Detained for 10 years for no reason

Makala, which means “coal” in Lingala, is the central prison of Kinshasa. It is also one of Africa’s main penitentiaries: there are around 8,500 inmates in a complex of pavilions and brick and metal shacks, initially designed to accommodate 1,500 people. It is a small town, an ecosystem, where all can be valued, exchanged, and negotiated down to the floor space to sleep on. Some cells of 100 m2 house 200 inmates, many of whom sleep on the floor. They are underfed and have serious problems of malnutrition. The beatings and the ill-treatments can sometimes lead to death. The extreme overcrowding and the insecurity inevitably create conflicts which will only be handled with violence. Today, at the Makala prison, we met with F. In 2009, F. was 23 years old and lived in Ndjili, a town in the west of Kinshasa, situated close to the airport. That year, he was involved in a land dispute between his aunt and a neighbour. F. spoke as a witness. After refusing to give his aunt’s address, he was prosecuted for vandalism and sent to Makala. A few days later, he stood before a judge who was to decide on his release. Since then, he hasn’t heard from the judge. F. stayed at Makala. Like many others, he sunk into oblivion, lost in in the prison’s handwritten records. F. has therefore been arbitrarily detained for 10 years, without ever being judged. For vandalism. A few weeks ago, one of ASF’s partner lawyers came across F. After a little searching, he discovered that, in 2012, a magistrate had closed the case without further action. Thus, F. should have been released. However, without communication between the prosecution and the prison administration, no one had been informed of the decision allowing his release. F. spent 10 years of his life in prison, in atrocious conditions. In a few weeks, F. will be released*. But in Makala, there are hundreds of people in this situation: nearly 80% of inmates are in pre-trial detention. So, what are the solutions? First of all, it is necessary to cut loose the old remedies that give priority to the construction of prisons, legal reforms, and training for judges. On the latter point alone, experience shows that the magistrates generally know the principles of criminal procedure under domestic law. These measures have no proven impact on improving the criminal justice system. Next, the main causes of the abusive use of pre-trial detention must be recognized. ASF’s experience highlights the hidden motives of actors in the criminal system who pursue specific goals, which are occasionally in contradiction with the norm. Included in these motives, cumulatively or not, is the following:
  • Political motives: the order comes from “above” and pre-trial detention makes it possible to exclude dissenting voices. This was particularly the case in the Congolese pre-electoral context;
  • Repressive motives: Pre-trial detention is excessively activated, consciously or not, to control behaviour, rather than to facilitate the investigation of a criminal case;
  • Economic motives: Public action is diverted in order to obtain economic benefits. This misappropriation takes the form of extortion, possibly hidden by a legal measure (transactional fine, security,…).
Finally, all action towards the change must take into account the complex nature of the logics and interactions that drive actors within the criminal justice system to apply or deviate from the rules. In terms of action, this includes:
  • considering the population as a lever of change to positively influence criminal practices;
  • establishing a regular consultation with all actors in the criminal system
  • integrating civil society as an influential actor aimed at challenging and empowering actors in the penal system on an ongoing basis in serious cases of human rights violations
In concrete terms, to defend cases like that of F.’s, ASF and its partners bring appeals before national courts, conducting advocacy campaigns and supporting the organisation of citizen action. But to increase the impact, it is necessary to act continuously, through a network of action led by activist lawyers, academics, and members of civil society. This network is being created through ASF’s action, both in the DRC and internationally. To keep watch and to fight, but most importantly so that forgotten inmates such as F. can be defended, and their rights be restored. *F. has been eventually been released. We are now working to help him obtain reparations. Bruno Langhendries     Continue reading “Detained for 10 years for no reason”

Joint Statement: Case submission to the French NPC to establish transparency on the Perenco Group’s activities in Tunisia

