July 24, 2020
Tunisia : The Truth and Dignity Commission report available in English !
On July 24th 2020, the Truth and Dignity Commission’s (IVD) final report has finally been published in a special issue of the Official Gazette of the Tunisian Republic. This report concludes the Commission’s work, which included the hearings of nearly 62.000 victims, the transfer of 204 cases to specialized criminal chambers in charge of prosecuting the perpetrators of human rights’ violations and economic crimes. Its mandate covered crimes committed between July 1955 and December 2013, date of the promulgation of the organic law n°53-2013 on establishing and organizing transitional justice. In its final report, in addition to establishing historical facts, the IVD drew a list of victims of the revolution entitled to receive reparation, as well as recommendations to the Tunisian state to undertake structural reforms. The report especially addresses governance and corruption issues with a reparation plan for “victim regions”.
The publication of this document comes one year after the announcement by the IVD of the finalization of its report. In accordance with article 67 of the organic law on transitional justice, the IVD had handed over the report to the President of the Republic, the Head of the Assembly of People’s Representatives (APR), the President of the High Judicial Council and the Head of government on March 27th 2019. Its publication in the official gazette was essential to trigger the follow-up phase, including the development of a government’s action plan and the creation of a specific parliamentary commission to monitor its implementation. The delay to publish the report was in breach of both the organic law and the Constitution, which article 148(9) states that “[t]he State undertakes to apply the transitional justice system in all its domains and according to the deadlines prescribed by the relevant legislation.”
The completion of this first phase was commended by both the IVD and civil society organisations, organised in a coalition since 2016, to ensure that the process was on track and its integrity preserved. Transitional Justice is indeed key in the political transition initiated after the revolution and the fall of Ben Ali’s regime. Over the last five years, the Tunisian civil society has played a decisive role in overcoming the odds faced by the IVD and the overall transitional justice process. The civil society remains committed to contribute to the diffusion of the IVD report, in collaboration with the government and the APR, alongside the strengthening of the specialized criminal chambers to fight against impunity..
The executive summary of the report is also available in English on the IVD website.