Former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has acknowledged that during his presidency his regime “committed errors, abuses and violations” and that his time in power “has not been exempt from offense like any kind of regime or state “.
Ben Ali’s acknowledgement of the violations during his presidency were revealed in a statement issued by his lawyer, Mounir Ben Salha, and approved by Ben Ali, where he commented on the public hearings of the Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD) on the human rights violations in Tunisia since independence.
“My client decided not to remain silent about the attacks by reacting and giving the necessary clarifications through the office of the lawyer who represents him in Tunisia,” Ben Salha told Tunisian Agence Presse (TAP).
In the statement, Ben Ali said: “The confrontation of the state with secret and military organisations of parties and organisations which opted for action outside the legal framework could have led to abuses that have infringed human rights.”
“The regime did not hesitate to recognise them by setting up an ad hoc commission to investigate these abuses chaired by Rachid Driss who compiled the violations reported by the participants of the public hearings [of the IVD].”
He considered that “the report of Rachid Driss confirmed the veracity of the violations and determined the responsibilities,” indicating that he had “ordered compensation for material and moral damage”.
Focusing on the public testimonies of the victims of dictatorship organised by the Truth and Dignity Commission, the president stated that the hearings without presenting the other version of the events, “transforms auditions into an act of dissimulation of truths, which leads to the division of the Tunisians.”
“I leave the judgment on the time when I was at the head of the Tunisian State to neutral and honest historians,” Ben Ali further added.
Khaled Krichi, a member of the Truth and Dignity Commission, told TAP that the IVD will meet in the coming days to discuss the response to the ex-president’s statement.