ASF and I Watch are united in promoting the principles of respect and protection of human rights in the context of the business industry. In this context, on the 26 July 2018, we brought the activities of the Perenco Group in the governorate of Kebili in Tunisia, and their compliance with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, to the attention of the French National Contact Point (NCP) of the OECD. These principles set out standards of conduct that companies must adopt in terms of respect for human rights, the environment, workers’ rights, the fight against corruption and taxation. France and Tunisia have both adhered to these principles. Accession binds States to establish a National Contact Point in order to ensure that multinational companies promote and respect the guidelines. The NCPs also act as an extra-judicial mechanism of dispute resolution, dealing with complaints or “specific instances,” which any interested person may file in relation to the conduct of a corporation in light of the OECD principles. The referral is primarily motivated by a concern for transparency on the extractive activities carried out by the group around the hydrocarbon wells located in the delegations of El Faouar and Douz, in the Kebili region, and which are the subject of concession contracts between the Tunisian State and the Perenco group. These sites are regularly targeted by social movements from local populations, who are concerned about the impact that these activities have or may have on health and the environment. After having tried, to no avail, to get in touch with the Tunisian subsidiary of the Perenco Group in order to gather information on its activities and to initiate a dialogue process, ASF and I Watch turned to the French NCP to establish a framework of dialogue. In this way, we attempted to address the lack of information on the nature of activities carried out on these sites, assess the risks they may pose to human rights and the environment, and the measures taken by the company to prevent and mitigate these risks. ASF and I Watch regret that more than a year has already passed since the referral, due to the company’s initial refusal to recognize French NCP’s territorial jurisdiction. However, we welcome the company’s change of position, announced on December 6th 2019 in the French NCP’s press release, bringing to a close the initial assessment phase. We note, however, that the NCP has paid disproportionate attention to the various legal arrangements resulting in the “Tunisian branch under Cayman Islands law”, in spite of both the reality of the link between the France-based entity and its Tunisian branch, and the spirit of the Guiding Principles. We hope, under the auspices of the French NCP, to be able to engage with the Perenco Group in an open discussion on its due diligence system in Tunisia, its tax obligations towards the Tunisian State and the necessary inclusion of the populations living near its business sites in decisions affecting their rights and environment. Press contact – International : Simon Mallet, Press contact – Tunisia: Zeineb Mrouki (ASF Tunisia), ; Manel Ben Achour (I WATCH), You can find the arabic version of the press release here. Continue reading “Joint Statement: Case submission to the French NPC to establish transparency on the Perenco Group’s activities in Tunisia”

Keys for access to justice in the Central African Republic

Access to justice is a serious problem in the Central African Republic. That is the key finding in a study Avocats sans Frontières has just published. Analysis of the situation on the ground has revealed difficulties in access to lawyers and to a state justice system of adequate quality. Those are the reasons why citizens avoid the formal state system, and instead, turn to local chiefs, religious leaders, non governmental organisations and others. ASF recommends that development agencies draft and implement robust strategies to achieve sustainable improvements. And for them to be successful, these strategies must include all the actors involved, both formal and informal.

Inadequate state justice system

The justice system in the CAR was already fragile before the crisis in 2013. It subsequently collapsed. State tribunals are sparse outside the capital, making it very difficult to get access to legal help. Security services often set themselves up as the primary handlers of legal aid. However, they do not have the requisite competences, and they handle cases internally. Furthermore, there are many reports of corruption, extortion, intimidation and random detentions in the course of their activities.

Lack of access to lawyers

The cost of legal services, the lack of points of access, and the type of case lawyers prefer to handle (mainly relating to property and business), means that most citizens simply cannot get affordable access to legal services. Nevertheless, they trust lawyers. Citizens say they are willing to take their cases to lawyers, providing the legal services available are affordable.

Informal systems are a widespread alternative

Given the lack of access to formal services, many citizens turn to neighbourhood alternatives to resolve disputes. Village chiefs, neighbourhood chiefs, and religious leaders are among those solicited. These avenues are more accessible than formal systems, but there are nevertheless problems. There are conflicts regarding competences, and confusion among the chiefs administering justice. There have also been reports of discrimination, corruption and intimidation in the exercise of such alternative systems.

Recommendation: treat the problems holistically

ASF has observed that many strategies to remedy the situation are limited to improving official state systems. It recommends that actors such as major donors wanting to improve accessibility to justice treat current problems holistically. That means involving both formal and informal structures in order to create stable, sustainable systems. The reality on the ground is that there are established informal structures. Any strategy that does not involve them will fail. Avocats sans Frontières has carried out numerous projects in CAR since 2015. This report is its latest contribution to attaining and promoting better access to justice in the country. To read more about these studies, follow this link.
Photos © ASF / Gaïa Fisher – Cynthia Benoist
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Human rights organisations have become indispensable actors in Chad

