Reforming the judicial system in transition countries is one – crucial – task. Another involves equipping the system with appropriate tools for transnational co-operation. What in other sectors might be described as ‘interoperability’ is realized, in judicial terms, through international letters rogatory: these are legal instruments that allow a judge in one country to solicit or summon evidence in another, often as part of a criminal investigation.
In countries such as Tunisia, the race to recover embezzled funds – but also, increasingly, the fight against terrorism – requires intense cross-border collaboration. Newly empowered by the democratic system, Tunisian judges and prosecutors who trained with IDLO have voiced a need for expertise in drafting letters rogatory. On November 1st, the Organization, in partnership with the Italian Development Cooperation, published a Guide aimed at building their capacity to do just that.
Launched in Tunis in the presence of senior magistrates from the capital and northern Tunisia, the Arabic language Guide is being made available in 2,500 copies. The large print run will ensure that every magistrate has one in his or her library.
Speaking for the Tunisian Ministry of Justice, Deputy Inspector General Brahim Oueslati praised IDLO’s collaborative and tailored approach: the Guide, he noted, had benefited from the input of Tunisian experts and academics. For her part, IDLO program coordinator Namizata Meite emphasized that as well as providing institutional technical assistance, the Organization had directly built the capacity of more than 200 Tunisian justice professionals. This relationship has intensified since the Jasmine Revolution, which has seen the North African country reinvent itself as a democratic, law-based state. The awarding of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize to Tunisian civil society leaders and rule-of-law advocates has highlighted the extent to which the nation, despite challenges ranging from corruption to militancy, has put its dictatorial past behind it.
Tunisia has been an IDLO Member Party since 1991.