Thanks to the economy in referee bonuses, Tunisia no longer has to go to the IMF!

Thanks to the savings in referee bonuses, Tunisia no longer has to go to the IMF!

With a budget deficit of well over 20 billion dinars, a flawed finance law based on the price of a barrel of oil to $ 75 (it was already at $ 85 on January 18) and yet another hypothetical credit from the IMF, countless structural and economic problems, it has Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed has found a way to solve all the problems at once: he cancels the self-imposed bonus for members of the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSM) of around 2364 dinars and 400 liters of fuel. On social media, we returned with irony over this decision, announced on Wednesday, January 19, ” Tunisia certainly no longer needs to take out a new loan from the IMF, as it will make significant savings now that it has removed this benefit for members of the country’s highest judicial body. “.

Far from being sarcasm, Kaïs Saïed’s decision to abolish the bonus for CSM judges is contrary to at least two articles of the Constitution, namely Article 109, which prohibits any interference in the functioning of justice, and Article 113, which states that ” The Supreme Council of the Judiciary is equipped with administrative and financial autonomy and free management of its affairs. He prepares his budget proposal and discusses it for the competent committee in the Assembly of People’s Representatives “.

Except that Kaïs Saïed by his decree 117 sat excellently on the constitution. Is Tunisia becoming a state of lawlessness? That is the case to say. After suspending the assembly and dismissing the government, Kaïs Saïed has been attacking judges frontally for several months.

In its view, the CSM, which has repeatedly declared its categorical rejection of any reform of the judicial system through decrees. ” By his decision of January 19, Kaïs Saïed wants to punish CSM because he refused his intervention! “, Confirmed the judge and honorary president of the Association of Tunisian Judges, Raoudha Karafi. Open secret.

The Tunisian justice system is suffering, there is no denying it, everyone agrees. Its problems are many, but they are not all linked to corruption and clientelism by a few judges, as the President suggests.

Since the revolution, magistrates, like several other companies, have undertaken to clean up their own sector on their own. But very little has been achieved since.

CSM is among the company’s Achilles heels, it is also agreed. That the president wants to clean up justice and CSM is a good thing in itself. Aside from apparently deceiving because Kaïs Saïed’s behavior towards the judges, and especially those from CSM, shows that he is seeking to subject the judges to his dictation rather than really clean up a sick company.

Its decision of January 19 is yet another proof of this desire to break instead of clean up.

The judges of the CSM are first and foremost judges, each practicing in their own jurisdiction. Their work within CSM is in addition to their original functions, and therefore it seems justified that they obtain an additional bonus on the basis of the principle “every sentence deserves pay”. Whether this bonus of 2,364 dinars and 400 gallons of fuel is expensive or not can be debated, but the principle of paying these judges for this extra work should not be debated.

By removing this bonus, and in addition to his violations of two articles of the Constitution, Kaïs Saïed denies a fundamental right and sinks into indecency.

Is there at least some interest behind this grotesque decision? None. At the economic level, it would, according to calculations from Business News, save the state a maximum of one million dinars. Peanuts. Would she encourage the judges at CSM to do their job better? The opposite has been demonstrated all over the world and for centuries. Do judges earn a higher salary than their foreign counterparts? Far from it.

The average salary for a Tunisian is a thousand dinars. A judge earns at the end of his career about four thousand dinars, four times the average salary. This is the same reach as the European judges according to the surveys conducted on the subject, which Business News could consult. A Scottish judge receives up to 8.5 times the average salary (5.8 times in Italy, 4.9 times in Switzerland, 3.4 times in France, etc.).

With the self-awarded bonus, the judges of the Tunisian CSM automatically sit at the top, but it is to forget that they fulfill two functions unlike their European counterparts.

If Kaïs Saïed really tried to clean up the judiciary, he should have launched a public debate to understand the reasons for the slowness of justice, these lawsuits that drag out, these cases that sleep in the drawers, these judges that crumble during the cases. , of the ridiculous budget, which is reserved for the department, etc. The problems are many and the solutions are there. To find them, simply discuss with the interested parties themselves.

But Kaïs Saïed is not really looking to clean up. He wants judges in his pay. The testimonies of the lawyers are numerous to confirm to us that certain prosecutors and investigating magistrates receive their orders directly from Carthage. Politicians and businessmen who have been the subject of arrest warrants or house arrests and who have since been purged by judges are a good part of it.

Kaïs Saïed uses Facebook pages and police reports to incriminate some and smear others. He takes these items for cash and wants the judges to do the same by imprisoning the people he designates as unclean.

If a few magistrates who were greedy or interested in promotions gave life to the whims of the president, the majority of them refused to do so and continued to work in all soul and conscience according to the ethics of the profession.

On Tuesday, January 18, a military tribunal decided to release two prisoners who are among the worst opponents of Kaïs Saïed, namely the two radical Islamists Seïf Eddine Makhlouf and Nidhal Saoudi.

The answer was often too tat, the president announced his decision to remove the bonus for members of the CSM the next day, as if they were responsible for the military court’s decision.

Childish? Indecent? Unproductive? Humiliating? Kaïs Saïed’s decision is all these things. It is never good to humiliate judges who are supposed to be, in any country and at any time, far above the controversy. By his decision, Kaïs Saïed does not humiliate the judges of the CSM, he humiliates himself, he humiliates the state and he humiliates the rule of law.

Raouf Ben Hedi

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