Tunisia’s transitional justice programme highlights the danger of overpromising

The Tunisian example points to a dilemma: addressing all relevant justice problems may lead to an overloading of transitional justice institutions [Photo: Getty Images]
Note: This article first appeared on Africa at LSE.

Ten years after the Tunisian revolution, the country still struggles with how to deal with the legacy of violent and repressive rule. Following the fall of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s regime in 2011, Tunisia introduced a far-reaching transitional justice project with strong international support. The project was intended to deal with almost 60 years of authoritarian rule, uncovering, among other issues, human rights violations, socio-economic crimes and marginalization, and providing recommendations on reforms in various areas such as administration, the judiciary, the security sector, the media and the economy.

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Tunisia nine years after the revolution: the arrival of democracy?

Tunisian flag in front of the Kasbah Mosque in Tunis [Gim42/Getty Images]
In the past weeks, Tunisia elected a new parliament and a new president. Nine years after the so-called Arab Spring, the country has achieved considerable progress in terms of democratic institutions and processes. Yet, severe challenges call for the right balance between consensus and political dispute. A fragmented political landscape and public mistrust of elites are paralleled by grim economic prospects and high unemployment rates, which will demand serious reform efforts by newly elected president Kais Saied. Furthermore, structural issues like the lack of a constitutional court and the overdue dismantling of power structures established under former dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali still linger over the country.  Mariam Salehi and Ilyas Saliba shed light on the problems faced by post-election Tunisia. Read the full article in German here.

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