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Kais Saied chairs working session on draft amendment of Article 96 of Penal Code 

Tunisian president Kais Saied ordered the inclusion of a new provision to criminalise those who deliberately refrain from carrying out a matter related to their job in order to obstruct the functioning of the public service, as he chaired a working session on the draft amendment of Article 96 of the Penal Code at Carthage Palace Monday.

“Many people invoke Article 96 of the Penal Code to refrain from carrying out the duties entrusted to them,” it was indicated in a Presidency statement.

The President explained that this draft amendment is part of the legislative reforms aimed at achieving a balance between the objectives of criminal policy in the fight against corruption on the one hand, and not hindering administrative work and its efficiency on the other.

Accountability is a ‘popular demand’ and laws ‘should be applied to hold people accountable and not to settle scores,’ the Head of State was also quoted as saying in the same statement.

At the beginning of the meeting, the President of the Republic spoke about the original text of this article, its amendment in 1985 and the circumstances surrounding this amendment, before addressing the application of this article in several cases.

President Kais Saied raised the issue of Article 96 of the Penal Code during a meeting with the Prime Minister on December 13.

He had criticised the performance of the administration and public utilities, which he described as “strange and abnormal”, and the use of Article 96 by public officials, stressing that it would be reviewed as soon as possible.

He also held a working meeting with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Finance at Carthage Palace on December 19, during which he discussed two draft laws, one relating to the amendment of the Decree on Criminal Reconciliation and the other relating to Article 96 of the Penal Code. Both will be submitted to the Cabinet for discussion before being sent to the Assembly of People’s Representatives.

Article 96 of the current Penal Code provides for a ten-year prison sentence and fines for public officials who use their position to violate regulations to benefit themselves or others.


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