Five years ago, the Tunisian people’s protests calling for respect of their civil liberties resulted in the downfall of the 24-year authoritarian regime of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and the start of a rocky but largely peaceful process toward an inclusive political system. Watch the webcast of the event where the U.S. Institute of Peace and the International Republican Institute examine the issues facing the country in the coming year and how the international community can help.
To access the video please kindly follow the link: Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution: On 5th Anniversary, What’s Next?
Policy and Research Papers
The recent conclusion of the National Dialogue Conference in Yemen might seem to point to progress in that fractured state. But the absence of the rule of law and impartial authority is allowing violence to fester and the international community needs to act decisively.
This messy panorama is characteristic of the kaleidoscope of violence in Yemen, with its multiple, overlapping issues and complex relations between power-brokers. It also typifies the associated impunity: with little to fear by way of legal repercussions, acts of violence are attractive instruments in pursuit of partisan agendas. As @BaFana3 tweeted, “Laws must be designed with the underlying assumption that they will be violated & have to be enforced. That concept is missing in #Yemen.”
You can find the paper here.
The Justice Innovation Approach: How Justice Sector Leaders in Development Contexts Can Promote Innovation
This article explains that the challenge at the core of the justice innovation approach is not how to build a good prosecution service but rather how strategic justice leaders can contribute to the innovation process so that more justice is delivered. A justice sector leader in the initiation phase must endeavor to articulate a clear vision, break the rules, and foster competition, and then manage risk, reward innovation champions, and fund early development. Once an innovation is in place, its potential for replication and scaling-up should be exploited by creating incentives, staying aware of disruptive innovations, and considering long-term business models. Monitoring mechanisms should insure that new insights are implemented in improved versions immediately. A transitioning country such as Tunisia, where a new social contract is being put in place in the midst of a difficult economic and social context, presents a window of opportunity to adopt and adapt these innovations to a local setting.
To view this publication, please follow this link.
Since the December 2010-January 2011 uprising, Tunisia has successfully overcome successive political crises, yet seems less able to absorb the impact of major jihadi attacks. As a result of the successful national dialogue, 2014 began on a note of optimism that led to a significant reduction in political tensions, but concerns are growing again. At the heart of this anxiety are an increase in violence along the Algerian border; the chaotic situation in Libya; and the advance of radical Islamism in the Middle East – all made all the more acute by an alarmist anti-terrorist discourse. An echo chamber for the conflicts agitating the region, Tunisia needs to tackle terrorism in a calm and depoliticised manner. The fights against terrorism and organised crime are inextricably linked. In addition to security measures, the government should take new economic and social initiatives that would ensure border communities trust and support the state.
Click here to access the report.
Dans la région du Moyen-Orient et de l’Afrique du Nord, la Syrie et la Libye sont en proie à l'instabilité politique et se distinguent en tant que pays générateurs d'importants flux migratoires. Dans cette analyse, le visage syrien et libyen de la migration africaine est présenté avec un regard particulier sur le contexte régional dans lequel il se situe. En particulier, il s’agit de faire état de l’intensification de la pression migratoire de la Syrie et de la Libye sur leurs pays voisins.
La crise humanitaire et sécuritaire qui fait rage en Syrie et en Lybie est un lourd fardeau que partage la région du Moyen-Orient et de l'Afrique du Nord dans son ensemble. Bien que les naufrages en Méditerranée fassent l’objet d’une attention médiatique accrue, ils ne sont pas la seule conséquence de l’instabilité dans la région. Des conséquences aussi tragiques peuvent être repérées au Liban, en Jordanie, en Turquie, en Tunisie et en Egypte.
Vous pouvez lire l'article ici.
A Tunisian gunman recently massacred 38 people at the major resort of Sousse. It was the second mass attack this year, after the March 18 assault on the well-known Bardo Museum in the capital Tunis that killed 22 people, most of them tourists. U.S. Institute of Peace Special Advisor Daniel Brumberg explores the ramifications for Tunisia and the region, as the country shows determination to pursue a democratic transition.
