Tunisia’s economic reconciliation bill: an open door to corruption?
Tunis, 15 July 2016 – During a press conference in Tunis, ASF and other Tunisian and international NGOs have renewed their call on Tunisian MPs not to enact the economic reconciliation bill. This bill, which aims to grant an amnesty to those responsible for the embezzlement of public funds or acts of corruption, runs contrary to the transitional process of justice put in place immediately after the Tunisian Revolution.
A principal cause of inequality and social injustice, corruption was also one of the defining phenomena of the dictatorial system overthrown by the revolution. For this reason, the fight against corruption in Tunisia assumes major importance: those who contributed to promoting and maintaining a system that allowed a privileged elite to amass riches at the expense of the whole country must make amends. It is by addressing the past and providing a response to the need for justice that it will be possible to move forwards towards democracy and the rule of law.
One year on from the presidential initiative proposing the draft bill on economic reconciliation, the bill has just been introduced, as a priority, to the Committee on General Legislation [Commission de la législation générale] in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People despite strong opposition from civil society and a backlash in public opinion. It is, therefore, appropriate to consider what the national priorities are in terms of the institutional reforms required for a transition towards democracy and the rule of law.
More than 65,000 victims, who fought against the regime alongside civil society organisations, have expressed their desire for justice, truth and a break with the past by bringing their case before the Truth and Dignity Commission responsible for dealing with the crimes of the past. The passing of such a bill would damage the transitional justice process, and, thus, all Tunisians who in January 2011 forced the radical changes that were admired around the world. In their name, the Representatives of the People must honour their mandate by refusing to adopt this bill and demonstrate a real will to fight against impunity and reinforce the rule of law.
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