26.10.07 - BURUNDI/JUSTICE - THE BURUNDIAN REBELLION SHOULD TAKE PART IN THE TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE

  Bujumbura, 26 October 2007 (FH) - The former president of Burundi, Domitien Ndayizeye, estimates that the PALIPEHUTU/FNL rebel movement should be involved in the transitional justice process and help to make known the truth of the events which have pained the country since its independence.
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"They must be part of what we called "a social contact [Arusha Accords, note] and to contribute to know the truth ", supported the former president, today a senator, during a discussion with the Hirondelle Agency.
 
"The question of the FNL is very simple: it only seeks some political positions, but the government hesitates (to grant its request) for some unknown reason and I do not see why ", he questioned himself.
 
The PALIPEHUTU/FNL is the last rebel movement still in negotiations with the government. A cease-fire agreement between the two parties was signed a year ago in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzani; but an overall accord on its implementation has still not been finalized.
 
With an aim of solving the crisis which has shaken the country for more than forty years, the Burundian political actors negotiated an "overall accord for peace and reconciliation in Burundi" signed in Arusha (northern Tanzania) in August 2000.
 
This agreement plans the setting-up of two mechanisms: a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and a Special Tribunal (ST), which must shine light into the crimes committed in Burundi since 1962 and act in consequence.
 
A popular consultation campaign on the appropriateness of these mechanisms should start in the next days because a pilot committee, set up for this purpose, is already working on the schedule, according to several concordant sources.
 
In the opinion of President Ndayizeye, "this exercise (of popular campaign) is not necessary". "The opportunity of the TRC is not in question because it was decided in Arusha", he said. This point of view is not shared by practically any other of the people questioned up to now by Hirondelle.
 
The former Foreign Minister and former influential member of the governing party, the CNDD-FDD, Jean Marie Ngendahayo recently confided to Hirondelle that the government should have adopted "a pro-active attitude" a long time ago by collecting the opinions of the population on such important questions.
 
The president of the pilot committee, Festus Ntanyungu, also a former minister, expressed a similar opinion.
 
Former President Ndayizeye estimates rather that an ad hoc commission resulting from the pilot committee should start its own investigations to avoid making the population fall into the trap of globalization.
 
"Since the period of the single party system, until the present, the Hutus have tended to speak for the Hutus, the Tutsis for the Tutsis. Thorough and independent investigations would make it possible to avoid that", considered the former strongman of the country.
 
GA/PB/MM
© Hirondelle News Agency