Read the Q&A here.
Based on a report in French published by the International Crisis Group, this executive summary provides a comprehensive analysis of security reforms underway in Tunisia in response to recent terrorist attacks. It argues namely that to tackle jihadi violence, as well as better manage political and social conflict, a thorough reform of the internal security forces will be necessary. The report further formulates a number of key recommendations to the president and the government, to the main political parties, the Assembly of the People's Representatives and international institutions and partner states in the security domain.
This briefing paper details and analyzes the progress made so far in Tunisia to implement its historic Transitional Justice Law, with a particular focus on the Truth and Dignity Commission, created one year ago. The paper chronicles the pitfalls that measures have needed to overcome in a changing environment, where waning political support is threatening the country's transitional justice agenda.
La Tunisie fait office d’exception au sein d’un environnement régional en pleine décomposition. Près de cinq ans après sa révolution, elle dispose d’une Constitution progressiste émanant de compromis inédits entre des forces politiques aux intérêts finalement conciliables. En hommage au chemin parcouru depuis plus deux ans, quatre institutions issues de la société civile tunisienne viennent de recevoir le prix Nobel de la paix. Cette distinction hautement symbolique, saluant le travail d’un quartet hétéroclite érigé sur fond de crise politique, récompense le dialogue tunisien. Le pays doit cependant encore faire face à des obstacles majeurs. Il subit les répercussions du vide sécuritaire libyen et les manœuvres géopolitiques opaques de puissances régionales aux intérêts divergents. Quant au terrorisme, il gangrène son économie et tente de saper son élan démocratique.
Lien vers le document: La Tunisie : une exception menacée
One of the main themes and topics of research covered in the ARSP II program is security sector reform (SSR) and the transformation of civil-military relations. For decades, the main mission of security institutions in Arab authoritarian states was to protect those in power. These institutions were used to control society, a feature that helps explain why many observers perceived these regimes as resilient. Some rulers relied on the armed forces, or more precisely on specific units, commanded by trusted family or clan members; others, on the contrary, marginalized the military – seen as untrustworthy - and relied instead on the police and para-military forces. They all, however, made use of a “divide-and-rule” policy to exacerbate the competition between the different institutions, leading to the fragmentation of the security sector.
Research into security sector reform in the Arab world addresses a variety of key issues. First, given that SSR is necessary to build transparent, legitimate and inclusive institutions trusted by citizens, questions are raised concerning how to reform and transform these institutions and how to define priorities. Research explores the manner in which to change the dynamics between institutions and create an environment of collaboration where there had previously been competition. Second, research into SSR considers the different types of actors that must be included in the process to ensure its success: beyond the concerned institutions, civil society organisations, external donors, police unions, and experts, amongst others, may be invited to participate. Third, the issue of civilian control over the military lies at the heart of the civil-military problématique. As Peter Feaver asks, how can we build a military strong enough to do what it is asked to do without posing a threat to civilian authorities? This is a crucial question in the Arab context, as many of the former rulers were officers who arrived to power through the military. Fourth are the cases where uprising led to civil war. Here, SSR has to take into account the rebuilding of security institutions in which all segments of society are represented. This is a major challenge for plural and deeply divided societies where these institutions, especially the armed forces, can play a role in state-building and nation-building. Finally, the broader theme of security sector reform in the Arab world also involves research into the “war on terror,” which puts great pressure on the security sector and can be a pretext for abuses, as was the case under authoritarian rule. Forging security institutions that are able to face such threats while respecting the rule of law is essential.
To read the report follow the link: Border security in Tunisia
The International Crisis Group analyses the tensions surrounding Tunisia's fight against corruption and "revolutionary justice" measures. Can a renewed commitment by the political class on transitional justice prevent the further spread of corruption and defuse the risks of polarisation in the country?
