Tunisian Institutional Reform organized its first training session for the officers of General Administration of Intervention Units in collaboration with the General Administration’s Syndicate of Intervention Units’ Officers in partnership with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Never before had a Tunisian civil society organization held such trainings for the security forces, and this training therefore added new dynamics to the relationship between security forces and citizens. The training sessions consisted of lectures, panel discussions, and workshops designed to enable intervention unit officers to acquire the fundamentals of human rights, and to improve their relationship with citizens in the context of law enforcement. Each training session lasted for six consecutive days and took place in the Center of Bouchoucha. The trainings took place over a period of seven weeks with one session per week.
The Syndicate of the Officers of General Administration of Intervention Units decided the selection criteria and chose participants from lower ranking police leaders from various regions of the country.
2. General goal of the training:
Developing the skills of the police officers, not only in the field of communication, but also providing them with the fundamentals of human rights in law enforcement situations. These objectives can effectively contribute to developing the security sector during Tunisia’s transition in order to establish a democratic security sector.
3. Specific goal of the training:
Build awareness among the agents of General Administration of Intervention Units and help them to acquire human rights values and a democratic culture through recycling these concepts and updating them.
4. General program of the series of training sessions:
These training sessions were a vital component in Tunisian Institutional Reform’s efforts to promote security sector reform. The workshops included the following topics and elements:
- Human Rights (sources and standards) and law enforcement
- Human Rights: etiquette and dialogue
- Operational procedures during riot control
- The use of force and firearms
- Communication within groups, mass communication, and systematic communication
- Security in a democratic state
- Sensory Intelligence: the access to communication and leadership skills
- Practical exercises on communication
- Beach football match between security officers and citizens titled: “Soccer for Reform”
- Attending the concert of Gultrah Sound System Underground Group in the Alhambra Theatre, La Marsa
The trainers were professional experts in the fields of human rights, communication, media, security and conflict resolution, and held lectures and facilitated panel discussions and workshops:
• Mr. Anwar Moalla (expert consultant specialized in communication).
• Mr. Akram Khalifa (trainer in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights).
• Mr. Mazen Shaqoura (Head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Tunisia).
• Mrs. Hajer Bechikh Ahmed (broadcaster in Express FM, blogger and civil society activist).
• Mr. Ossama Helal (lawyer and Professor of Public Law).
• Mrs. Amna Guellali (Human Rights Watch representative. She has a Ph. D in international law and has worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross as a legal officer. In addition, she previously worked as an analyst in the office of the General Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on the Ivory Coast, Georgia and Libya.
• Mr. Khaled Addabbabi (lawyer and researcher)
• Mr. Karim Aljababli (security officer and trainer in the field of gradual use of force)
• Mrs. Emna Ben Jemaa (broadcaster in Express FM, blogger and specialist in communication techniques)
• Mr Bassem Bouguerra (blogger and activist on human rights, founder and president of Tunisian Institutional Reform)
_ Trainees: (See Annex 1: List of trainees by region)
_ Supervisors of the training sessions from the union:
O Assaad Kechaou
O Ahmad Alaraayeth
O Abdelkquader Elmathlouthi
O Mahdi Echawech
O Elmonji Ettouwati
O Abdeljalil Elkhathri
Supervisors of the training sessions from Tunisian Institutional Reform:
O Bassem Bouguerra
O Feryel Charfeddine
O Haifa Baachaoui
O Issam Mzoughi
O Inaam Jaffel
O Bouthayna Ben Kridis
_ Works of the series of training sessions:
The training sessions consisted of a series of lectures, panel discussions and workshops organized by the most important specialists in the fields of human rights, communication, media, security and conflict resolution. These lectures were supported by cultural activities and the activity “Soccer for Reform for the participating security officers.
7. Summary of the training sessions:
Professor Anouar Moalla focused on the basic principles and standards for communication. The trainer highlighted the following aspects:
– Understanding the basic patterns (verbal/nonverbal communication, dialects, signs and symbols) in order to communicate within groups and improve mass communication
– Learning how to control the disadvantages and risks arising from rumors
– Understanding the concept of communication from a thorough and strategic perspective, with distinction between institutional communication and operational communication, and communication within the media and communication outside of the media
– Determining communication relevant for public interest and understanding the similarities between social marketing and commercialization.
– Understanding the mechanisms of violence during the electoral period
In addition to the theoretical part, the courses were characterized by practical exercises for the participants:
– First exercise: Each trainee described a case in which he considered to have acted and reacted in an ideal and professional manner.
– Second exercise: A group of trainees played the role of demonstrators or protesters (demonstrating in a factory in their village and closing its doors to protest against the conditions of work, an administrator or faulty decisions). Another smaller group played the role of intervention teams (breaking up the protest or dispersing the demonstration). The security officers were supposed to improve communication and the management of the discussion with the protesters and to negotiate bearing in mind the principles of human rights and the lessons learned from the training sessions.
