Burundi


    Burundi government remains intransigent, says UN
    04.09.17
    Frédéric Burnand, correspondent in Geneva

    Despite numerous mediation attempts, Burundi’s government and President do not intend to talk to the opposition, and repression is continuing. The authorities are showing the same intransigence with regard to the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, which has not been able to go to the country or hold talks with Bujumbura. Fatsah Ouguergouz, president of the Commission, gives this worrying assessment ahead of the final report which he is due to present to the 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in mid-September. How hard it is to give up power, even when the Constitution...

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    Burundi becoming a 'violent dictatorship': report
    04.07.17
    AFP

    Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza and his ruling party have moved the country toward violent dictatorship, rights groups said Tuesday in a report that slams the international community for inaction. A "purge" of ethnic Tutsis from the army, a crackdown on opposition and media and a bid to change the constitution to allow unlimited presidential terms are signs of an "increasingly violent dictatorial regime", it said. The tiny central African state was plunged into political crisis in April 2015 when Nkurunziza announced his intention to run for a third term which he went on to...

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    UN says Burundi still torturing and killing opponents
    15.06.17
    AFP

    Burundi security forces and government-allied militia are continuing to torture and kill opponents, UN investigators said Thursday, allegations denied by the government. The investigators from the UN's Commission of Inquiry on Burundi have been denied entry to the country said there was a "feeling of deep and widespread fear" in more than 470 testimonies gathered from people who had fled to neighbouring countries. "Today we can say that our initial fears concerning the scope and gravity of human rights violations and abuses in Burundi since April 2015 have been confirmed," the...

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    Burundi, a Country of Fear and Violence, says human rights activist Pierre Claver
    23.11.16
    Bénédicte Jeannerod

    For the past year and a half, the Burundian government has brutally crushed any form of dissent. Since the crisis  triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a controversial third term  began, hundreds of people have been killed and thousands arbitrarily imprisoned. Pierre Claver Mbonimpa is one of Burundi’s most prominent human rights activists and founder of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH). In 2015, he narrowly escaped an assassination attempt, believed to have been by Burundi’s intelligence services. Pierre Claver, who...

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    Transitional Justice Battlegrounds: Another Bad Week in Burundi

    Astrid Jamar joins JiC for this guest-post on recent developments regarding transitional and international criminal justice in Burundi. Astrid is a Research Assistant in Political Settlements Research Programmes at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Law. Transitional justice has been taken a number of worrying steps in Burundi. While the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is preparing for public hearings addressing crimes committed between 1962 and 2008, Burundi has been engulfed in political conflict since the controversial candidacy of Pierre Nkurunziza and his re-election for a...

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    Burundi walks away from the ICC
    21.10.16
    IRIN

    Burundi has become the first country to begin the process of withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, retaliation for the ICC’s decision earlier this year to open a preliminary investigation into human rights abuses.  President Pierre Nkurunziza signed legislation on Tuesday after lawmakers overwhelmingly voted for withdrawal from the ICC, which the government says backs a regime change agenda, masterminded by Western powers. The procedural steps for withdrawal are straightforward: Burundi only needs to write a letter of notification to the UN Secretary General, and then wait a...

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    Week in Review: Burundi and the ICC, UN concern in CAR, and DRC victims still waiting  
    17.10.16
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

      The most notable event of the transitional justice week was Burundi’s decision to withdraw its membership of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The country’s parliament, which is subject to President Pierre Nkurunziza, voted overwhelmingly to do so, in the hope that Burundi’s leaders can escape prosecution by the Court for grave violations of human rights. An ICC pull-out by Burundi would be the first in the history of the Court, which has tense relations with African countries that think it is targeting them disproportionately.   Legally this move by Burundi, where there has been...

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    Burundi votes to withdraw from the ICC and interrupts its international cooperation, amid a backdrop of continued international crimes
    14.10.16
    FIDH

    (Paris, Bujumbura) FIDH and its member organisation in Burundi, ITEKA, regret the overwhelming vote by Burundian lawmakers on 12 October 2016 in favour of the withdrawal of Burundi from the International Criminal Court (ICC) Statute, to which it acceded in 2004. This decision, making Burundi the first State ever to withdraw from the ICC, comes just two days after the government announced it would suspend its cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, amid ongoing gross human rights violations in the country. Our organisations reiterate our call to...

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    Burundi lawmakers vote to quit ICC
    12.10.16
    AFP

    Burundian lawmakers on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), taking the nation a step closer to being the first ever to quit the tribunal. The move is the latest snub of the international community by the central African nation, which has been mired in 18 months of violent political crisis since President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term in office. Earlier this week Burundi declared three UN rights experts persona non grata and cut ties with the UN's main human rights body, after a damning September report detailing atrocities and...

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    Burundi crisis: from disputed polls to 'genocide' fears
    12.10.16
    AFP

    Burundi's move to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) has turned the spotlight on months of political turmoil and violence that raised fears of "genocide" in a nation with a history of ethnic conflict. Here are some keys to understanding 18 months of crisis in the central African nation: - How did Burundi's crisis begin? - In April 2015, President Pierre Nkurunziza, in office since 2005, announced his plan to run for a controversial third term, triggering protests which authorities banned before unleashing a bloody crackdown that left an estimated 80 people dead. In May, a...

