Burundi: debate centers on prosecutor's independence

10 July 2006 by Didace Kanyugu

A United Nations delegation traveled to Bujumbura from March 27-31 to continue negotiations in writing with the Burundian government with a view to establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and a Special Tribunal. On May 19, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs laid out the main points to be discussed. The Burundian government responded on June 15. The negotiations appear to center on the scope of the criminal proceedings and the issue of oversight.

In its correspondence, the UN raised three essential issues to be clarified: "The nature of the national consultation process that should lead to the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission; acknowledgement that amnesty will not apply to the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes; and the relationship between the Commission and the Special Tribunal." First, the UN underscored the need to consult with and inform the Burundian people about the creation of the TRC. Both parties agreed on this point. In its response, the inter-ministerial committee set up by the Burundian authorities and comprising the Minister of Foreign Relations, the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Communication, said it was "aware of the necessity and the importance of democratizing the initial public comment process as much as possible, not only for educational purposes, but also in order to know the views and aspirations of the Burundian people and thereby give the Commission substance."


Want to read more?

We have tailor-made memberships for students, individuals, groups of professionals and large companies and organizations. A subscription entitles you to receive the International Justice Tribune every two weeks as well as become a member of the Justice Tribune Foundation, supporting independent reporting on international justice.

Subscribe now

Related articles

13 March 2006 by Thierry Cruvellier and Didace Kanyugu

Six months after the new government took power in Burundi, little headway has been made in the negotiations with the UN on setting up institutions to render justice for crimes committed over the past four decades. However, a still confidential government document gives a preliminary indication of the Burundian authorities' choices. Bujumbura's proposed truth and reconciliation commission and special court appear to be surprisingly expansive and firm-handed.

06 October 2010 by Stef Vandeginste

With a successfully completed peace process followed by general elections in the summer of 2010, the case of Burundi seemingly contradicted the conventional wisdom that there can be no peace without justice. In fact, despite a rhetorical commitment to establishing transitional justice mechanisms, no action has so far been undertaken to end impunity for past human rights crimes.

24 March 2010 by Don Kirk

South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), founded in 2005 as an independent agency with a broad mandate to cover a century of abuse, faces dissolution by the country’s conservative government. The TRC is likely to last another few months wrapping up investigations and then fade away, a relic of the decade of liberal leadership that began with the inauguration of President Kim Dae-jung in February 1998.

24 August 2010 by Bram Posthumus

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor, is in court to defend himself on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity he allegedly committed in Liberia’s neighbour to the west, Sierra Leone. Liberian media cover the trial extensively but Liberians are, to all intents and purposes, mere spectators. This trial is not about them. Liberia lacks a war crimes tribunal. What it does have is a Truth and Reconciliation Commission which has been taking countless statements from war crimes victims and perpetrators and whose report is in the public domain.

16 February 2011 by Michel Maas

In the aftermath of the May 2010 mass street protests in Bangkok which ended in a bloody crackdown by the Thai army, the government formed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. However, half a year after its formation, the commission is riddled with problems.