Tunisia: NPWJ welcomes the adoption of the legislation on transitional justice, but cautions on final stages of the process

16 Dec, 2013 | Press Releases

Brussels-Rome, 16 December 2013

On 14 December 2013, the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly adopted the Transitional Justice Legislation, concluding a legislative process that started in late January this year. The process included the national dialogue on transitional justice, which was conducted from April to October 2012. No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ), in partnership with Al-Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center (KADEM), contributed substantially to the national dialogue and the drafting process through a range of activities under the Transitional Justice Academy. The purpose of the activities was to ensure the Tunisia authorities involved all segments of Tunisian society, including victims and affected communities, in drafting the transitional justice legislation.

Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice:

“Three years after the revolution that ousted former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia has adopted crucial legislation for its democratic transition: this legislation reaffirms Tunisia’s commitment to provide accountability and redress for victims of human rights violations. NPWJ and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) welcome the legislation’s adoption and the participatory approach that was followed for its initial drafting by the Human Rights and Transitional Justice Ministry.

“The national dialogue on transitional justice launched by the Ministry engaged the population through consultations around the country and contributed to fostering a sense of ownership among Tunisians. This dialogue was facilitated by the Commission for the Transitional Justice National Dialogue, of which KADEM and the Transitional Justice Academy were one of the five civil society members. The Commission prepared draft legislation on transitional justice that was submitted to the Government in November 2012 and by the Government to the Constituent Assembly last January.

“Tunisia has chosen the right path by following a participatory approach during the initial stages of preparation of the legislation. However, the difficulties with the current political situation in the country and the pressure to finalise the Tunisian Constitution seem to have had a negative impact on the work of the Constituent Assembly. This legislative body did not consult sufficiently on the draft legislation, which was adopted in only two days. Civil society had some possibility to engage with members of the Constituent Assembly informally, but discussions on the Friday and Saturday before adoption were hectic and concluded very late on the second day. This hampered the contributions civil society could have made during these last stages, which is really a shame given how open and participatory the process had been until this point.

“The legislation on transitional justice is an important step forward in Tunisian democratic transition and its effective implementation will influence considerably the results of the transitional justice mechanisms. The legislation envisages the establishment of a Commission on Truth and Dignity, of which the Constituent Assembly will elect the Commissioners. NPWJ and the NRPTT call on the Constituent Assembly to involve all relevant stakeholders, including civil society, through an open and transparent process. The election of competent and independent Commissioners through a fair process will be the next key step to ensure the legitimacy of the Commission on Truth and Dignity: it is critical that the Constituent Assembly engage the Tunisian population in this decision affecting their lives.”

For further information, please contact Greta Barbone on gbarbone@npwj.org or +39 06 68979262 or Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32 2 548-39 15.

For more information about NPWJ and KADEM’s work on transitional justice in Tunisia, please click here