Marzouki Denounces Dictators, Supports International Cooperation
On September 27, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki addressed the U.N. General Assembly calling on the international community to address “violence and extremism,” while also acknowledging the economic and social problems his government inherited as a result of the violent oppression by the previous regime. He expressed his grief over the high cost paid by Tunisians for freedom and democracy and tied his sentiments to the current “price being paid by Syrians,” urging rapid intervention and the deployment of an Arab peace force to Syria. Markouzi also followed the recent narrative of Yemeni and Kuwaiti leaders in supporting Palestinian independence and denouncing “Islamophobia.”
Markouzi labeled dictatorship as a “disease” and “invited the U.N. to declare dictatorship a social and political ‘scourge’ to be eliminated.” In Markouzi’s view, the International Criminal Court only addresses atrocities retroactively, and therefore the U.N. needs to develop a mechanism which proactively prevents dictators from altering their government institutions in an effort to maintain power. The creation of an internal court with the authority to rule on and denounce state constitutions, charters and elections deemed incompatible with the U.N. Charter, was also proposed during his speech.
Marzouki has shown high levels of support for international institutions recently, as he encouraged economic integration between member states of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) at a recent workshop hosted by the African Development Bank. Markouzi believes economic integration will solve issues of unemployment, poverty, emigration, and food security in the region. Nick Witney and Anthony Dworkin of the European Council on Foreign Relations have also opined that AMU economic integration will break down economic dependence on European nations and traditional systems of Arab “patronage and clientelism” to Europe, thus helping to embed democracy.
Marzouki also authored an op-ed in The New York Times, saying while fears of the revolutions being hijacked are understandable, “such alarmism is misplaced. The Arab revolutions have not turned anti-Western. Nor are they pro-Western. They are simply not about the West. They remain fundamentally about social justice and democracy — not about religion or establishing Shariah law.”