In his lectures, Mr. Akram Khalifa demonstrated the principles of ethical and legal behavior of community police in democracies. He presented and interpreted the sources and the standards of human rights, and explained how to respect them during the Law Enforcement and implement them in the field of intervention. His presentation was built on three key documents:
– The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
– Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
– Code of conduct for law enforcement officials
In addition, he presented some international treaties and conventions ratified by Tunisia.
In the subsequent discussion the trainer and the participants discussed concrete examples relevant for law enforcement including the relationship between security officers and citizens, journalists and politicians.
Mr. Mazen Chagoura’s presented the basic principles of gradual use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials. He facilitated a practical exercise in which he showed the participants how to use force without violating human rights in different situations including theft, demonstrations, riots and provocation.
In her course, Dr. Emna Guellali highlighted the right to form unions and its advantages for police officers. While defining the right to form unions, she placed the right in its general framework, from international standards of human rights concerning the freedom of association to the more specific Tunisian laws about rights of unions.
First, Dr. Guellali presented the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Second, she presented the Tunisian Constitution of 1st June 1959 and provided an overview of the new Constitution draft. In addition, she focused specifically on the articles 16, 17, 18, 30, 31, 34, 36, 41 and 48 and their relation to the general principles concerning the prerogatives of the national army and the public security as well as the different fundamental rights and freedoms.
To further explain these freedoms, Dr. Guellali listed some Tunisian laws guaranteeing rights and freedoms such as the Decree 116 of 2011 (2nd November 2011) concerning the freedom of audiovisual communication and the creation of an Independent High Commission of Audiovisual Communication. The respect of rights and freedoms as well as the manner of dealing with such benefits are controlled by law, in particular law number 70 of 1982 which contains the fundamental law for internal security forces.
Mr. Karim Jababli spoke about the Law number 4 of 1969 (24th January 1969) which concerns public meetings, processions, panoramas, demonstrations and public gatherings. He focused on the crime of gatherings and conditions for its application referring to Law number 4 of 1969. Before presenting the details of Law number 4, Jababli placed the crime of gathering in a more general framework and explained how international standards allowed for the maintenance of public order when gathering in the public places. These standards are identified by a Swedish Institute specialized in human rights (Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law).
According to these international standards, there are 4 different types of demonstrations:
° Legal and peaceful demonstration (with license): In this case, facilitation and adaptation are required.
° Legal and non-peaceful demonstration (without license): The police should first try to negotiate with the protesters to end the use of violence. Even if a legal demonstration is not peaceful, negotiation, facilitation and adaptation are required in order to respect the freedom of expression which is a supreme constitutional principle.
° Illegal and peaceful demonstration (without license): In this case, it is a matter of using negotiation in a first step, and then using accompanying and appeasement in a second step.
° Illegal and non-peaceful demonstration (e. i. violent): This type of protest constitutes direct use of force, and is not a demonstration per se.
Jababli explained the following standards for the use of force:
– Accountability i.e. judicial administrative accounting
Additionally, Jababli presented a set of practical limitations that security officers should keep in mind during law enforcement:
– The duty to not act on illegal instructions. Otherwise, the security officer violating the law will be punished.
– If one of the protesters is younger than 12 years old, he has no legal capacity and therefore, police officers must not use force to subdue the child even in case of non-compliance or sabotage.
Professor Emna Ben Jemaa did a weekly course about the types and components of communication processes and the concept of non-verbal communication.
In his lecture, Bassem Bouguerra focused on non-violent communication concepts based on concrete examples and practical exercises.
In the end of each training, the Reform team who supervised the series of the training sessions distributed evaluation forms to the participants, conducted personal reportages with the different participants, arranged for cultural activities and the “Soccer for Reform” program.
After the end of each training session, Tunisian Institutional Reform distributed evaluation forms to the participants to identify weaknesses that should be avoided during subsequent sessions and strengths that must be preserved and developed. The recommendations and proposals from the security officers were also compiled to help the Reform team develop the content of the training program further and improve the organizational and the logistical side.
Reform conducted personal reportages with the different participants to document their assessment of the training session program (advantages, disadvantages, the best material, the best course) and to learn to which extent their perception of civil society and their optimism for the success of the security sector reform had changed as well as the improvement of the relationship between security officers and citizens.
In the evening of the fourth day of each training session, security officers were invited to attend a concert, theatrical performances or movies with engaged artists or youth groups (UnderGround) which the officers would normally not attend. Such events were prohibited before the revolution of 14th January 2011. The aim of this activity was to expose the security officers to the special atmosphere of these artists and to provide the officers with the opportunity to communicate with them in order to discover their world.
