Tunisia: Regime Remnants, Women and the Clown - Tunisia's Revolution Three Years On

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analysis

The reason for this lies in the interface between the conceptions and practices of transitional justice ('adala intiqaliyya) and the Law to Safeguard the Revolution (qanun tahsin al-thawrah). After the uprising, Tunisia became unique in assigning an entire ministry for transitional justice and human rights, run by the Islamist lawyer Samir Dilou.

At the same time, legislation was proposed that would ban those who served under Ben Ali, and even under former president Habib Bourguiba, from elected office.

This was seen by many as revenge justice ('adala intiqamiyyah) or selective justice ('adala intiqa'iyya), and the prime minister at the time in 2011, Beji Qaid el-Sebsi, saw the proposed law as a targeted move against him.

The law went through but was abandoned recently on 15 December 2013, when the long-awaited Transitional Justice Law was finally passed.

Other actions which come under transitional justice include some reparation - though this has largely been selective and mostly benefited members of al-Nahda who were imprisoned under Ben Ali - and a general amnesty law for all political prisoners.

The latter, which led to the release of more than 500 remaining prisoners, seems to have been rushed and has been accused of contributing directly to the rise in militancy in recent years.

Indeed, several people who were arrested or are currently wanted for acts of violence, including the killing of the leftist leaders Chokri Belaid on 6 February, 2013, and Mohamed Brahmi on 25 July, 2013, were released from jail in that amnesty. These two dramatic killings marked a turning point in Tunisian political violence, leading to a rising climate of fear, and caused two governments to fall or, more precisely, to change.

Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali left his position in February to be replaced by Minister of the Interior Ali Laarayedh, while the latter was driven from office in December to make way for an 'independent' prime minister.

While Tunisia has in fact seen five governments in the past three years, it has only had two presidents.

The first was put in place in accordance with the old constitution after Ben Ali fell; the second, current president Moncef Marzouki, came to office through a deal with the ruling al-Nahda after the 2011 elections, when he was chosen to take office by the National Constituent Assembly.

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