طالب عبد الكريم الهاروني رئيس مجلس شورى حركة النّهضة رئيس الحكومة بالانطلاق في تفعيل صندوق الكرامة يوم 25 جويلية 2021، في ذكرى إحياء عيد الجمهورية. أثار هذا التصريح موجة من الاحتجاج والاستنكار في وقت يتطلّب تركيز كلّ الجهود والنّفقات لتجهيز المستشفيات وتوفير الأكسجين والحصول على تلاقيح لمواجهة الوباء. “موش وقته”، هكذا كانت إجابة فتحي العيّادي، الناطق باسم الحركة، في حين علّق سمير ديلو النائب عن كتلة النّهضة بقوله إنّ كلّ جهد يُبذل خارج إطار مكافحة الوباء هو من باب اللّغو”.
In a government building in downtown Tunis, protesters occupying the space recently confronted the official in charge. “Give me my right or I will set myself on fire,” screamed Akrem Labiadh on January 6, 2021.
Since 2014, the Transitional Justice process led by Tunisia’s Truth and Dignity Commission (Instance Vérité et Dignité, IVD) has been anything but steady. After a mandate of nearly five tumultuous years, the IVD completed its task in 2019 with the referral to court of at least 173 cases of serious human rights violations and corruption. It also published a comprehensive report including its findings and recommendations. Today, the report was finally published in the Official Gazette as required by Transitional Justice Law.
Wednesday 26 September was a momentous day at the court of First Instance of Gafsa. Emotions ran high as the activists and leaders of the uprising of the Gafsa Mining Basin of 2008 walked into the same court room in which they were beaten up, unfairly tried and sentenced less than 10 years ago. Only this time, they walked in through the main door as victims waiting to see the perpetrators prosecuted- not defendants accused of plotting against the state. Their only crime in 2008? Daring to peacefully protest what they considered to be unfair employment practices, nepotism and lack of transparency by the state-owned Phosphate Company of Gafsa, the region’s main – if not sole – employer.
Last Thursday, November 17, Tunisia’s Truth and Dignity Commission held the country’s first public hearings with victims of human rights violations carried out under the Bourguiba and Ben Ali regimes. Torture victims—including former political prisoners Sami Brahem and Gilbert Naccache—as well as the families of the disappeared and martyrs of the revolution testified on national television.
Following the publication of an ICTJ report on Tunisia’s Truth and Dignity Commission, Impunity Watch has presented the initial findings of a collaborative research project on victim participation in the transitional justice process. Amidst observations, analyses, and recommendations that have been presented by national and international actors in the field, the study represents the “most rigorous effort” thus far to evaluate victims’ perceptions of and roles in the undertaking of transitional justice in Tunisia.
Among the dilemmas Tunisia has been suffering is financial corruption which destroyed economy, burdened the people, widened the gap -under dictatorship- between the Haves and the Have-nots and accelerated the revolt against the mafia and the symbols of corruption in the country. The slogans of the revolution included promoting equitable development, establishing justice to the oppressed and putting the thieves on trial. Five years have passed since the dictator –Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali- fled the country(January 14, 2011), yet the politicians’s viewpoints concerning the corruption dossier are still split: a sharp debate over the economic reconciliation bill, submitted by the President Beji Caied Essebsi (March 20, 2015) and consented by the Council of Ministers (July 14, 2015), took place.
Tunisia’s decision to undertake its own transitional justice process, largely encouraged and supported by the international community, was formalized nearly two years after the departure of long-time president Zine El-Abedine Ben Ali. How the country’s path to reconciliation will be measured in a global context and how its work will impact Tunisians remains very much uncertain. In the meantime, the growing library of precedent cases offers lessons and examples for Tunisia’s truth-seeking body as it works to carry out its mission in the face of political, structural, and strategic challenges.
Even in the discourse of the world’s greatest advocates of free-market economic growth, one is hard pressed to identify substantial economic merit associated with draft law 49/2015. Indeed, the President’s incorrigible faith in reconciliation as key for economic growth appears less founded in a comprehensive economic strategy than a political one.