The U.S. State Department has just issued its 2017 Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction under the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA). The following is the Country Summary and related information from the thirteenth country listed as “Noncompliant” in the report, Tunisia:
Country Summary: Tunisia does not adhere to any protocols with respect to international parental child abduction. In 2016, Tunisia demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the competent authorities in Tunisia failed to work with us to successfully resolve open cases. As a result of this failure, 50 percent of requests for the return of abducted children have remained unresolved for more than 12 months. On average these cases have been unresolved for more than 4 years. Tunisia has been cited as non-compliant since 2014.
Central Authority: In 2016, the competent authorities in Tunisia worked closely with the United States to discuss ways to improve the resolution of pending abduction cases. Nonetheless, none of the pending abduction cases were able to reach resolution through the Tunisian legal system in 2016. Moreover, the competent authorities repeatedly failed to reply to requests from the Department of State to explain Tunisia’s system of law regarding IPCA cases.
Location: The Department of State did not request assistance with location from the Tunisian authorities.
Judicial Authorities: While some abduction cases were adjudicated in favor of the U.S. citizen left-behind parent, the lack of clear legal procedures for addressing international parental child abduction cases under Tunisian law makes it very difficult for Tunisia to address these cases successfully.
Enforcement: Judicial decisions in IPCA cases in Tunisia were not enforced unless the taking parent voluntarily complied with a local court order. Moreover, there were two cases (accounting for 100 percent of the cases filed with the FCA) where Tunisian law enforcement authorities have failed to enforce a court order for over two years.
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue its efforts to persuade Tunisia to accede to the Convention. The Department also recommends an emphasis on preventing abductions.