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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 186th session
(Bangkok, 1 April 2010)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of the above-mentioned former members of the Parliament of Burundi, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/186/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 185th session (October 2009),

Taking into account the letter signed by both the Secretary General of the National Assembly and the Secretary General of the Senate, dated 15 January 2010, and the information provided by members of the Burundian delegation at the meeting it held with the Committee during the 122nd Assembly; also taking into account information regularly provided by various sources,

Recalling the following information on file:

  • The persons concerned, initially all members of the ruling CNDD-FDD party, dissented and had lost their parliamentary seats as a result of a ruling adopted by the Constitutional Court on 5 June 2008 declaring that they occupied their seats unconstitutionally, which it has consistently considered to lack any genuine legal basis;

  • Mr. Radjabu's parliamentary immunity was lifted on 27 April 2007, and proceedings were started against him and seven other people accused of plotting to undermine State security by inciting citizens to rebel against the authority of the State, and against Mr. Radjabu alone for having, in the course of a meeting he organized with a view to disturbing the peace, insulted the Head of State by comparing him to an empty bottle; on 22 December 2007, the Supreme Court found Mr. Radjabu guilty as charged and sentenced him to 13 years in prison (Case RPS 66); on 25 May 2009 the Supreme Court Appeal Chamber upheld the first-instance judgment; Mr. Radjabu has filed a cassation petition, which he had to do in the absence of the written appeal court judgment;

  • Mr. Evariste Kagabo, the main person accused with Mr. Radjabu, and another person initially suspected, Mr. Abdul Rahman Kabura, were reportedly tortured by the National Intelligence Service with the complicity of the police station in charge of the investigation, and a complaint was lodged in this regard; according to the information provided by the President of the Senate in April 2009, the matter is at present before an examining magistrate in a separate case;

  • The Committee had sent an observer to the appeal proceedings who concluded that Mr. Radjabu's trial was marred by serious flaws, notably the use of torture during the investigation, the lack of independence of the Court's judges and of the prosecution, and, more generally, the absence of evidence to substantiate the accusation; the parliamentary authorities have rejected his conclusions as biased, but have not responded to the observer's rebuttal of their comments;

  • Mr. Pasteur Mpawenayo was arrested on 4 July 2008 and accused of being Mr. Radjabu's accomplice; the hearings on the merits of his case have reportedly been adjourned for deliberation since 13 January 2009, the maximum period for such adjournment being 60 days;

  • Mr. Nkurunziza was arrested on 15 July 2008 on the orders of the Kirundo Provincial Police Commissioner on the charge of distributing weapons for the purpose of arming a rebellion against the State authorities; according to the sources, it was in fact Mr. Nkurunziza who, while still a parliamentarian, filed a complaint of defamation against the authorities of Kirundo Province, which had accused him in the media of distributing weapons for a rebellion; instead of investigating the complaint, the authorities had him arrested; Mr. Nkurunziza has reportedly not been served the indictment and is being detained in the absence of any charge or trial and without having been brought before a judge for a ruling on his pretrial detention; similarly, many applications filed by the defence counsel have reportedly not been handled;

  • Mr. Minyurano was arrested on 2 October 2008 and accused of assaulting a magistrate; the accusation apparently arose because Mr. Minyurano's tenant, a magistrate, tried to move out without paying his rent; Mr. Minyurano apparently demanded that he hand over the keys of the house until he had paid the rent, but the tenant only did so after the neighbours stepped in; Mr. Minyurano was reportedly brought before Gitega High Court, which declared the charges against him null and void and ordered his temporary release; his case is said to be pending in Gitega, awaiting ruling by a judge,
Considering the following new information on file:
  • The procedural irregularities raised by Mr. Mpawenayo's defence pertaining essentially to his pretrial detention and the merging of his case with that of Mr. Radjabu, were rejected on 19 March 2009, of which decision he was informed only on 29 October 2009; his defence has filed a cassation application, which is pending; the court has not yet started hearings on the merits of the case;

  • Mr. Radjabu's cassation petition was rejected on 12 March 2010;

  • Mr. Jean Bigirimana and Mr. Baudoin Ribakare, co-accused of Mr. Radjabu and both sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment, were not serving their prison sentence and have only recently been arrested;

  • The case file regarding Mr. Nkurunziza was transferred to the Kirundo High Court and he himself was also transferred to a prison in the region; following a hearing on procedural matters held on 4 November 2009, the Kirundo court declared itself incompetent to hear the case as the alleged offences were committed while Mr. Nkurunziza was still a member of parliament; the prosecution has not lodged an appeal against that decision; however, Mr. Nkurunziza is still to be transferred to the Mpimba prison near Bujumbura, where the case was now to be heard by the Supreme Court;

  • Members of the Burundian delegation to the 122nd IPU Assembly confirmed that Mr. Minyurano, as he was not in detention, was fully able to exercise his political rights,
Considering that, in their letter, the Secretaries General of the National Assembly and the Senate state that the parliament is following this case with interest and refer in this respect to the visit carried out by the Director of the IPU Division for the Promotion of Democracy in November 2008 to Burundi, when he had also raised the case in question and met with the Attorney General,

Considering that parliamentary elections will take place in Burundi in July 2010; according to the information provided by the members of the Burundian delegation to the 122nd IPU Assembly, under Burundian law, the three former members of parliament in detention are not allowed to stand as candidates in these elections,

  1. Thanks the parliamentary authorities and the Burundian delegation for their stated interest in the cases at hand;

  2. Regrets, however, that they have not provided a substantive response to the persistent concerns in these cases;

  3. Refers in this respect in particular to the fundamental issue of torture in the case of Mr. Radjabu et al. and the recommendations on how to combat torture in Burundi issued by the United Nations Committee against Torture, as well as the serious concerns it has expressed about how justice is administered in the cases of the parliamentarians in question;

  4. Observes that its concern about the due administration of justice is further substantiated by the fact that a court decision delivered in March 2009 was not brought to the attention of the person concerned, Mr. Mpawenayo, until seven months later, although it should have at the latest been delivered within two months; and stresses that such undue delays prolong Mr. Mpawenayo's pretrial detention, which in itself may well not be legally founded; wonders why twopersons who were, in common with Mr. Radjabu, given prison sentences are, unlike him, only now serving their sentences;

  5. Reaffirms that, so long as the question of torture in the case of Mr. Radjabu has not been fully elucidated, the suspicion remains that Mr. Radjabu and consequently also Mr. Mpawenayo were or are being prosecuted for political reasons;

  6. Considers that these matters, along with the concerns about Mr. Nkurunziza, have gained further weight and urgency in the light of the forthcoming elections as their continued detention prevents them from seeking election;

  7. Calls therefore again on the authorities to address these matters without further delay and to reply fully to its outstanding requests for information;

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

  9. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 123rd IPU Assembly (October 2010).
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