Tunisia: The Struggle for Accountability for Past Human Rights Violations Must Continue

Few months left for victims to receive long-awaited justice and accountability for gross human rights violations.

The Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD) was created in 2014, with the promise of addressing five decades of human rights violations in Tunisia. Victims of gross violations await justice in the prosecution of perpetrators and the government’s commitment to deter future abuses.

More than 62,000 victims of human rights violations have entrusted the IVD with justice for crimes that have remained unpunished for decades. And, in March 2018, the Commission began its referral of cases to the specialized criminal chambers.

But since the creation of this mechanism, Tunisian authorities have been trying to obstruct its work. Government agencies refused to allow the IVD to access police and military archives, and Parliament threatened to cut the work of the IVD short during a highly contested vote.

Although the Government recently committed to give the commission the necessary time to finalize its work, there is still a lack of guarantees to ensure that trials happen in an independent and transparent manner without obstruction or pressure.

Our wounds cannot heal without achieving justice for Nabil.

Ridha Barakati, whose brother Nabil was killed by security forces in 1987

Waiting for Justice

“We’ve put our last hope in the specialized criminal courts. Those responsible must be brought to justice – it’s the only way to guarantee this never happens again.” Amine Al-Madyoun, 26, thrown into a burning fire by security officers on 14 January 2011.
Shadliyya Arafawi, mother of Yehia Boukari, 20-year-old who was shot in the thigh on 13 January 2011
Hassan Ayari, 67 years old, father of Thabet Ayari, who was shot and killed on 13 January 2011. He was 21.
“All we want is to know the truth of who killed our children. It is our right to know.” Haniyyah Al Maymouni, 63, whose son Hisham was shot in the chest and killed on 13 January 2011.
“What happened to us can happen again if there’s no accountability. The officer who shot me will do it again if he’s not held accountable.” Walid Kessrawi, 29, lost his right leg after being shot on 13 January 2011.
“The tears will stop when we see the criminals in jail. The pain will end when they are brought to justice.” Mother of Majdi Mansouri who was shot and killed on 12 January 2011. He was 25.
“Masked security officers beat me unconscious and dragged me into their custody where they broke my jaw and hit me on the head with a gun. They made me sign a confession I didn’t read.” Samir Khadrawi, 43, assaulted by police officers on 13 January 2011.
“I am ill and exhausted. But the cause of justice for my child keeps me strong. It keeps me going.” Saida Al Saifi, 61, who lost her son Chokri at 19 when he was shot in the chest on 13 January 2011.
”The injustice, it burns us on the inside, a fire that can only be put out when we get our rights.” Hassan Qarami and Rawda Laabadi, parents of Amine Qarami who was shot and killed on 17 January 2011. He was 28.

Figures of Justice

victims await truth and justice
Number of cases referred to specialized criminal courts by the IVD so far
Number of trials that already started