N’Djamena, 27 June 2019 – In Chad, ASF supports human rights organisations (HROs) with the aim of increasing the impact and scope of their activities. Last March, we went to meet individuals, local authorities, legal actors, and members of HROs, to get their opinions on the work that HROs do. In the interviews, which were carried out in Bongor, Moundou, and Sarh, everyone who was questioned expressed a high level of satisfaction with the activities of HROs. People praised the awareness-raising campaigns carried out by HROs and the individual assistance they provide, which enable them not only to be more aware of their rights, which were previously little-known, but also to receive invaluable assistance with writing their complaints and petitions. They hope to see the activities of HROs throughout the country intensified and expanded. As one beneficiary put it: “Through guidance, advice, and awareness-raising, human rights defenders really help everyone who request their services. We are feeling our way and it’s the HROs that help us.” Though they admit having had some reservations about HROs in the past, neighbourhood leaders, police chiefs, and other provincial authorities now recognise that there is a convergence between their mission and that of HROs, namely in ensuring the safety of people and their property. Some described HROs as “a compass that guides us in our mission”, while others highlighted their “remarkable work”. They hope to see an intensification of the activities of HROs and the strengthening and improvement of their collaboration with them. The work of judges and court clerks is simplified by the work of HROs. They observe that people who have contact with HROs before starting legal proceedings are better prepared for hearings. They have a better understanding of their rights, are better able to navigate the procedures, are equipped with complaints and petitions that are of higher quality, and are better able to answer the questions they are asked. One court clerk who was interviewed, nonetheless, warned against the practices of some members of HROs, who sometimes push people to initiate proceedings that they are unwilling to undertake, or who are not impartial. Prosecutors say that the work of HROs compliments their own: “In my opinion, the presence of HROs in the field is an advantage for judges. The judge is confined to an office; it’s the human rights defender who provides them with more information about misconduct. The judge considers that before initiating public prosecution. It’s thanks to human rights defenders that we learn about the horrible practices that occur in remote parts of Chad.” Some prosecutors, nonetheless, urge HROs to be prudent and to verify their information, because claims can sometimes be erroneous. As for the members of HROs who were interviewed, they say that, although relations with the authorities in some regions remain antagonistic, an improvement and an openness to dialogue has nonetheless been observed. They express frustration that a lack of understanding of their role continues to cause conflict with some authorities and creates confusion among the people. They intend to intensify their activities to combat this problem and to increase the number of people they help, but they are also very aware that all such activities will be limited by their budgetary constraints. These interviews were carried out by the Collectif des Associations de Défense des Droits de l’Homme au Tchad, with technical support from ASF, and funded by the European Union and the Embassy of France in Chad.   >> Download the full photoreport    Photographs © CADH & Saturnin Asnan Non-Doum for the CADH and ASF Continue reading “Human rights organisations have become indispensable actors in Chad”

Doubt and hope: young people’s views on local governance in Tunisia

Tunis, 22 May 2018 – For nearly three years, ASF and I Watch have been assisting the involvement and constructive participation of Tunisian citizens in local governance relating to natural resources. A survey of young people’s views was carried out in the mining regions of Tataouine and Medenine. Analysis of the results reveals their lack of trust in political institutions in the run-up to the municipal elections that took place on 6 May. The wave of unrest that struck Tunisia in 2011 continues to affect the country, especially the southern regions, which still face many social, economic, and environmental challenges. Despite their vast potential in terms of natural resources, they are experiencing high levels of unemployment and pollution, as well as the worrying phenomenon of desertification. Young people, who stand to suffer the most from this situation, have started numerous social movements demanding more transparency and accountability from companies, both public and private, and fairer distribution of the wealth derived from the exploitation of natural resources. Through this field survey, they expressed their vision, hopes, and expectations. The survey had two objectives: to give a voice to young citizens of Tataouine and Medenine on the subject of local democracy and the sustainable management of resources, and to make local elected officials aware of the level of trust that young people have in local and national institutions. Between November and December 2017, 650 people aged 18 to 35 were surveyed in the two governorates. One thing that emerged from most of the answers was the serious lack of trust that those surveyed have in state institutions and political parties, the sole exception being those at a local level, in which their trust is relatively high. Though young people feel a strong sense of belonging to their regions and to their nation, they are not very optimistic about the future of their country. The majority of them have little hope that their living conditions will improve over the next three years. Despite the low rate of registration for the municipal elections (45%), they are conscious of the importance of participative democracy. The dubious transparency of the elections, however, and the shortage of information due to the lack of debate in public and in the media, hinder their involvement in social and political matters. Despite natural resources being the most important sector in terms of economic development, there is a widespread lack of knowledge about them. Among young people, 69% have a negative view of the way resources are currently managed and think that the government is failing in its duty to control and oversee extractive activities. Despite this general mistrust, the vast majority of young people surveyed still have faith in collective action and civic engagement. 58% of them indicated that they were prepared to be personally involved in the struggle for transparency in the energy sector. ASF and IWatch advocate putting in place mechanisms for participative democracy and open government, in order to improve knowledge and promote involvement by all. The Tunisian state must toughen its controls on the management of extractive activities, while civil society organisations, trade unions, and political parties must have more of a presence and be more accessible in the southern regions, in order to provide young people with a structured framework for political participation and community involvement.
The survey was officially presented in Tunis on 27 April © ASF
>> Download the survey Les élections municipales dans les régions extractives : le regard de la jeunesse sur la gouvernance locale (“Municipal elections in mining regions: young people’s views on local governance”)
Cover picture: the survey took the form of a questionnaire and was carried out face-to-face © ASF
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Human rights: Tunisia under scrutiny

