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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 184th session
(Addis Ababa, 10 April 2009)

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/184/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 183rd session (October 2008),

Taking into account the information provided by the President of the Senate and other members of the Burundian delegation at the hearing held with the Committee on the occasion of the 120th IPU Assembly,

Recalling that the parliamentarians concerned were killed between 1994 and 1999 and that only in the case of Mr. Gisabwamana has the perpetrator - a military officer - been identified and brought to justice, although the victim's family has received no reparation; in 2004, Mr. Parfait Mugenzi, one of the suspects in the murder of Mr. Mfayokurera, was arrested in connection with another murder, that of Dr. Kassy Manlan, the representative of the World Health Organization in Burundi, in November 2001, and subsequently sentenced in June 2008 to life imprisonment; he escaped from prison, allegedly with the assistance of the former Attorney General; in 2004 one of the sources reported the return from Rwanda, where they had fled, of two suspects in Mr. Ndikumana's case, Mr. Ivan Bigendanko and Mr. Désiré Banuma, who were in hiding in Burundi; in the case of Mr. Sirahenda, a member of the military at Mabanda camp who subsequently deserted stated that he would be willing one day to testify to the horrendous manner in which Mr. Sirahenda was killed at the camp,

Recalling that the National Assembly set up a parliamentary working group to examine this and other cases, which, since its first meeting in October 2006 at which it worked out a strategy to obtain information on the cases in question, was long prevented from doing its work and has yet to be convened,

Considering the following information provided by the President of the Senate at the hearing with the Committee: the cases of the murdered parliamentarians cannot be separated from the many other cases of murder and killings committed at the time and can be addressed only by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Criminal Chamber which were first envisaged in the 2000 Arusha Peace Accords; a Tripartite Commission composed of representatives of the United Nations, Government and Civil Society was set up in November 2006 but obtained financing only in June 2008; its mandate is to conduct popular consultations on questions where a consensus has not been reached between the United Nations and the Government; the Commission recently issued a memorandum laying down the basic principles of the consultations; it started its work in August 2008 and is expected to complete its mandate within 12 months,

  1. Thanks the President of the Senate for the extensive information and for his cooperation;

  2. Recognizes that the parliamentarians were murdered in a general context of violent conflict which claimed many lives and that a comprehensive approach, to which the authorities have repeatedly stated their commitment, is needed to address the legacy of abuse marking that period;

  3. Firmly believes that establishing an effective National Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Special Criminal Chamber is crucial to the pursuit of truth and justice in Burundi, notably in the cases of the murdered parliamentarians; is convinced that the important leads and evidence available in several of these cases should significantly increase the likelihood that these institutions will succeed in elucidating these crimes and punishing those responsible; trusts that consultations and negotiations on their establishment will soon be successfully completed so that they can be set up and start their work;

  4. Reaffirms that the Parliament of Burundi has a special responsibility to ensure that the murders of former members are elucidated and do not go unpunished; trusts that it will closely monitor progress regarding the prompt establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Criminal Chamber and pave the way for their work on the cases at hand, notably by meanwhile providing the parliamentary working group with the necessary assistance and support since it was set up to gather evidence which, with the passage of time, may well disappear;

  5. Decides to suspend its examination of the case until the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Criminal Chamber are indeed in place; and requests the Committee to keep itself informed of progress in this respect.
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