Transition takes time. But Tunisia can move fast. Sharing experiences with international experts is one way of quickly finding good international practice, says judge Cristi Danilet, one of the CEELI Institute experts on ILAC Training of Tunisian judges programme.
The ILAC judicial training of Tunisian judges, implemented by CEELI Institutet and IBA continues successfully. When CEELI institute conducted the latest session within the program, 2-5 June, judge Cristi Danilet was one of the international experts. This was judge Danilets second appearance on the program, and he sees both similarities and differences between the sessions.
Earlier this year you said that coming to Tunisia was “a Romanian deja vu”. Why is that?
– Simply because the issues and needs of Tunisian justice are the same as the Romanian justice 24 years ago, when the revolution in Romania has moved the society from dictatorship to the democracy. We had the same problemes: interferences of politics in justice, lack of press freedom, mistrust of people in authority and justice, judges without courage, corrupt or poorly trained magistrates. There were many cases to be solved, slow processes, low salaries for judges, lack of staff, old legislation, etc etc.
If you compare with Romania. How would you describe the future for the Tunisian transition?
– Tunisia does not have to wait 24 years to see the results of a justice reform, or even 50 years to reach the level of U.S. justice. I think experienced trainers brought from U.S and European states can be useful for Tunisian magistrates and government. That way Tunisia can quickly learn how to overcome problems and find international good practices.
What are the key elements in order for Tunisia to have a successful transitional development?
– I think Tunisia needs leadership. And in the first session in February and the second session in June I identified a few judges with `back-bones` and vision. It’s already starting to build a culture of independence and accountability of justice.
What is the next step in this process?
– Now, magistrates need to enter into dialogue with the executive and legislative, and especially with civil society. Magistrates have become reference points for people and have support efforts to modernize society and to fight against corruption.
Earlier this year the Stockholm Policy Group published a Midterm Review on the ILAC programme Training of Tunisian Judges, stating that the start of the programme has been “fast and flexible”. Read more and download the Midterm Review here.