Setting the Aperture Wider: A synthesis of research and policy advice on security pluralism in Tunis, Nairobi and Beirut
In contexts of security pluralism, an array of actors assert claims on the use of force, operating simultaneously and with varying relationships to the state. In such contexts, security providers may acquire legitimacy by proving more effective and efficient, proximate and relevant to local populations, and are often cheaper than state alternatives. Yet, plural security actors are frequently associated with human rights violations, perverse interface with the state, difficulty in providing security equitably in contexts of diversity, and an almost ineluctable tendency toward net production of insecurity over time.
Donors have few policy or practical tools with which to engage meaningfully in contexts of plural security provision. Since directly engaging plural security providers would mean upsetting relationships with state partners, conferring legitimacy on groups with unpalatable goals or tactics, or tacitly endorsing violence as a path to political privilege, donors prefer to focus on official security agencies and state oversight.
Plural Security Insights and its partners have developed the research project outlined here to address that dearth of relevant policy and programming advice. Comparative research was conducted in three urban contexts: Beirut, Nairobi, and Tunis.
The individual publications of the case studies are:
For full access to Setting the Aperture Wider and the other publications, kindly follow the link.
L’offre plurielle de sécurité dans le Grand Tunis: Quelles alternatives à l’État pour combler le « vide » sécuritaire?
Security and urban development are closely interlinked in Tunis. The urbanisation of Grand Tunis has always been marked by informal settlements whose inhabitants decry the state’s inability to provide affordable and suitable housing in increasingly crowded neighbourhoods (so-called “popular” neighbourhoods), which have become centres of petty and drug-related crime. The lack of basic infrastructure such as streetlights and public transport and the weakening of mechanisms of social control among neighbours heighten residents’ sense of insecurity in these areas.
The current structure of local governance has prevented the state from adequately responding to these challenges, as processes of decentralisation and security sector reform have not progressed sufficiently. Local government representatives, such as the delegate, lack necessary resources to fulfil their obligations, their position has been politicised as political parties attempt to champion their preferred candidate, and people lack trust in the delegate who they associate with the surveillance apparatus of the old regime. This case study in French forms part of the Plural Security Series by Plural Security Insights.
The series also includes:
For full access to L’offre plurielle de sécurité dans le Grand Tunis and the other publications, kindly follow the link.
The long-term success of Tunisia’s new democracy hinges on efforts to reform its security sector. Most in need of reform are the police, gendarme, and interior ministry.
About the Report
The U.S. Institute of Peace Security Sector Governance Center is engaged in a funded study of the prospects for security sector reform in North Africa. In January 2012, Querine Hanlon, Daniel Brumberg, and Robert Perito traveled to Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. This report is the first in a series of country-focused reports on security sector reform in North Africa.
About the Author
Querine Hanlon is National Defense University Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). She is currently on sabbatical from her appointment as Dean of Academic Affairs at the College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University. The views expressed in this report are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Defense University or of USIP, which does not advocate specific policy positions.
Since late 2010, an unprecedented wave of protests has swept across much of the Arab world. The aim of this paper is to examine the role of the armed forces when confronted with anti-regime uprisings that demand greater political freedoms or even regime change. Drawing on the cases of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria, it argues that the degree of institutionalization of the armed forces and their relationship to society at large can account for different responses to pro-reform uprisings.
To access the full report Arab Uprisings and Armed Forces: Between Openness and Resistance, kindly click on the link.
This paper is part of DCAF's SSR Papers series. Click on the link for more DCAF publications on security sector reform.
Ce rapport d'ICG se penche sur la situation en Tunisie et identifie les principaux chantiers pour la réforme de l'Etat. Malgré la formation d’un gouvernement d’union nationale qui regroupe les principaux partis politiques, un sentiment d’exclusion socio-régional et de délitement de l’Etat s’accroit dans le pays. Plusieurs pistes sont ici étudiées en vue de garantir le respect des principes de l'Etat de droit, qui passent notamment par une réforme du système de la justice et un approfondissement des instances de lutte contre la corruption.
