27.06.07 - RWANDA/BURUNDI - AROUND 400 RWANDANS FLEEING THE GACACAS HAVE ARRIVED IN BURUNDI

  Arusha, 27 June 2007 (FH) - At least 400 Rwandans fleeing the semi-traditional gacaca courts trying the majority of the persons allegedly involved in the 1994 genocide arrived this month in the Burundian province of Ngozi, the Burundian League of the human rights, Iteka, reports.   
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"Rwandans from the Gisagara district in the southern Province are fleeing the gacaca courts and have been gathering in Marangara commune in the province of Ngozi since 6 June 2007", says Iteka.
 
"Until 20 June 2007, the administration had already recorded 400 applicants for asylum. The majority of them are women and children ", indicates the League on its website.
 
"These asylum seekers are under difficult conditions because they have nothing to eat nor drink and do not have anything to shelter themselves from the cold", adds the association
 
Last year, several thousand people who had crossed the Rwanda-Burundi border for the same reasons were repatriated.
 
Inspired by Rwandan traditional justice, the gacacas (pronounced gatchatchas) are presided over by nonprofessional judges, appointed within the community based on the only criterion of integrity.
 
Some 800 000 Rwandans are suspected of having had a part in the 1994 genocide in which, according to Kigali, nearly a million people, primarily Tutsis, were killed.
 
These gacaca courts have the power to sentence someone to life imprisonment, according to a law passed in March 2007.
 
ER/MM/AT 
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