Friday’s attacks in Paris, the horrific and absolute antithesis to any idea of justice and reconciliation, have marked the week, as if France were a country at war such as JusticeInfo.Net covers every day. It would seem that all the terrorists are dead (unless there was a third cell) and, as for previous attacks in France, there will be no trial or process by the public judicial authorities allowing the victims and the country as a whole to grieve, understand and confront the perpetrators of this carnage. Transitional justice is not made only for developing countries of the South.
Among those countries, Burundi remains a focus of deep concern. NGOs, governments and UN bodies all issued warnings last week, alerting the world to the risk of more violence and possibly even genocide in this small country of the African Great Lakes region. They pointed to hate speech from the government, including ethnic references and explicit threats to the opposition from President Pierre Nkurunziza. But despite these alerts, the UN Security Council adopted only a weak resolution that stopped short of sanctions or sending UN forces. Repression continues on opposition areas and on the press. Antoine Kaburahe, director of the last remaining independent newspaper Iwacu has, in a move to intimidate and silence the media, been summoned on Monday November 16 by Burundi’s “justice” authorities.
Still in Africa, the Central African Republic announced a new electoral calendar despite a deteriorating security situation, as ex-colonial power France advised the Pope against his planned visit there at the end of November. As if the country were “safe” enough for an election, but not for the Pope to visit.
On a different continent, the US Holocaust Mémorial Museum in Washington published a report accusing Islamic State of perpetrating genocide against the Yazidis, a non-Moslem minority in Iraq.
As Adama Dieng, the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, warned in the case of Burundi, “Given the clear information we have about the gravity of the situation, we will not be able to claim, if a full scale conflict erupts, that ‘we did not know’.”