Tunis, 2 May 2017 – Tunisia is today presenting its human rights record at the Universal Periodic Review initiated by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Avocats Sans Frontières, along with other civil society organisations, has contributed to the event by means of an alternative report. ASF is in particular calling for the withdrawal of the economic and financial reconciliation bill that would enable the legal proceedings against corruption, launched since the departure of the former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali six years ago, to be closed down. The aim of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is to examine the human rights situation of United Nations Member States every four years. This is the third time that Tunisia has been subject to this review. The process consists of a peer review (by the other States) of the country’s fulfilment of its commitments to respecting and promoting human rights. National and international civil society contributes to this process by writing alternative reports that are taken into account during the examination. Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) is one of the NGOs that contributed to this report. In conjunction with five of its partners,* it shared a number of concerns regarding the transition to democracy and establishing the rule of law in Tunisia with the United Nations Human Rights Council. In particular, ASF calls on the Tunisian State to go still further to combat impunity, which should be one of the main priorities following the revolution. The so-called ‘economic reconciliation’ bill that was introduced in 2015 and is again being debated in Parliament today is not an encouraging sign in this regard. If adopted, it would grant amnesty to directors, civil servants and businessmen accused of corruption or misuse of funds. The thousands of legal proceedings launched since 2011 would be abandoned, stripping transitional justice of its substance along with its mechanisms for uncovering the truth, for arbitration, mediation, reparation, institutional reform and for ensuring that the crimes of the past will not be repeated. In addition to strongly calling for this bill to be withdrawn, ASF and the other organisations that drew up the report have highlighted the need to guarantee the freedoms of opinion, speech, association, assembly and demonstration, to abolish the death penalty and the use of torture, and to guarantee and protect the equality of women and the LGBTI community and prevent discrimination against them. The result of the UPR is a document that lists recommendations for the State in question to implement, which must then be demonstrated at the next review. All the documents regarding Tunisia’s current and previous examinations are available on the website of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. * The International Federation of Human Rights, the World Organisation Against Torture and the Tunisian organisations Doustourna, the Association for the Defence of Individual Freedoms and the Tunisian Association for Justice and Equality.
Picture: “There is much left to do…” The civil society organisations are more mobilised than ever in working to guarantee the respect of human rights in Tunisia.
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ASF receives the International Henri La Fontaine Prize

Brussels, 12 December 2016 – At an official ceremony at the Parliament of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels on 9 December, ASF received the International Henri La Fontaine Prize 2016 for its work in defending values such as humanism and social justice. The International Henri La Fontaine Prize for Humanism takes its name from the Belgian international lawyer who chose pacifism as a way to have an impact on society. Henri La Fontaine was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1913. Established by the Fondation Henri La Fontaine, this prize is intended to honour persons, institutions or public or private organisations which make significant contributions to the defence, transmission and realisation of the values defended by Henri La Fontaine. The Honorary President of the Prize 2016 is the writer Amin Maalouf, member of the French Academy. The Prize was presented at the Parliament of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels, in Brussels, in the presence of the Secretary of the Parliament, Mrs. Christiane Vienne and the Secretary of State to the Brussels-Capital Region, Mrs Fadila Laanan. During the ceremony, the Board of the Fondation Henri La Fontaine praised the work of ASF, represented by Pierre Legros, founding member of the organisation. “We are very honoured to receive this Prize,” announced Chantal van Cutsem, ASF Strategic Coordinator at the event. “It encourages us to continue our work in the defence and promotion of human rights, access to justice and the rule of law.” The Henri La Fontaine Prize 2016 was shared between ASF and the secular organisation Maison de Laïcité de Kinshasa, which was awarded a cheque for 10,000 euros. In 2007 ASF received the first Human Rights Award from the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE). ASF celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2017. Continue reading “ASF receives the International Henri La Fontaine Prize”

