In Tunisia, the full powers of President Saïed deemed illegal

In Tunisia, the full powers of President Saïed deemed illegal

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) has just dropped a real bombshell. In its judgment of September 22, it “order” to the Tunisian State of“repeal” Presidential Decree No. 117 of September 22, 2021, thanks to which the Head of State Kaïs Saïed gave himself the full powers he has exercised for a year through presidential decrees. The judgment of the ACHPR also concerns all the decrees issued in July, August and October 2021, which were promulgated in the wake of the suspension of Parliament, on July 25, 2021, by the President.

The ACHPR also orders “to restore constitutional democracy within two years”, with a report to the court, every six months, on the measures implemented. The court, whose head office is in Arsuha (Tanzania), had declared itself competent to judge the request of the lawyer Ibrahim Ben Mohammed Ben Ibrahim Belghuith, in particular because of the “significant legal void” due to the absence of a Constitutional Court, never set up in Tunisia.

“It is the absolute authority of res judicata”

“The Court is not an advisory or recommendation body, it is a jurisdiction. The Tunisian State is bound in an imperative manner by its decision which it has the obligation to put into execution, as France is bound by the European Court of Human Rights. It is the absolute authority of res judicata”. underlines the jurist Yadh Ben Achour. The latter, who held the “francophone worlds” chair at the Collège de France in 2021-2022, chaired in 2011, after the fall of ex-president Ben Ali, the Tunisian High Authority for the achievement of the objectives of the revolution. , political reform and democratic transition.

“Everything is based on this decree 117, ajoute Yadh Ben Achour. As soon as this monstrous decree which gives legislative power to the president is declared non-compliant with both the Tunisian Constitution and international law, all the exceptional powers that flow from it also fall: the decree-laws on the referendum of July 25, 2022, the very organization of the referendum, the reform of the electoral code, etc. »

Executing the judgment, “a suicide” for Kaïs Saïed

However, it is not excluded that the president ignores this decision supposed to be binding on him. “Executing him would be real suicide for him, Yadh Ben Achour still believes. He will persist in illegality and invent quibbles to get out of trouble, But this decision has a very strong symbolic, legal and political value both internally and internationally. It discredits the system put in place on July 25, 2021, which I have, from that moment, described as a coup against the Constitution. This is now confirmed by the Court. »

Thus, according to the lawyer, this decision gives strength to all opposition in Tunisia – that of lawyers, political parties, civil society and the 75% of Tunisians who abstained or voted no in the constitutional referendum on July 25. 2022. There are, moreover, strong suspicions weighing on the results of this vote. “Between the results of the evening of the poll and those of the following morning, 400,000 votes were added for the benefit of Kaïs Saïed”, assure Yadh Ben Achour.

“Never have hearts been so heavy”

In this context, will the legislative elections of 17th December next be held? Almost all of the political parties have already decided to boycott the election… from which they are in fact excluded by the electoral law of 15 September last, which enshrines the principle of a single-member ballot, which is also prohibited for many dual nationals. This law carries “a fatal blow to national representation, popular sovereignty and citizenship, the very idea of ​​a united Tunisian nation is in decline”revolted the jurist Sana Ben Achour.

The judgment of the court will also influence all the friendly countries of Tunisia which will not be able to ignore it. “The situation is becoming Kafkaesque in Tunisia. We sink, we sink, we sink. Never have hearts been so heavy, worries Yadh Ben Achour. The problems are social, financial, economic. But the greatest of all our evils is called Kaïs Saïed. The president governs alone, insensitive to any form of criticism, he speaks to himself. A proverb says: “He sings all alone and his wings respond to him”. »

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