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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 183rd session
(Geneva, 15 October 2008)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Norbert Ndihokubwayo, a member of the Parliament of Burundi, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/183/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 182nd session (April 2008),

Taking account of the letter of the President of the National Assembly of 8 October 2008 and of the information provided on the occasion of the hearing with the Committee by the Burundian delegation to the 119th IPU Assembly,

Recalling that Mr. Ndihokubwayo was the target of two attempts on his life in 1994 and 1995, one of which left him severely injured, and that in 2004 one of the sources reported the arrest of Mr. Parfait Mugenzi, one of the alleged attackers, albeit in connection with the murder, in November 2001, of Dr. Kassy Manlan, the representative of the World Health Organization in Burundi,

Noting that Mr. Mugenzi is reportedly no longer in detention, his escape from prison having allegedly been organized by the former Prosecutor General, who is said to have provided him with a passport,

Recalling that the National Assembly set up a parliamentary working group to examine this and other cases, and noting in this respect that since its first meeting in October 2006, at which it worked out a strategy to obtain information on the cases in question, the working group has held no further meetings; considering that the President of the National Assembly, in his communication of 8 October 2008, stated that "after a whole year of crisis in the National Assembly, the Bureau intends to reactivate the working group on human rights to enable it to monitor how all these cases evolve judicially",

Recalling also that the President of the National Assembly has stated that the cases would be dealt with by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; considering that, according to his letter of 8 October 2008, a Tripartite Commission (United Nations, Government and Civil Society) had been in place to conduct popular consultations on the questions not having produced consensus between the United Nations and the Government and had recently produced a memorandum laying down the basic principles of the consultations; the commission reckoned that these field consultations and the drafting of the report could take a year; the Human Rights Committee of the National Assembly would continue to monitor this matter,

Bearing in mind the work of the IPU, under its technical cooperation programme, to assist the Parliament of Burundi in playing its role as an important facilitator of reconciliation in the country and the difficulties encountered in this task,

  1. Thanks the President of the National Assembly and the Burundian delegation for the information provided;

  2. Is nevertheless deeply disappointed that, despite the parliamentary authorities' repeatedly stated commitment to the working group, it has been totally ineffective since it first met two years ago and that, as a result its strategy to provide the much needed fresh impetus to this case, it has only gathered dust; is confident that the President of the National Assembly's latest expression of support for the working group will bear fruit, and wishes to be kept informed in this respect;

  3. Is dismayed that the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as provided for under the 2000 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi, has yet to be established after years of discussion; trusts that the Tripartite Commission will carry out its consultations diligently and efficiently and set a clear timetable for the establishment in the near future of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; would greatly appreciate receiving information in this respect;

  4. Reaffirms 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; reiterates that there are sufficient leads and evidence available in this case to permit the authorities to make substantive progress; therefore once again calls on the authorities to take the necessary steps to reactivate the investigation in this case;

  5. Notes with concern that Mr. Mugenzi is reportedly no longer in custody, and would appreciate receiving detailed information in this respect, in particular whether he has ever been questioned regarding his implication in the attempt on Mr. Ndihokubwayo's life and, if so, the results of the questioning, and if not, why not; and what steps are being taken to locate and apprehend him;

  6. Requests the Secretary General to convey the present resolution to the competent authorities and to the source;

  7. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 120th Assembly of the IPU (April 2009).
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