Demonstrations in Tunis (archives)
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A Nobel peace prize awarded to the Tunisian Quartet was the good news of the week. The prize, recognizing four civil society organizations (labour union UGTT, the National Order of Lawyers ONA, Tunisian Human Rights League LTDH and employers’ organization UTICA) who have piloted national dialogue and transition in difficult moments especially 2013, supports and encourages democracy in Tunisia, pioneer of the Arab Spring. “Peace” – because this is the Nobel Peace prize – can be achieved through all the different transition processes (reconciliation, truth commission, elections, remembering, judicial procedures) experimented by Tunisia. Paradoxically, this prize comes at a difficult time for the country when the process is under threat. But this Nobel prize gives a boost to civil society, which believes in the virtues and values of democracy. And so it has been hailed by the majority of Tunisians, who are proud of this prize honouring their country and their Revolution.

Another event of the week happened in France. Two investigating magistrates confirmed the dismissal, after nearly two decades of investigations, of a case against a Rwandan priest accused of genocide.

“None of the allegations against him were enough substantiated to amount to complicity in the planning of genocide or crimes against humanity,” the judges said. His participation, either actively or as an “approving onlooker”, was not found to have been proven. This decision by a Paris court brought strong criticism from civil parties and the Rwandan government, who accused French justice of bias in this case haunted by the controversial relations between France and Rwanda.

As the Tunisian transition was recognized with a Nobel peace prize, elections nevertheless suffered hard knocks and difficulties in several countries.

Guinea is holding its breath after a presidential election campaign that had been relatively calm, but was marked by violence leaving two dead in the run-up to the vote this Sunday. In Côte d’Ivoire, several candidates threw in the towel, saying the dice are stacked in favour of incumbent president Alassane Ouattara, the favourite to win again on October 25. The Ivorian press, still predominantly partisan, has not lived up to this democratic test in a divided country.

In the Central African Republic, the head of the National Elections Authority (ANE) resigned, saying the electoral calendar was unrealistic. All of which goes to show that transition remains a slow and frustrating process, but also necessary and unique.