Pour accéder au rapport La transition bloquée : corruption et régionalisme en Tunisie, veuillez suivre le lien.
Cet article se focalise sur la Tunisie, où depuis 2015, une loi dite de « réconciliation économique » anime les débats. Après avoir été adoptée par le conseil des ministres en 2015, la discussion de ce projet de loi avait été suspendue. Depuis fin avril 2017, ce projet de loi a été remis à l’agenda politique. Il est aujourd’hui débattu au sein de la Commission de la législation générale, première étape avant un débat à l’Assemblée des Représentants du Peuple. Manifestations et critiques de la part de la société civile, quel impact ce projet de loi peut avoir sur la justice transitionnelle tunisienne ?
Pour accéder à l'article La société civile tunisienne en colère : entre amnistie et justice transitionnelle, veuillez suivre le lien.
A study by journalists, for journalists and policy-makers
Funded by the European Union Migration media coverage in 17 countries from 2015 to 2016
We have all seen the stark images depicted in the media of migrants and asylum seekers packed aboard vessels of questionable seaworthiness, risking life and limb to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean in search of a safe haven and a better future. These images convey in sharp relief the human struggle in its most desperate moments. Over the course of the last three years, we have witnessed a range of different approaches to covering migration in traditional media on both sides of the Mediterranean.
This study aims to unpack some of these approaches in order to identify and better understand the prevailing media narratives on migration that exist in different national contexts. It looks at the strengths and shortcomings and provides some insight into the interplay between editorial lines, political narratives, journalistic approaches and public discourse on this sensitive and often polarising subject.
For full access to the paper, How Does the Media on Both sides of the Mediterranean Report on Migration?, kindly follow the link.
The seventh anniversary of the 14 January 2011 Tunisian uprising is overshadowed by dangers of political polarisation and an illusory nostalgia for strong, centralised government. To save the sole successful Arab transition, the governing coalition should enact promised reforms, create a Constitutional court and hold long-delayed local elections.
For full access to Stemming Tunisia’s Authoritarian Drift, please follow the link.
The past year has seen a ratcheting up and convergence of security concerns in the Sahel and Maghreb with the growing potency of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the influx of mercenaries and weaponry from Libya, the expanding influence of narcotics traffickers, and Boko Haram's widening lethality. Nonetheless, regional cooperation to address these transnational threats remains fragmented. In Regional Security Cooperation in the Maghreb and Sahel: Algeria's Pivotal Ambivalence , the latest Africa Security Brief from the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, Laurence Aïda Ammour examines the central role that Algeria plays in defining this cooperation and the complex domestic, regional, and international considerations that shape its decision-making...
◆ Efforts to counter al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) growing influence in both the Maghreb and the Sahel are fragmented because of the inability of neighbors to forge collaborative partnerships.
◆ Algeria faces inverse incentives to combat AQIM outside of Algiers as it gains much of its geostrategic leverage by maintaining overstated perceptions of a serious terrorism threat.
◆ The Algerian government’s limited legitimacy, primarily derived from its ability to deliver stability, constrains a more comprehensive regional strategy.
The full paper can be downloaded from
In the year since the revolution, Tunisia has achieved what no other Arab Spring country has managed: peaceful transition to democratic rule through national elections widely viewed to be free and fair. The legacy of the previous regime, however, remains. Dr. Querine Hanlon assesses the prospects for Security Sector Reform (SSR) in Tunisia and concludes that Tunisia’s new government faces major challenges dismantling and reorienting the mandate and institutional culture of Tunisia’s labyrinth of security institutions. Serious SSR will be critical for building trust in the new governments and its security institutions and essential if Tunisia’s transition to democratic rule is to succeed in the long term.