Lawyering for Change: implementing change through law: an international challenge

Brussels, 12 December 2016 – Over 250 participants, including fifty speakers from fifteen different countries around the world, met in Brussels for ASF’s Lawyering for Change conference. The aim: to develop the idea of change through lawyering together. The event highlighted the need to widen the role of lawyers and to enable those seeking justice to take greater action in a global situation where millions of people in both hemispheres have no access to justice. This lack of access to justice is an obstacle to socio-economic development and to the rule of law, in that these people seeking justice have no way of asserting their rights. “In view of this disturbing reality, we wanted to examine the role of lawyers and of civil society. This was our starting point for the Lawyering for Change conference,” explains Bruno Langhendries, access to justice expert at ASF. On 31 November and 1 December 2016, over 250 professionals came together in Brussels: lawyers, representatives of bar associations (including DRC, Burundi, Central African Republic, Tunisia, Nepal and Belgium) and of civil society, researchers and development specialists. Through plenary sessions and eight thematic workshops, everyone had the chance to discuss their experiences and debate key challenges such as helping people seeking justice, strategic litigation, the need to influence policies related to access to justice or the link between access to justice and sustainable development. Two trends seemed to emerge from these debates. First, according to Mr Langhendries, “in order to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people seeking justice, the lawyer of tomorrow will have to interact more closely with other stakeholders, such as para legals, doctors or social support services.” Finally, legal empowerment is a significant factor for change in the struggle to create better access to justice. “People and communities seeking justice must be given the opportunity to act to make their rights a reality“, believes the ASF expert. A full report on the sessions and workshops will be published on the ASF website before the end of December. ASF would like to thank all participants, speakers, sponsors and supporters for their contribution to the conference. Pictures of the conference are available on our Flick account. Continue reading “Lawyering for Change: implementing change through law: an international challenge”

Central African Republic: Support the Special Criminal Court

Brussels, 16 November 2016 – Donor countries meeting in Brussels on 17 November, should support the Central African Republic’s Special Criminal Court, 17 Central African and international human rights non-governmental organizations said in a declaration today. The donors should provide technical, financial, and political support for the court and its mandate to end impunity for crimes under international law, the groups said. On November 17, 2016, the European Union will host a conference in Brussels to discuss funding priorities for the Central African Republic. In June 2015, the Central African Republic’s government adopted a law to create the court to pave the way to justice for victims, but the court has yet to become operational. “The Central African Republic has been the theater of repeated cycles of horrific abuse for over a decade, without any consequences for those responsible,” the human rights organizations said. “Donors should back efforts aimed at making the Special Criminal Court operational to break this vicious cycle of impunity, and the Central African authorities should show leadership in following through.” After nearly a decade of intermittent conflict, in late 2012, the Central African Republic spiraled into violence, with armed groups known as the Seleka and anti-Balaka committing serious abuses against civilians including murder, sexual violence, and destruction of property, which led to massive displacement. In October, tensions erupted again, with displacement camps in the center of the country attacked and scores of civilians shot, stabbed or burned to death. In 2014, the then-transitional government referred the situation in the Central African Republic since August 1, 2012 to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, opened an investigation in September 2014. The government’s cooperation with the ICC is critical, but the ICC’s investigation, which is ongoing, will most likely only target only a handful of suspects. The Special Criminal Court, with its proposed international and national staff, is critical to address more than a decade of serious crimes and help strengthen the justice system overall. The organizations supporting the declaration are:
  • Action des chrétiens contre la torture (ACAT – RCA)
  • Amnesty International
  • Association des femmes juristes de Centrafrique (AFJC)
  • Association des victimes de la LRA en Centrafrique (AVLRAC)
  • Avocats Sans Frontières
  • Civis et démocratie (CIDEM)
  • Commission episcopale Justice et Paix
  • Enough Project
  • Fédération Internationale des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH)
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Lead-Centrafrique
  • Ligue centrafricaine des droits de l’Homme (LCDH)
  • Mouvement pour la défense des droits de l’Homme et de l’action humanitaire (MDDH)
  • Observatoire centrafricain des droits de l’Homme (OCDH)
  • Observatoire pour la promotion de l’Etat de Droit – OPED
  • Parliamentarians for Global Action
Photo: © P. Holtz
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National congress on transitional justice opens in Tunisia