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    Burundi wants to quit ICC to avoid possible charges
    07.10.16
    AFP

    Burundi announced plans Friday to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), a week after the UN began an enquiry into human rights abuses committed since April 2015. "It is perfectly clear that this is a plot to do harm to Burundi," said Gaston Sindimwo, Burundi's vice president, citing European Union "pressure" allegedly exerted on the UN, which opened a rights investigation a week ago. According to a list seen by AFP, the UN investigation is targeting a dozen members of the governing regime, including General Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni, regarded as the second most powerful figure after President Pierre Nkurunziza. In April, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she was...

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    Burundi accuses Belgium and France as UN launches human rights investigation
    03.10.16
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    “Pierre Nkurunziza, his supporters, and all those who chose the path of violence should be aware that they will not get away with their crimes.” This is how Dimitris Christopoulos,  new president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) welcomed a September 30 UN Human Rights Council resolution setting up an international commission of inquiry on grave crimes committed in Burundi since last year. The Burundian government has accused Belgium and France of being behind this resolution.   International human rights organizations stepped up their calls for action on the eve of...

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    Act Swiftly to End Impunity in Burundi

    Burundi may have slipped off international news headlines, but killings, disappearances, and torture there continue unabated, and those responsible are getting away with it. That’s why it’s critical that Human Rights Council members meeting at the United Nations in Geneva this week adopt a strong resolution to address the deepening human rights crisis engulfing the country.The proposed resolution builds on a powerful report by a UN independent investigation team which found that “gross human rights violations have and are taking place, committed primarily by State agents and those linked to...

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    Risk of crimes against humanity in Burundi: UN probe
    20.09.16
    AFP

    Burundi's government is behind systematic human rights violations, including executions and torture, UN investigators said Tuesday, warning of possible crimes against humanity and the looming risk of "genocide". "Gross human rights violations have and are taking place, committed primarily by state agents and those linked to them," the investigators concluded in a report, adding that "impunity is pervasive". The report said the experts could "not exclude that some instances of these gross human rights violations amount to crimes against humanity." "Given the country's history, the danger...

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    Burundi-Rwanda: Inter-linked rivals at the heart of the “Great Lakes Region”

    “There has never been any boundless kingdom. Burundi frequently fought various invasions from surrounding kingdoms.”  At the end of two particularly bloody and dramatic civil wars, in 1994 for Rwanda and in 2005 for Burundi, both countries saw a reversal of the political and ethnic dominations that had come into being at the time of independence. In Rwanda, 55 years after the 1959 Revolution that overthrew the Tutsi monarchy and brought Hutu elites to power, the RPF rebellion led by Tutsi refugees who had settled in Uganda seized power in Kigali. In Burundi, after 40 years of “Tutsi...

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    FIDH urges international justice for Burundi and South Sudan
    01.09.16
    Ephrem Rugiririza

    Burundi and South Sudan were a central focus of discussions at the 39th World Congress of the International League for Human Rights (FIDH), which took place from August 23 to 27 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Among the “urgent resolutions” adopted by the federation’s 178 member organizations, two concern Burundi and South Sudan specifically.  FIDH appeals to the UN and the African Union to act, urging international justice to prosecute grave crimes committed in both countries. Urgent action is needed, according to FIDH. The organization’s congress called on International Criminal Court...

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    Where is Burundian Journalist Jean Bigirimana?

    It is exactly one month since 37-year-old journalist Jean Bigirimana vanished after leaving his home in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, for Bugarama, a town about 40 kilometers away. There are unconfirmed reports that he was arrested there by members of the intelligence services, but his whereabouts remain unknown. As the days passed without news, Jean’s young family, friends, and colleagues at Iwacunewspaper began wondering if he might be dead. The cruel nature of such cases means there’s no certainty about the victim’s fate, and no possibility of closure. It wasn’t until Jean’s colleagues at Iwaculaunched a campaign that the government ended its silence. Three days after he vanished,...

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    UN experts warn of "genocidal rhetoric" in Burundi
    12.08.16
    AFP

    A United Nations watchdog on Friday urged Burundi to immediately address a long line of abuses, including hundreds of extrajudicial killings and widespread torture and sexual abuse, with disturbing ethnic undertones. The UN Committee Against Torture also voiced alarm at the use of "genocidal rhetoric" in national political discourse, echoing concerns that ethnically-motivated verbal attacks could spiral into something far more serious. "We have reports and information that indicates that the torture and the murder is politically motivated, and whether it also has an ethnic component, there are certain indications for that," committee chair Jens Modvig told reporters. He pointed out that...

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    Dispatches: Why is Burundi Ducking Questions About Torture?

    In response to the human rights crisis in Burundi, the UN Committee Against Torture held a special session last week to review allegations of torture and other abuses in the country. But the Burundian government shocked everyone in the room by failing to turn up for the review’s second day – apparently the first country ever to do so. On July 28, a government delegation, headed by Justice Minister Aimée Laurentine Kanyana, had attended the first part of the UN Committee Against Torture’s (CAT) review. In her opening speech, she stated that Burundian law prohibits torture and that anyone responsible for torture would be prosecuted. She attempted to discredit “tendentious” reports based on...

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    Students Jailed for Doodling in Burundi

    Earlier this month Burundian intelligence agents arrested eight secondary school students in Muramvya province and accused them of insulting the head of state. Their crime? Drawing and writing phrases like “Get out” or “No to the 3rd term” on a picture of President Pierre Nkurunziza in a textbook. Angered by the arrests, their classmates demonstrated in the streets. Security forces shot and injured two students and a motorcycle driver, who later died. They also arrested three other students. Minors were released but five students aged 19 and 20 are still detained, facing charges of insulting the head of state. They could spend up to five years in prison if found guilty. This isn’t the...

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