Tunisian victims who suffered abuses during decades of authoritarian rule are revealing live their sufferings and grievances to the Truth and Dignity Commission Thursday evening. They are seeking accountability for the torture crimes they had endured before the Revolution of 2011.
More than 62,000 complaints have been filed to the Truth and Dignity Commission since its creation in 2013.
Complaints include police torture, corruption, and even murder. The commission is investigating each case to determine eventual reparations and punishment.
The first televised public hearing is described as a turning point in the history of Tunisia, according to people concerned by the transitional justice.
Acording to them, it is a step towards the completion of the process of transitional justice, which must first reveal the truth and held accountable before reconciliation, reparation and reform of institutions, and finally preservation of collective memory and rewriting of history.
The testimonies of victims are not just stories. It is a national event and a part of Tunisia’s history that will be documented and safeguarded, IVD asserts adding that doing justice to the victims does not mean taking revenge of torturers.
The International Centre for Transitional Justice defines transitional justice as not a ‘special’ kind of justice, but an approach to achieving justice in times of transition from conflict and/or state repression. By trying to achieve accountability and redressing victims, transitional justice provides recognition of the rights of victims, promotes civic trust and strengthens the democratic rule of law.
In the aftermath of massive human rights abuses, victims have well established rights to see the perpetrators punished, to know the truth, and to receive reparations.
Because systemic human rights violations affect not just the direct victims, but society as a whole, in addition to satisfying these obligations, states have duties to guarantee that the violations will not recur, and therefore, a special duty to reform institutions that were either involved in or incapable of preventing the abuses.