Tunisian truth commission, a referee for the political game

09 July 2014 by Julie Schneider, Tunis (Tunisia)

Post the Arab Spring, Tunisia stands alone in the Middle East in its commitment to transitional justice. Just three years into the revolution, it created a Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD) on 9 June, whose 15 members have a maximum of five years to document human rights violations committed from July 1955 to December 2013. But, already under pressure over allegations of political bias, the IVD will experience no honeymoon period.

The new commission will have to deal with the end of the French colonial period, the Bourguiba regime of 31 years, Ben Ali’s rule and even the post-revolution government that took his place after he left for Saudi Arabia in January 2011. This body will be tasked with compensating victims through a new “reparation fund”, and will issue recommendations for institutional reform and the preservation of the national memory. Additionally, the commissioners will have to create a panel for arbitration and reconciliation, which will be able to propose agreements between plaintiffs and authors of violations.

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