ASF, the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) and the Independent National Coordination on Transitional Justice will host a national congress to relaunch the transitional justice process in Tunisia, on 2 and 3 November 2016 in Tunis, with the participation of the Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD). The congress will bring together the IVD, civil society, public bodies and authorities, MPs, policy-makers and victims associations to debate the state of the transition process and to draw up recommendations* for taking it forward. ASF Country Director, Antonio Manganella, and his transitional justice team, Brahim Ben Taleb and Magda El Haitem (picture), explain the motivations for organising the congress. What is the transitional justice process in Tunisia? In the aftermath of the Revolution (2011), the transitional authorities and civil society considered it essential to put in place a process to help uncover the truth about serious human rights violations (committed in particular under the Ben Ali regime), but also to deliver justice, to guarantee reparations for victims and, above all, to guarantee that such atrocities will not be repeated. Tunisia’s new Constitution imposes an obligation on the State to apply the transitional justice system in all areas. In 2013, the Constituent Assembly adopted a law establishing specialised chambers to judge the perpetrators of serious human rights violations, as well as a Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD). The IVD began its work in May 2014. The specialised chambers are not yet operational. What are the specific features of the Tunisian context? Tunisia’s history is not limited to an authoritarian regime and serious violations of civil and political rights. The Tunisian context has been strongly marked by violations of economic and social rights and the marginalisation of certain regions, especially the Kasserine region, for which ASF and FTDES submitted a file to the IVD on 16 June 2015. Recent protest movements in Tunisia are a resurgence of these past traumas, which are not being addressed in a timely manner. The fight against corruption and nepotism, the promotion of economic and social rights and access to development are essential questions that must be addressed to rebuild the population’s trust in institutions and ultimately to help restore the rule of law. Why this congress and why now? Since 2013, the transitional justice process has run into a number of obstacles. Civil society, which nonetheless spearheaded its establishment, has gradually shown a lack of interest, or even in some cases opposition to the process, particularly against the IVD, which must conclude its work by spring 2017. Over time, there has been a pronounced split between civil society and the transitional justice mechanisms, including the IVD. This phenomenon has been amplified by delays in setting up the specialised chambers. In addition, for over a year, the tunisian political sphere seems increasingly to be withdrawing from the transitional justice process, even presenting proposals that could seriously obstruct establishing the truth. Discussions of the law on economic and financial reconciliation have been particularly troubling in this regard. The congress is being held at a pivotal moment in the transitional justice process in Tunisia, with the aim of rekindling it and ensuring that it leads to satisfactory results. Who is participating in the congress and how will it be organised? The organisers intend to allow a free and constructive dialogue among participants. The congress will be organised primarily around nine workshops on key issues related to transitional justice, notably on establishing the truth, combating impunity, reparations and the need to address the situation of women. Each workshop will bring together members of the IVD, representatives of civil society, experts, members of public bodies and authorities, judges, lawyers, MPs, policy-makers and journalists. What does this congress hope to achieve ? The congress aims first and foremost to renew dialogue, even if it is critical of the process, in order to put the transitional justice process as a whole back on track. The idea is to bring the players back to the table, to create constructive discussions between the IVD and civil society, but also with official authorities including different ministries, judges, lawyers and the media, which play a role at various levels in the transitional justice process in Tunisia. It is hoped that the congress will conclude with the adoption of practical recommendations* for putting the process back on track in a more inclusive and effective manner. The full programme for the congress is available here in French and in Arabic. Only the opening session is open to the public, subject to prior registration. For additional information, please contact Haifa Gebs: * The recommandations are now also available, in French and in Arabic. You can also read this article in Arabic.
Picture (from left to right): Brahim Ben Taleb, Antonio Manganella and Magda El Haitem, explain ASF’s motivations for organising the congress © ASF/H. Gebs
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