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BURUNDI
CASE N BDI/01 - S. MFAYOKURERA
CASE N BDI/05 - I. NDIKUMANA
CASE N BDI/06 - G. GAHUNGU
CASE N BDI/07 - L. NTAMUTUMBA
CASE N BDI/29 - P. SIRAHENDA
CASE N BDI/35 - G. GISABWAMANA

Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 182nd session
(Cape Town, 18 April 2008)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of the above-mentioned Burundian parliamentarians, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/182/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 181st session (October 2007),

Recalling that the parliamentarians concerned were killed between 1994 and 1999, reportedly owing to their membership and activities in the FRODEBU party, and that only in the case of Mr. Gisabwamana was the perpetrator - a military officer - identified and brought to justice, although the victim's family has received no reparation; that in 2004 one of the sources reported that Mr. Parfait Mugenzi, one of the suspects in the murder of Mr. Mfayokurera, had been arrested albeit in connection with an other murder, and that in the case of Mr. Ndikumana two suspects, Mr. Ivan Bigendanko and Mr. Désiré Banuma, had returned from Rwanda, where they had fled, and were in hiding in Burundi; in the case of Mr. Sirahenda, a member of the military of the Mabanda camp, who subsequently deserted, stated that he could one day testify to the horrendous manner of his killing at the camp,

Taking into account the letter from the President of the National Assembly of Burundi dated 9 January 2008 stating that there had been no developments since his previous letter of 4 October 2007, and that the cases would be dealt with by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,

Recalling that the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission moved a step closer with the appointment, on 10 August 2007, by the President of the Republic of a team in charge of conducting grass-roots consultations in preparation for the Commission's work, which the National Assembly will follow closely,

Recalling that a parliamentary working group was set up by the National Assembly to continue the work of its predecessor set up in 2003, with a view to examining, together with the competent authorities, cases of human rights violations of members of the Parliament of Burundi, including how best to reactivate the investigation into the murder of the parliamentarians concerned; that the parliamentary human rights working group first met on 26 October 2006 and proposed a series of strategies, but that institutional changes and hurdles prevented it from making progress and that, on 4 October 2007, the President of the National Assembly signed an ad hoc Internal Instruction designating new members of the working group except for its Secretary, who retained his post, with a view to giving it fresh impetus and assured that “it would receive all the support it needs to fulfil its mission",

Considering nevertheless that the current political situation in Burundi has prevented the working group from operating effectively,

Bearing in mind the work of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, under its technical cooperation programme, to assist the Parliament of Burundi in playing its role as an important facilitator of reconciliation in the country,

  1. Is disappointed that the parliamentary human rights working group has so far been unable to make any progress since it first met in October 2006; remains convinced that it can be of great assistance in paving the way for the work of the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission and that, more particularly, it could contribute to elucidating the cases in question; therefore calls on the parliamentary authorities to make every effort, with the assistance of the Inter-Parliamentary Union as appropriate, to create an enabling climate in which the working group can fulfil its role;

  2. Is convinced that the inclusive approach followed in Burundi to setting up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will help ensure the institution's credibility, legitimacy and long-term impact by producing essential guidance on what mandate, methods of work and resources are needed for the Commission to be effective, and on which personalities inspire the highest esteem and confidence as prospective Commissioners; trusts that the grass-roots consultations have well advanced in this respect; and would greatly appreciate being kept informed of progress to date;

  3. Nevertheless stresses at the same time that neither the existence of the parliamentary working group nor the future establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission relieves the authorities of their duty to do their utmost to dispense justice at all times; considers that there are sufficient leads and evidence available in several of the cases to permit them to make substantive progress in this respect; calls on the authorities therefore to take the necessary steps to reactivate the investigations in these cases;  

  4. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the parliamentary authorities and to the sources;

  5. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 119th Assembly of the IPU (Geneva, October 2008).
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