Impunity persists 10 years after the Tunisian revolution: Ila mata? Until when?

Tunis, June 14th 2021 – On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Tunisian revolution, the OMCT launches the campaign “Ila mata?” with the aim to keep the quest for justice and the fight against impunity high on the agenda of the young Tunisian democracy.

Ten years have passed since the regime of Ben Ali was overthrown, with revolutionary forces calling for the eradication of torture and impunity that have long plagued the country. In contrast with other countries in the region, in which revolutionary aspirations have been violently repressed, Tunisia succeeded in giving impetus to its democratic transition, through free elections, free speech, a new constitution and the initiation of a transitional justice process, demonstrating a clear desire to break with the past, with torture and other iniquitous practices.

Despite all these advances, institutional violence persists and so does impunity hampering the still fragile rule of law. Tunisia today witnesses a series of legislative initiatives and political declarations that reflect the rise of reactionary forces, with little interest in promoting and respecting fundamental rights and freedoms, including justice for victims of serious human rights violations. Also the pursuit of transitional justice is constantly facing obstacles, or simply put into question. There have been multiple attempts in the national assembly to abandon justice for victims of the former regimes by introducing pseudo-total reconciliation. This can indeed be considered as a betrayal of the spirit of the revolution and gives rise to serious anxiety to returning to the old practices of the old regime.

Ordinary justice is also confronted with its share of obstacles, between procedural slowness, lack of means of will on behalf of judges and prosecutors, obstructions posed by executive forces, reprisals against victims and an inherently inadequate legal arsenal. While there is undoubtedly a significant increase in legal proceedings, no conviction for torture has been pronounced so far.

Today, on the 14th of January 2021, it is essential to remember that the rule of law is the only bulwark against authoritarianism. Shaken by decades of authoritarian regime, the Tunisian people had to make many sacrifices to instate the rule of law. Planting the seeds ten years ago, the Tunisian people today deserve to see its democracy flourish.

In synergy with citizen- and civil society initiatives calling for a national debate on the fight against torture and the promotion of human rights, the OMCT marks the 10 years anniversary of the Tunisian revolution with the launch of the campaign “Ila mata?”. The initiative aims at sensitizing Tunisian citizens and Tunisian leaders alike on the importance of breaking the cycle of impunity.

The campaign will kick-off with the following activities: