Tunisian truth commission opens despite internal turmoil

17 December 2014 by Julie Schneider, Tunis (Tunisia)

Tunisia’s Truth and Dignity Commission (TCD) began its work on Monday, opening two weeks later than originally planned. The commission will have a maximum of five years to undertake the painstaking research work needed to document economic abuses and human rights violations allegedly committed by the state from July 1955 through December 2013 [IJT-163]. Plaintiffs are expected to lodge complaints up until 14 December 2015, in the form of written and in-person testimonies, and the TCD will be able to access government archives.

Known in French as the Instance Vérité et Dignité (IVD), the commission is widely regarded as a key achievement of Tunisia’s transition following the fall of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. But since launching in June, it has met one obstacle after another. Three of its 15 members have already resigned, with two still unreplaced. 

Last to leave was human rights activist Noura Borsali. Publicizing her departure in a post on her Facebook page on 10 November, she denounced the “exploitation” of transitional justice, which, she wrote, “to be successful must be free of political allegiances”. Echoing many NGOs in Tunisia, Borsali called for a revision of the law passed a year ago to create the commission.

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

article
19 February 2007 by Laetitia Grotti

One year ago on January 6, 2006, the 17 members of Morocco's Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER) were closing up shop after submitting their final report to King Mohammed VI. The Moroccan truth commission had received a flood of compliments from the international community praising the recommendations in its report, especially those advocating legislative and constitutional reforms. One year later, however, the results have been rather mixed.

article
11 September 2006 by our correspondent in Arusha

After having tried high-ranking officers, ministers, businessmen, priests, journalists, local officials and militiamen, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is in uncharted waters. On September 11, the most famous rwandese troubadour of his generation will stand trial for genocide. 

article
23 October 2006 by Christine Chaumeau

China is keeping a polite distance from international criminal justice. Beijing is hardly disinterested, but China does want to make sure that these new global mechanisms are not going to infringe upon its sovereignty by delving into particularly sensitive cases such as Tibet. 

article
United Nations Operation in Burundi disarms rebel forces in Mbanda in February 2005 (Photo: Flickr/UN Photo/Martine Perret)
03 June 2015 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Over the last month, Burundi has hit the headlines as the president put himself forward to be elected for a controversial third term, resulting in street protests, thousands of refugees who fled instability and an attempted coup. Behind the issues of elections and constitutionalism are also those of justice following Burundi’s long-running civil war. The international community supported an intensive process of negotiation and the signing of the Arusha Accord in 2000. But in the decade and a half since, its provisions on justice have been debated though never fully implemented.

article
06 November 2006 by Pierre Hazan

France's attitude towards international criminal justice is marked by ambiguity. Paris subscribes to a vision of the world in which international humanitarian law is considered a way to curb violence against civilian populations, but at the same time it is wary of an unchecked judicial system that could end up prosecuting French soldiers engaged in areas where it has old and deep-rooted interests.