En partenariat avec le Centre pour le contrôle démocratique des forces armées - Genève (DCAF), l’association tunisienne « Le Labo’ Démocratique » a organisé les 12 et 13 novembre 2011 à Tunis une conférence sur la question de la gestion des archives de la police politique en Tunisie. Cette conférence a été l’occasion d’un débat instructif introduit par des communications sur les expériences vécues par d’autres pays en la matière, ainsi que la projection d’un documentaire inédit sur les méthodes de la police politique tunisienne.
Site web de la conférence : http://projetpolicepolitique.wordpress.com/
La Législation du Secteur de la Sécurité en Tunisie: Index 1956 - 2011 (Tunisia’s Security Sector Legislation: Index 1956 -2011)
This publication includes a complete index of the legislation currently governing Tunisia’s security sector. It lists roughly 1.700 texts that have been adopted since the independence of Tunisia, in 1956, until the end of 2011. The publication not only covers the legislation applying to Tunisia’s core security providers (armed-, police- and other internal security forces.) and justice providers (courts, prison services, etc.) but also formal supervision and management institutions (the Government and its ministries, the Parliament, etc.). Furthermore, this publication contains all legislative and regulatory texts covering and empowering the work carried out by informal oversight and control actors (political parties, media, NGOs, etc.).
Additionally, DCAF has also created an electronic database (www.legislation-securite.tn) allowing access to all the consolidated texts in Arabic and French.
Cette publication contient un index exhaustif de la législation régissant le secteur de la sécurité en Tunisie. Elle comporte donc environ 1’700 textes qui ont été adoptés depuis l’indépendance de la Tunisie en 1956, jusqu’à la fin de l’année 2011. La publication couvre non seulement les principaux fournisseurs à la sécurité (les forces armées, les FSI, etc.) et la justice (tribunaux, services pénitentiaires, etc.) mais aussi les institutions de supervision et de gestion formelles (le gouvernement et ses ministères, le parlement et les tribunaux). En outre, elle comporte tous les textes législatifs et règlementaires couvrant et autorisant le travail des acteurs de contrôle informel (partis politiques, médias, ONG, etc.).
Par ailleurs, le DCAF a également mis en place une base de données électronique (http://www.legislation-securite.tn/) qui donne accès à tous les textes recueillis en arabe et français.
Tunisia continues to take steps to fulfill its commitments under its ground-breaking Transitional Justice Law and realize the goals of the 2011 revolution. But a rocky start to the country’s new truth commission and proposed reconciliation-cum-amnesty legislation could undermine these efforts, according to a new paper by the International Center for Transitional Justice. If not corrected soon, Tunisia is at risk of missing a historic opportunity to uncover the truth about human rights abuses committed during the Ben Ali regime and dictatorship period.
Full article available here
DCAF launches an interactive timeline on the democratic transition in Tunisia. The timeline documents over 425 events since the end of 2010, divided into four parallel processes:
- political process
- transitional justice
- security sector reform
- security incidents
It provides a comprehensive overview of the progress of governance in the areas of security and justice in Tunisia since the end of 2010 until today. It, therefore, enables:
- anyone interested to review the key moments of the democratic transition in Tunisia;
- researchers and stakeholders involved in the security sector reform in Tunisia to better understand the connection between events and processes and to draw lessons for the future.
Each event includes a short description and provides links to the main press reports covering it.
In developing the interactive timeline, DCAF has tried to be as exhaustive as possible. However, DCAF also invites anyone interested to make proposals for the ongoing development and improvement of the interactive timeline.
The timeline is available in French only.
Le prix Nobel de la paix 2015 a été attribué au « Quartet du dialogue national tunisien », saluant l’exemplarité de la société civile. Mais force est de constater que ce statut de bon élève démocratique ne permet toujours pas à la Tunisie de répondre aux revendications sociales et économiques. Cet article revient sur les enjeux de l’imposition du concept de « société civile » dans le débat politique pour tenter de comprendre pourquoi.
Pour accéder à l'étude Faut-il encenser la « société civile » en Tunisie ?, veuillez cliquer sur le lien.