The Truth and Dignity Commission is investigating crimes and abuses dating back to 1955, a year before Tunisia gained independence from France, in an effort to come to terms with its past.
The Commission which employed a number of judicial and non-judicial mechanisms to investigate gross human rights violations has gathered testimony behind closed doors from about 11,000 people in the last three years.
The government has said it hopes this will help ensure that past atrocities will never be repeated in the country that inspired the 2011 Arab uprisings.
The commission said the hearings could boost investment in Tunisia’s struggling economy, “because foreign investors will know that Tunisia is implementing a path for transitional justice aimed at dismantling its authoritarian and corrupt system”.
The 2011 uprising, the first of the Arab spring that spread across the Middle East, was driven by a wave of anger at unemployment, corruption and repression.
Since ending Ben Ali’s 23-year authoritarian rule, the north African country has won praise for its democratic transition. But many remain frustrated over a lack of economic opportunities and the fact that some former officials have been allowed to return to public life.