The CEELI Institute is continuing its long work with the Tunisian judiciary, now focusing on a selected group of the most proactive judges from the sessions conducted over the past three years (2013-2015). This new phase of our engagement addresses public trust in the judiciary – a topic selected by the judges themselves. The participating judges have prioritized several aspects crucial for public trust in the judiciary, including relationship with the media, and greater outreach and educational programs for university and high school students. The judges are also committed to work on a judicial code of conduct, which they recognize will be helpful tool in garnering public trust. CEELI has worked with the judges to create relevant working groups, and to develop their plans for action outlining steps they can realistically take at the level of individual courthouses. This current effort is complementary to some of the ongoing efforts of the Tunisian judicial associations and institutes. CEELI hopes to encourage examples of individual initiative on the part of judges, with the aims of achieving concrete results and setting good practice examples in a format accessible to other Tunisian judges who are willing to work proactively and positively influence their professional environment.
The current efforts build on the CEELI Institute’s work with Tunisian judges since 2013, in cooperation with the Swedish based International Legal Assistance Consortium. In coordination with the Tunisian Ministry of Justice, CEELI has engaged over 800 Tunisian judges through our workshop, “Judging in a Democratic Society”. That program focused on the role of a judge and the legal and social changes brought by democratic transformation, and also employed the expertise of judges from Central and Eastern European countries that have themselves negotiated the difficult transition from a totalitarian state to democracy.