Following the rejection of the request by a group of lawyers who lodged a complaint, challenging the legitimacy of the Commission of Inquiry into Corruption and
Embezzlement, complaint filed February 28, we contacted Abdelfattah Amor, emeritus professor at the Faculty of Legal Sciences of Tunis and President of the commission to give us more details on the commission’s work.
1. Can you brief us on the purpose and composition of the commission?
The commission of inquiry into corruption and embezzlement is an independent national commission and consists of two instances: the technical instance, which includes experts in the areas of finance, real estate, customs, tax … and the general instance which consists of a number of representatives and organizations concerned with corruption and
malfeasance. This instance examines works of the technical commission and the creation of an anti-corruption system.
These bodies work according to the principles of transparency, motivation and individual accountability.
The cases come from citizens, administrations, businesses…
2. What are the areas of intervention of the commission?
It involves all issues related to corruption and embezzlement. Areas of intervention include
the banking sector because, basically, there were transactions that need investigation, the stock exchange sector, since there are sometimes operations that unfairly allow achieving suspicious gains and also customs. Indeed, there are many things to check in virtually all sectors.
However, we should not generalize, it is not a given sector in its entirety that is concerned, there are rather situations or cases that are found in virtually every sector, some people are concerned, even the President of the Republic himself. There are responsibilities at
Regarding the difficulties of the task of the commission, we are trying to cope with them in an environment that is not always healthy and we are working calmly and making sure that records are well documented and we work with objectivity. And then, courts
will play its part.
3. Can you talk about work methods and tools?
We have quite significant investigative and research means, we have a host of prominent inspectors who conduct a first examination of records under the authority of a member of
the technical instance and when the review ends, the file will be forwarded to the technical instance which undertakes to well study this file and take decision.
4. Is there a budget dedicated to the commission’s work?
We have no budget. Our expenses are paid by the Prime Ministry. We have
not to complain much, so far. Financial inspectors and the tax administration are being approached.
Everywhere there is a good working climate and we have no obstacles.
5-What are your responses to allegations of a group of lawyers on the structure of the commission? Some say you’re “the Joker” of human rights of Ben Ali?
This kind of behavior does not surprise me at a specifically revolutionary time.
These are initiatives that seek to undermine stabilization. I tell people first that they have to be at least honest and first read and have the courage to understand when they read and
that (they have the courage to bring evidences when they accuse).
The Commission was unimpressed by this kind of moves that we addressed through the
court with a lot of patience, but we just regret that this type of attempt of destabilization seriously undermines victims to discourage them and make them reluctant to submit files to the commission at a time when there’s confusion, while the commission still exists. The commission has never stopped, it continues its mission.
Regarding the commission’s members, no one escaped accusations from all sides. Who is authorized to speak today on behalf of the people? We must return to the law.
My colleagues were angered by what has been written and I refused to let them publish
documents they sent me to this effect.
Abdelfattah Amor, Ben Ali’s Joker! , What contempt? What ignorance? I feel very uncomfortable to speak about myself, but the facts and people are not better qualified than I to speak, but since you mentioned the issue.
Abdelfattah Amor was not born yesterday. He has never been a man under influence. He has always been independent and free.
In 1993, in a personal capacity as an expert, I was elected by the Human Rights Commission
where the Human Rights Council was established. I was elected as an expert, as an individual
in 1993, before the Vienna conference to be tasked with issues of freedom of belief and religion.
In this context, I presented 37 reports to the commission and to the general assembly. I prompted the organization of the unique international conference on freedom of religion and belief held in Madrid in 2001.
In other words, I had the chance to be known in diplomatic circles and States that appreciated the work I did, Tunisia had nothing to do here, and I was entitled to speak and deal with all cases except for Tunisia, it is an elementary rule that some pseudo-Lawyers of our time do not even know.
I was also fortunate to attract the attention of the United Nations, there is also
the United Nations Human Rights Committee, this committee is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, I was not elected for love for me, but because I had serious chance of being elected because I was known… I have a quite long career and it is very rich of experience and research.
Those who do not read my long career need just to read the documents which are public,
particularly my speeches on freedom of the press, freedom of assembly …
Obviously, I’m not talking about Tunisia but my views were radically opposed to the practice of human rights in my country.
So, stop having bad faith, bad faith, we saw it among several people, people who have
bad faith should know at least how to manage their bad faith.
6. What are the current results of the commission’s work?
It has now received 6,000 records, over 1,000 cases of which were processed. It should be noted that we have cases that are very serious and we expect courts to begin their tasks.