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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 187th session
(Geneva, 6 October 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/187/12(b)-R.1), and to the

resolution adopted at its 186th session (April 2010),

Taking into account the letter of the President of the National Assembly, dated 14 September 2010, according to which the recently elected Burundian Parliament would be available for a continued exchange of views with the Committee,

Recalling the following information on file:

  • Mr. Radjabu was arrested in April 2007 and is at present serving a final 13-year prison sentence following his conviction on charges of plotting to undermine State security by inciting citizens to rebel against the authority of the State and 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; Mr. Jean Bigirimana and Mr. Baudoin Ribakare, indicted alongside Mr. Radjabu and both sentenced to 10 years in prison, were arrested only in late 2009 to serve their sentences; a trial observer mandated by the Committee concluded that Mr. Radjabu’s trial was marred by serious flaws, notably the use of torture during the investigation of Mr. Evariste Kagabo and Mr. Abdul Rahman Kabura, the lack of independence of the Court’s judges and of the prosecution and, more generally, the absence of evidence to substantiate the charges; the parliamentary authorities have rejected his conclusions as biased but have not responded to the observer’s rebuttal of their comments; according to the information provided by the President of the Senate in April 2009, the matter of the torture allegations was before an examining magistrate in a separate case;

  • Mr. Mpawenayo was arrested on 4 July 2008 and accused of being Mr. Radjabu’s accomplice; the hearings on the merits of his case have been adjourned for deliberation since 13 January 2009; the claim by Mr. Mpawenayo’s defence that the proceedings have been flawed by procedural irregularities, pertaining essentially to Mr. Mpawenayo’s pretrial detention and the merging of his case with that of Mr. Radjabu, was rejected on 19 March 2009, but Mr. Mpawenayo was informed only on 29 October 2009; his defence has filed a cassation application, which is pending;

  • Mr. Nkurunziza was arrested on 15 July 2008 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; on 4 November 2009, the Kirundo court declined jurisdiction in 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. Gérard Nkurunziza is still awaiting transfer to Mpimba prison near Bujumbura, where the case is apparently to be heard by the Supreme Court;

  • Mr. Minyurano was arrested on 2 October 2008 and accused of assaulting a magistrate in relation to a rental dispute; the Gitega High Court reportedly declared the charges against him null and void and ordered his temporary release; his case is said to be pending in Gitega, awaiting a ruling by a judge,
Recalling that 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 but that, under Burundian law, the other three former members of parliament in detention were not allowed to enter the parliamentary elections of 23 and 28 July 2010,

Bearing in mind that in the speech he made on the occasion of his investiture as elected President of Burundi, Mr. Pierre Nkurunziza stated that “we shall ensure the protection of human rights by promoting a fair and equitable justice and by excluding any trend towards impunity”,

  1. Welcomes the stated commitment of the President of the National Assembly to continued dialogue;

  2. Also welcomes the stated commitment of President Nkurunziza to promoting justice and preventing impunity; stresses that it is precisely such action which is required in this case given the serious allegations of miscarriage of justice, in particular the failure of the authorities to investigate the complaints of torture in the case concerning Mr. Radjabu and consequently Mr. Mpawenayo;

  3. Recalls that, by virtue of the international human rights treaties ratified by Burundi, evidence obtained under torture must be dismissed and that proceedings are fundamentally flawed if such evidence is used;

  4. Earnestly hopes therefore that the newly elected or re-elected authorities will now ensure that the competent authorities carry out without further delay a full examination of the torture complaint and the possible implication of officers of the National Intelligence Service, one of whom was named by one of the alleged victims; would appreciate receiving information on progress made on this point in the separate case before the examining magistrate;

  5. Emphatically recalls also the fundamental principle that justice delayed is justice denied; urges the authorities, as is their duty, either to try Mr. Mpawenayo, Mr. Nkurunziza and Mr. Minyurano without further delay or to drop the proceedings forthwith; considers that the excessive length and the stalemate in the proceedings against Mr. Mpawenayo and Mr. Nkurunziza are reason enough for them to be released provisionally while awaiting further court action;

  6. Considers that an on-site mission in this case would contribute to making progress towards a settlement of this case, and consequently requests the Secretary General to take the necessary steps to this end; is confident that, given their stated commitment to promoting and protecting human rights, the authorities of Burundi will favourably receive such a mission;

  7. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the parliamentary authorities, seeking their agreement to the mission;             8.         Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 124th IPU Assembly (April 2011).
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