Reform succeeded in enabling the security officers to appreciate the mentality of these artists, especially the youth groups. Through the interaction with the artists and youth, the security officers realized that criticism against “police” from these groups was not a personal attack against them, but rather a criticism of the security system as a whole. When security officers understood the mentality of this part of the society, they could more easily deal with them without any prejudices or misunderstandings regarding legal disobedience without excessive use of force or violations of human rights. The security officers attended the following performances:
– Concert of “Gultrah Sound System” in the Hall of Alhambra, La Marsa
– Concert of “Zoufri” of “Bendir Man” (Bayram Kilani) in the Hall of Alhambra, La Marsa
– Ceremony honoring Sheikh Imam, Oyoun Al Kalam (Amel Hamrouni and Khamis El Bahri) in the Municipal Theatre in Tunis
– Concert of “Gultrah Sound System” on the occasion of the festival “Mousiqua wassalam” (Music, that’s all) in Carthage (Acropolium)
– Screening the film of “Al Ostath” (The Professor) in the Cinema of Hannibal, Al Manar
In order to improve the relationship between security officers and citizens and break the psychological barrier between them, Tunisian Institutional Reform organized beach soccer matches for security officers involved in the training sessions and youth from popular neighborhoods. These matches took place during the evening of the fifth day of each training course under the slogan “Soccer for Reform”. Tunisian Institutional Reform arranged the competing teams to consist of both security officers and citizens. The matches were held in a good atmosphere which revealed how Tunisian Institutional Reform had succeeded in facilitating positive communication and discussion between the two groups.
Tunisian Institutional Reform believe that the “Soccer for Reform” activity could help rebuild the trust between security officers and citizens and that such awareness raising activities therefore should be replicated and arranged as a recurring event on a national and regional level.
The discussions between the participants and the trainers encouraged the participants, and made them enthusiastic about security sector reform and improvement of the relationship between security officers and citizens as well as optimistic concerning the reform project in general.
In the end of each training session, Tunisian Institutional Reform distributed participation certificates complimenting the participants’ commitment and positive interaction throughout the days of the training session. In addition, General Administration’s Syndicate of Intervention Units’ Officers awarded Tunisian Institutional Reform a certificate of gratitude to recognize the organization’s efforts in arranging the training sessions and the success of these sessions as well as its contribution to security sector reform in Tunisia.
These training sessions represented a unique experience in the interaction between civil society and security institutions in Tunisia. These training sessions were part of Reform’s efforts to develop the security officers’ capacity to communicate better with citizens and to respect human rights during law enforcement in order to establish a democratic and neutral security system. Capacitybuilding for police officers is Reform’s primary strategy to facilitate reform and develop the security sector during the transition Tunisia is currently experiencing.
8. Evaluation and recommendations (see the graphs below):
– First week:
The participants’ evaluation of the first week of the training sessions for security officers ranged between “good” and “very good”.
° Preparations and logistics:
Most of the participants rated the logistical aspects (64.7%), the general structure of the program, and the method (76.6%) as “OK”.
52.9% of the participants considered the standard of the facilities as “very good”.
° Training’s material and content:
Both the subject of human rights (88.2%) and the subject of communication (88.2%) were rated as “very good”.
° Performance of trainers:
Most of the participants considered the performance of each of the trainers as “very good”: Mr. Mazen Shagoura (88.2%), Mr. Akram Khalifa (76.6%) and Professor Anouar Moalla 88.2%).
° Overall assessment of the session:
The satisfaction of 90 participants reached the percentage of 29.4. In a general assessment of the sessions, 52.9% of the participants considered the level of the session to be “very good”.
– Second week:
The different elements of the training were overall considered “very good”, although the participants were generally dissatisfied with the cultural activities and sports.
During the second week, most of the participants considered the different elements of the training as “very good” including the transportation and training facilities, the training in human rights and communication, Mr. Mazen Shagoura’s and Professor Anouar Moalla’s performance, the implementation of the Tunisian Institutional Reform team, and the support from the syndicate’s administrators.
Most of the participants also rated accommodation, subsistence services, and the performance of the trainer Akram Khalifa as “OK”. Although the workshops were overall considered “very good”, the participants were dissatisfied with the cultural activity and sports which was rated “below the desired”. The participants’ satisfaction with the training sessions was very high during the third week, declined gradually during the sixth week, and increased in the seventh week.
Ratings ranged between “good” and “very good” with some fluctuations during these seven weeks of training. The graphs below explain the evolution of the participants’ assessment of the training as a whole and their varied impressions.
– Trainers’ proposals:
° Organize training sessions for leaders responsible for issuing instructions
° Organize training sessions for new security officers considered as the future of security institution
– Proposals of Tunisian Institutional Reform:
° Constitutionalize parliamentary and civilian control of the security work
° Rationalize security intelligence work
° Review security laws which have a deterring and repressive effect including Law number 4 of 1969 (24th January 1969) that regulates public meetings, processions, panoramas, demonstrations and public gathering
° Compulsory inclusion of civil society in security sector reform programs
° Improve the conditions of the security officers’ work and training
Tunisian Institutional Reform intend to expand the scope of its activity, next year, through “a regional network to reform the security system” in all the countries in transition.