Tightening penalties for corruption crimes
Submitting a bill of law for the revision of the penal code, which includes tightening penalties for corruption crimes.
This commitment is specific as it deals only with a narrow area of the penal code: that which covers corruption crimes. The Ministry of Justice has a unique and specific interest in this commitment to accentuate the deterrence aspect of the penalties and to ensure better harmony with the international standards in the conventions and treaties signed by Tunisia.
This commitment is measurable as it is easy to determine whether penalties for corruption crimes contained in the revised penal code are stiffer those before the revision.
The national anti-corruption legal framework has provisions in several laws, including the penal code 113, penal procedures code 114 and the Organic Law No. 2015-26 of 7 August 2015 on measures to counter terrorism and money laundering.1 Despite legal reforms after the revolution and the introduction of several relevant provisions regarding corruption penalties, there are still inconsistencies and inadequacies in the areas of criminal and procedural law Tunisian legislation has adopted sentences for corruption offences ranging from one to twenty years in prison, in addition to financial sanctions. In the same context, 20-year imprisonment is given to public employees’ corruption offences as outlined by Article 84 of the penal code; and the passive corruption of the judges as detailed in Article 88 of the penal code.
No revision was made to the penal code to tighten corruption penalties despite the fact that a commission was formed to reform the penal procedures code2 and worked for five years on these reforms.
The proposals for reforms in the draft penal procedures code was officially delivered on 13 November 2019 to the justice ministry by the chair of the commission Mr Bechir Mannoubi Ferchichi.2
Challenges to effective commitment implementation
There has been no progress on this commitment as all the legislative and advocacy efforts were oriented to other laws: interests and gains declaration, protection of whistleblowers, access to information.
The existing penal code covered many corruption related crimes, hence the need to submit new reforms did not seem so urgent.
Successive governments have put the principles of good governance and countering corruption at the heart of their political agendas, but without any real work on penal code reforms.
The review of the institutional and legislative anti-corruption framework will make it possible to provide targeted and adequate solutions.
Clarify and improve the terminology used in some articles, such as in Article 91 paragraph 1 of the penal code, which does not specify the constituent elements of corruption offences but provides only the penalty as well as the introduction of new relevant items to repair defects or deficiencies in the legislative texts regulating corruption offences, such as the lack of provisions on acts of corruption committed by corporations and enterprises.
- Journal Officiel de la République Tunisienne, Loi organique n° 2015-26 du 7 août 2015, relative à la lutte contre le terrorisme et la répression du blanchiment d’argent, https://menarights.org/sites/default/files/2017-02/TUN_LoiOrganiqueLuttecontreTerrorisme_2015-26_FR.pdf7 August 2015
- GNet News, Justice : Remise des propositions pour la réforme du Code de procédure pénale, https://news.gnet.tn/justice-remise-des-propositions-pour-la-reforme-du-code-de-procedure-penale/6 December 2019