo medical examinations and/or without their families being informed of their arrest. Furthermore, … persons deprived of their liberty do not have the right to take proceedings before a court so that it may decide without delay on the lawfulness of their detention. [4]
-While noting with satisfaction “the progress [Tunisia] has made towards abolishing the death penalty and commuting the death sentences of certain prisoners”, the Committee regretted “that the courts are still handing down death sentences and that in some cases persons condemned to death have not automatically had their sentences commuted” and was concerned “that the competent authorities take into account the time elapsed since a death sentence has been passed when taking a decision on commuting the sentence.” The Committee consequently recommended Tunisia to “take the necessary measures to commute all death sentences as soon as possible” and to “consider abolishing the death penalty and ratifying the second Optional Protocol to the Covenant.” [5]
-The Committee also recommended that Tunisia take measures “to strengthen the independence of the judiciary, in particular with respect to the executive branch.” [6]

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

In the last ten years, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention decided in two cases that Tunisian authorities had arbitrarily detained people, in 2003 and 2005 decisions. [7]

During its last review by the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review in 2008, Tunisia supported the following recommendations, among others:

-To follow-up on the decision to not carry out the death penalty. [8]
-To consider cooperation “with, for example, the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism.” [9]

References

[1] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Tunisia, p. 2, para. 5, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/TUN/CO/5, Apr. 23, 2008.
[2] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Tunisia, p. 3, para. 11, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/TUN/CO/5, Apr. 23, 2008.
[3] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Tunisia, p. 3, para. 12, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/TUN/CO/5, Apr. 23, 2008.
[4] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Tunisia, p. 3, para. 13, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/TUN/CO/5, Apr. 23, 2008.
[5] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Tunisia, p. 4, para. 14, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/TUN/CO/5, Apr. 23, 2008.
[6] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Tunisia, p. 5, para. 17, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/TUN/CO/5, Apr. 23, 2008.
[7] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Implementation Of General Assembly Resolution 60/251 Of 15 March 2006 Entitled “Human Rights Council”, Opinions adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Opinion No. 41/2005, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/4/40/Add.1, Feb. 2, 2007; U.N. ECOSOC Commission on Human Rights, Civil And Political Rights, Including The Question Of Torture And Detention, Opinions adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Opinion No. 15/2003, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2004/3/Add.1, Nov. 26, 2003.
[8] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Tunisia, p. 19, para. 83.9, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/21, May 22, 2008.
[9] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Tunisia, p. 20, para. 83.12, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/21, May 22, 2008.

Additional Sources and Contacts

Direct member(s) of World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

Coalition Nationale tunisienne contre la peine de mort
Mr. Mohamed Habib Marsit
Coordinateur
67 rue Oum Kalthoum, 3e étage Esc, B
1000 Tunis, Tunisie
marsithabib@yahoo.fr
http://cntcpm.unblog.fr/

Coalition Nationale tunisienne contre la peine de mort
Mr. Lotfi Azouz
Directeur Amnesty International Tunisie
67 rue Oum Kalthoum
1000 Tunis, Tunisie
Tel: +216 71 353 417
Fax: +216 71 352 671
lotfiazouz@gmail.com

Coalition Nationale tunisienne contre la peine de mort
Mr. Ben Frej Hechmi
67 rue Oum Kalthoum
1000 Tunis, Tunisie
hmifrej@yahoo.fr

Conseil National pour les Libertés en Tunisie
Mr. Sihem Bensedrine
Porte-parole (Spokesperson)
4 rue Abou Dhabi
1000 Tunis, Tunisie
Tel: +216 71 24 09 07
sbensedrine@yahoo.com

Other non-governmental organizations and individuals engaged in advocacy surrounding the death penalty

Reprieve
PO Box 72054
London EC3P 3BZ
United Kingdom
Tel 020 7553 8140
Fax 020 7553 8189
info@reprieve.org.uk
http://www.reprieve.org.uk

Helpful Reports and Publications

Amnesty Intl., Tunisia, Briefing to the Human Rights Committee, MDE 30/002/2008, Mar. 1, 2008.

Amnesty Intl., Independent voices stifled in Tunisia, MDE 30/008/2010, Jul. 12, 2010.

Intl. Federation for Human Rights & Conseil National pour les Libertés en Tunisie, Instrumentalisation de la Justice en Tunisie – Ingérences, Violations, Impunité, http://www.fidh.org/Instrumentalisation-de-la-Justice-en-Tunisie, Jan. 12, 2011.

Additional notes regarding this country

Most of the answers to this questionnaire are based on information and reports prior to President Ben Ali’s departure from power and the subsequent cabinet reshuffle.

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