IVD will continue its work until end of "delivery and reception procedures" (Ben Sedrine)v
25/05/2018 16:02, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) – The Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD) will continue its work until the end of the "delivery and reception procedures", said IVD president Sihem Ben Sedrine, Friday, in a press conference.

"The government does not intend to end the mission of the Commission and has expressed its commitment to support the process of transitional justice," she said.

She explained that "the IVD works in close coordination with the Ministry in charge of Relations with the Constitutional Authorities, Civil Society and Human Rights to complete the process of transitional justice as well as with the different ministries and the Prime Ministry, particularly with regard to the "final work" of the Commission and the "delivery and reception procedures".

Article 18 of the Organic Law 2013-53 of 24 December 2013, on the establishment of transitional justice and its organisation grants the IVD the right to extend its mandate by one year in case of need.

Ben Sedrine noted that only the IVD has the right to decide whether to extend its mandate for one year. "Neither the government nor the parliament have the right to make such a decision," she said, pointing out that the administrative court had ruled that the decision to extend or not its mandate is the sole responsibility of the Commission. Only the IVD is empowered to decide on this issue, she noted.

In this situation of "non-decision", the IVD will try to finish its mandate by December 2018 with the budget granted by the State for the first five months of the current year. "Given the government's refusal to grant us a supplementary budget for the next seven months, we will continue our work with the existing budget," she said.

She added that "the Commission intends to reduce the payroll that represents 80 pc of the budget and close the regional offices which will reduce the fixed costs of the IVD during the next period".

The IVD will continue during the next period the transfer of cases of serious human rights violations to specialised judicial chambers and the development of the "unified register" which will define the criteria for compensation for victims and the mode of compensation payments from the Dignity and Rehabilitation Fund, according to the President of the IVD.

Ben Sedrine also indicated that the Commission will publish at the end of its work a detailed report of its activities. "The report will be published at a major colloquium on collective memory and the film festival on transitional justice," she said. A copy will be provided to civil society and citizens in the different regions.

According to Ben Sedrine, civil society is a determining factor in the completion of the transitional justice process.

On the question of the transfer of the elements collected by the Commission to the institution of the National Archives, Ben Sedrine affirmed that the IVD will proceed, in accordance with article 68 of the law on transitional justice, with the transfer of the archives of the IVD to the national archives after the completion of the work of the authority and after adapting the archiving software of the National Archives to those used by the Commission.

"We will, of course, contact the victims to request their permission to transfer their records to the National Archives," she said. Article 68 states that "the IVD entrusts all its documents and files to the national archives or to an institution for the preservation of the national memory created for this purpose".

Minister of Relations with Constitutional Authorities Mehdi Ben Gharbia specified Thursday that "the joint communiqué issued by the Ministry in charge of Relations with the Constitutional Authorities, Civil Society and Human Rights and the Truth and Dignity Commission does not mean in any way the extension of the mandate of exercise of this IVD".

"This communiqué provides for the IVD termination procedures and the formalities of delivery and receipt of files," he added. "May 31, 2018 will mark the expiry of the mandate of the Truth and Dignity Commission and the suspension of its budget," he said.

Last Tuesday, the government had asked the IVD to entrust its archives to the National Archives and to submit its administrative and financial report to the three presidents by May 31, 2018, date of the end of the mandate of the IVD.

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