The second stage in Tunisia's transitionaljustice process was marked by a shift in the focus of transitionaljustice activities from ad hoc measures to designing transitionaljustice and the introduction of a planned transitionaljustice project that went beyond the first steps towards institutionalisation discussed in the previous chapter. This shift is crucial for understanding the development of transitionaljustice in Tunisia and how the process interacted with the volatile political context, as the planned project became the
Transitionaljustice is an interdisciplinary field with blurred boundaries, which accounts for its “energy and vibrancy but also the immense disagreements inherent in the field” (Clark and Palmer 2012 , 1). These disagreements start with attempts to identify the origins of transitionaljustice. A major difference in the various accounts is whether the authors set the starting point of their analysis at when transitionaljustice – in the author's opinion – started to be done , or when what was done started to be called transitionaljustice
This chapter focuses on the planned, institutionalised transitionaljustice project and its institutions in action. It shows how the planned transitionaljustice project interacted with political developments, dissects the interplay between these two elements, and demonstrates how transitionaljustice was performed in this setting. As will become clear, the processes I distinguish here analytically are deeply intertwined.
In order to do so, the chapter mainly concentrates on the TDC, its work, and the debates it gave rise
Scholars researching transitionaljustice processes often deem it remarkable that transitionaljustice measures, and especially a planned process, were initiated so quickly in Tunisia after the fall of the regime in 2011, while the country was in the midst of a political transition.
Prompt and robust engagement with the past, particularly through criminal trials, has been the exception rather than the norm in other cases (Fletcher, Weinstein, and Rowen 2009 , 204
Truth commissions are widely recognised tools used in negotiation following political
repression. Their work may be underpinned by formal scientific investigation of human
remains. This paper presents an analysis of the role of forensic investigations in the
transition to democracy following the Brazilian military governments of 1964–85. It
considers practices during the dictatorship and in the period following, making reference
to analyses of truth commission work in jurisdictions other than Brazil, including those
in which the investigation of clandestine burials has taken place. Attempts to conceal the
fate of victims during the dictatorship, and the attempts of democratic governments to
investigate them are described. Despite various initiatives since the end of the military
government, many victims remain unidentified. In Brazil, as elsewhere, forensic
investigations are susceptible to political and social influences, leading to a situation
in which relatives struggle to obtain meaningful restitution and have little trust in the
transitional justice process.
Transitional Justice in Process is the first book to comprehensively study the Tunisian transitional justice process. After the fall of the Ben Ali regime in 2011, Tunisia started dealing with its authoritarian past very early on and initiated a comprehensive transitional justice process, with the Truth and Dignity Commission as its central institution. However, instead of bringing about peace and justice, transitional justice soon became an arena of contention. The book explores through a process lens how the transitional justice process evolved and why and explains how it relates to the political transition. Based on extensive field research in Tunisia and the United States, and interviews with a broad range of Tunisian and international stakeholders and decision-makers, the book provides an in-depth analysis of a crucial time period, beginning with the first initiatives to deal with the past and seek justice and accountability. It includes discussions of the development and design of the transitional justice mandate and, finally, looks at the performance of transitional justice institutions in practice. It examines the role of international justice professionals in different stages of the process, as well as the alliances and frictions between different actor groups that cut across the often-assumed local–international divide. The book therefore makes an essential contribution to literature on the domestic and international politics of transitional justice and in particular to our understanding of the Tunisian transitional justice process.
Reconciliation, 2009 (UN, 2007).
This chapter examines the process by which the hegemonic
project of reconciliation was carried from South Africa to a more global
level, and how the reconciliation discourse was further constructed and
modified in this process. It argues that the South African reconciliation
discourse was part of and fed into an emerging global discourse which is
commonly known as transitionaljustice, in the context of
evidence and available information. Gacaca trials would take place not with evidence gathered by police and judicial authorities but through the testimonials of perpetrators, victims and bystanders during the trials. The discursive encounter in the gacaca sessions would function as the catalyst for the transitionaljustice process.
Overall, the changes made the gacaca courts into a judicial body guided by state law and thus imposed a specific expressive convention on the gacaca process. The design of the court system infused the gacaca assemblage with a
In the aftermath of conflict and gross human rights violations, victims have a right to
know what happened to their loved ones. Such a right is compromised if mass graves are not
adequately protected to preserve evidence, facilitate identification and repatriation of
the dead and enable a full and effective investigation to be conducted. Despite guidelines
for investigations of the missing, and legal obligations under international law, it is
not expressly clear how these mass graves are best legally protected and by whom. This
article asks why, to date, there are no unified mass-grave protection guidelines that
could serve as a model for states, authorities or international bodies when faced with
gross human rights violations or armed conflicts resulting in mass graves. The paper
suggests a practical agenda for working towards a more comprehensive set of legal
guidelines to protect mass graves.
This article will describe the contemporary scientific techniques used to excavate and
identify the dead bodies of disappeared detainees from the Uruguayan dictatorship. It will
highlight the developments that have led to increased success by forensic anthropologists
and archaeologists in uncovering human remains, as well as their effects, both social and
political, on promoting the right to the truth and mechanisms of transitional justice.