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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,

Having before it the case of Mr. Ndikumana, Mr. Basabose, Mr. Nyangoma, Ms. Gahigi, Mr. Mpawenayo, Mr. Nduwabike, Ms. Nzomukunda and Mr. Radjabu of Burundi, which has been the subject of a study and report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians following the Procedure for the treatment by the Inter-Parliamentary Union of communications concerning violations of the human rights of members of parliament,

Taking note of the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, which contains a detailed outline of the case (CL/184/12(b)-R.1),

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; taking into account also the information gathered by the Director of the IPU's Democracy Division on the occasion of his official mission to Burundi from 10 to 14 November 2008, as part of the IPU's efforts to assist the Parliament of Burundi in playing its role as an important facilitator of reconciliation in the country, during which he also met with the Attorney General of Burundi to raise the case at hand,

Considering the following information on file:

  • The homes of Mr. Ndikumana, Mr. Mpawenayo, Mr. Nduwabike and Ms. Gahigi were attacked with grenades in the evening of 19 August 2007, after they had been singled out for attack in a ruling party newspaper owing to their criticism of the government's policies; on 6 March 2008, Mr. Mpawenayo, Mr. Basabose, Mr. Nyangoma, Mr. Radjabu and Ms. Nzomukunda were the targets of apparently coordinated grenade attacks;

  • The persons concerned, members of the National Assembly at the time of the attacks had signed an open letter on 22 February 2008 to the United Nations Secretary-General denouncing their persecution and demanding international protection; the attacks took place shortly after Ms. Nzomukunda's bodyguards were withdrawn;

  • The Speaker of the National Assembly vigorously condemned the August 2007 attacks in a press release and recommended the immediate launch of a judicial investigation in order to bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice; he also wrote to the National Police Commissioner asking him to enhance the parliamentarians' security; on 7 March 2008, the National Assembly condemned the attacks of the previous day and demanded that they be diligently investigated and the perpetrators identified and prosecuted; in late March 2008, the police issued a communiqué stating that the investigation was progressing and that its conclusions would be made public in the coming days;

  • In his letter of 8 October 2008, the Speaker of the National Assembly stated that, with regard to the file on the grenade attack on Ms. Nzomukunda's home, the police investigation found that the grenade had been thrown by an element of the Palipehutu Youth, who had hired a motorcycle; the main perpetrator was on the run but the driver of the motorcycle and other persons had been arrested and the case was in the hands of the investigating magistrate; regarding the case of the other grenade attacks, the files had passed the stage of the police investigation and were with the public prosecutor, who was preparing the submission of the case to court,
Considering also that the Burundian delegation to the 120th IPU Assembly confirmed that the police had passed the files in question on to the public prosecutor; however, he stated that the case was not ready to be presented in court as the investigation had yet to be completed,

Considering finally that, according to the Attorney General, met in November 2008 by the Director of the IPU's Democracy Division, the initial investigations had been mishandled, having focused on the victims themselves as instigators of these attacks; this lead was soon abandoned, but having started off badly the case became complicated, making it very difficult to identify the perpetrators of these attacks, for which reason he believed that the case would be dismissed,

  1. Thanks the Burundian authorities, and in particular the parliamentary authorities, for their spirit of cooperation and for the extensive information they provided;

  2. Is deeply concerned that eight members of parliament were the target of coordinated grenade attacks, which is all the more disconcerting since shortly before the incidents they denounced their precarious security situation and that, in the case of Ms. Nzomukunda, the attack took place after her protection had been withdrawn, which can only have facilitated the crime;

  3. Expresses deep concern that, except for the attack on Ms. Nzomukunda's home, the authorities have apparently so far failed to identify any of the alleged culprits; considers that, owing to their violent and serious nature and to the fact that they targeted public figures, more particularly members of parliament critical of the ruling authorities, the attacks should have been investigated with the utmost resolve and urgency from the start;

  4. Is therefore deeply disturbed at the initial focus of the investigation as it not only made a mockery of the serious prejudice suffered by the victims in this case but also made them less likely to obtain quick and effective justice;

  5. Can but consider that this information, along with the fact that the authorities repeatedly stated that the investigations had made substantial progress while in fact no such progress can be reported, puts in doubt their seriousness about making a determined effort to ensure that these attacks do not go unpunished; points out in particular in this respect that while in October 2008 the Committee was informed that the prosecutor was about to submit the case to the court, which supposes that the culprits had been identified, only one month later the prosecutor stated that the investigation had yielded no result and that the case might even be dismissed;

  6. Recalls that impunity can only encourage the repetition of crime and thereby undermines the rule of law and human rights, and that Burundi, as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is bound to uphold the fundamental rights set forth therein, including the right to life and security, and is therefore obliged to dispense justice by identifying and punishing those guilty of any attack on a person's life and security, and to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of threatened persons;

  7. Calls on the authorities, as is their duty, to conduct a diligent and thorough investigation into the attacks and to examine all possible leads, including those suggested by the victims themselves; wishes to be kept informed of any action taken in this respect and of the results achieved;

  8. Trusts that steps to bring the suspects of the attack on Ms. Nzomukunda's house to trial are well under way and that, with the help of the information they may provide, the authorities will soon be able to identify and apprehend the main perpetrator of this crime; would appreciate further information on these points;

  9. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the competent authorities and to the sources;

  10. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 121st Assembly of the IPU (October 2009).
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