24.10.07 - BURUNDI/JUSTICE - THE CHALLENGES OF TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE IN BURUNDI - A JURIST

  Bujumbura, 24 October 2007 (FH) - The president of Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT) in Burundi, Mr. Didace Kanyugu, estimates that those who will investigate the crimes committed in Burundi will have the heavy task to establish the responsibilities without falling into the trap of globalization, popular in the country.
1 min 23Approximate reading time

 
"It is necessary that the responsibilities for ones and others are established to avoid saying "the Hutus killed us" or "Tutsis killed us" and to be labelled a killer or the cause of all the misfortunes for the simple reason of belonging to the other side", underlines the Burundian jurist in a training memo on Transitional Justice TJ (2007) written for the media.
 
"Hutus say that they are the victims of genocide and crimes against humanity, the Tutsis do the same. There is a need to clarify history, to know the truth ", he continues.
 
According to Mr. Kanyugu, the other major challenge is due to the fact that certain political figures that are responsible for serious violations of human rights would still have some power able to slow down the operations of TJ.
 
The official for ACAT also raises another aspect, that of the victims; and notes that nothing has been done since independence for the victims of the various atrocities that Burundi has known.
 
"Not only has the fact that they are they victims never been officially recognized, but the torturers make fun of them", accused the lawyer. He also issued reservations on the question of amnesty advanced by some as a tool allowing reconciliation and forgiveness at the detriment of justice.
 
Deriving from the Arusha Accords of August 2000, the mechanisms of TJ, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Special Tribunal (ST), will be a first in the history of Burundi since its independence in 1962.
 
These two mechanisms will have the heavy burden to define the facts and to identify the authors of the crimes, then to prosecute them or not; all with the spirit of reconciliation for a people torn by several decades of political and ethnic violence.
 
GA/PB/MM

© Hirondelle News Agency