In Burundi, human rights violated with impunity and CNIDH demoted
This report of SOS-Torture covers the period ranging from 4th to 11th February 2017 on the human rights violations that continue to be committed with impunity in Burundi.
The report refers to arbitrary arrests, particularly targeting those
opposed to President Nkurunziza’s third term, and members of the formerly Tutsi “ex-Fab” army suspected of opposing the illegal mandate of President Pierre Nkurunziza and supporting the Armed movements. SOS Torture Burundi has been able to identify five (5) civilians, including three arrested in Cibitoke province by the police commissioner in that province.
During the week of 4th to 11th February, SOS-Torture Burundi reported the forced disappearances of at least six (6) persons in Mutimbuzi commune a few kilometers in the west of Bujumbura by an unidentified armed group. This group has not yet manifested itself and has not given any sign of the life of victims of abductions.
SOS Torture Burundi was able to list five (5) cases of murder during this week, some of which are victims of a confrontation between an armed movement and the police in Mutimbuzi commune of Bujumbura Province, while others were killed mysteriously and their bodies found in different localities of the country.
The report of SOS Torture Burundi comes on recent decision of the Subcommittee on Accreditation of National Human Rights Institutions to demote the Independent National Commission on Human Rights of Burundi (CNIDH) to “B” status and the same decision grants a maximum period of one year to provide proof that the latter has lived up to its mission in Burundi and also demonstrates that it respects international principles, failing which the demotion will be effective. .
Lastly, through this report, the SOS-Torture/Burundi Organization officially launches a campaign against judges and prosecutors who serve other interests than those of the judiciary, currently used as a tool for the repression of all dissenting voices because of certain judges who support the ruling party and this campaign aims to identify them by name. The Burundian population, victims, families of victims, human rights defenders, judges, magistrates and lawyers are called upon to deliver reliable information in proper time.
- Arbitrary arrests, kidnappings and enforced disappearances continue
– Police agents arrested Simeon Nimbona in Karuzi (Central East of the country) on 2nd February 2017. He is an employee of the Burundi Red Cross working in Karuzi province. Witnesses report that he is a victim of his work in the fight against HIV / AIDS. Mr. Nimbona was transferred from Karuzi to the GitegaCentral Prison on 9th February 2017.
SOS-Torture Burundi notes that the prosecution has not yet indicated what is accused of this man. He cannot be incarcerated without being charged and must be released especially as the proceedings have been flawed.
– An armed group kidnapped four persons in the area of Warubondo, Gatumba zone, Mutimbuzi commune, Bujumburale province on 5th February 2017 in the evening; After having robbed the shops. The kidnapped are four young persons from the locality. The same group also kidnapped two other persons: Japhet Ndamuzeye and a young teenager who sold eggs in the Rukaramu zone, Mutimbuzi commune (see point 2 of this report). The perpetrators of the attack have not been identified and the victims remain untraceable until today.
– Cibitoke Provincial Police Commissioner (West of the country), Senior Police Officer I (OPP1) Eugene Bizindavyi, arrested three persons at the town of CibitokeProvince in Cibitoke commune on 6th February 2017. The arrested persons are three young men: Fleury, Fabrice who is employed in a Bar and Cizanye who is a rice seller. Witnesses report that the first was accused to remain sit down national national unity hymn that day; And for the other two for having been absent for the celebration of the feast of National Unity. SOS-Torture Burundi protests against this abuse of power by this police officer who assumes the right to imprison ordinary citizens, especially since there is no law that obliges citizens to participate in such events.
– In the report SOS-Torture Burundi N°44 (http://sostortureburundi.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/SOS-TORTURE-BURUNDI-RAPPORT-N%C2%B044.pdf and http://Sostortureburundi.over-blog.com/2016/10/rapport-n-44-de-sos-torture/burundi-publie-le-15-octobre-2016.html), mention was made of the arbitrary arrest of three Militants of the opposition party FNL (National Front for the Liberation) led by Agathon Rwasa. Bernard Nduwimana, Léopold Sindihebura and Deodette Nakagoma in Ruyigi province (East of the country). SOS Torture was informed that they were released a few days later.
On 18th January 2017, Deodette Nakagoma was arrested again by Ruyigi police. He appeared before the judges of the intermediate court of Ruyigi on February 10th, 2017. This opposition activist is accused of distributing weapons, facts dating back to June 2015, in file RMP 15439 / D. RP5073.
SOS-Torture Burundi noted that the prosecution had refused to bring his witness to trial, arguing before the judges that he preferred to leave him. The so-called prosecution witness is another detainee imprisoned for a month and sentenced to eight years in prison. Without a prosecution witness or any tangible evidence, the public prosecutor did not hesitate to request 5 years in prison and a fine of 100,000 francs. SOS-Torture Burundi, considers that this inability of the public prosecutor to produce the evidence must enable the court to order the acquittal of the detainee who is a victim of his political affiliation.
- Assassinations, summary executions and armed attacks
– A group of armed individuals carried out an attack in the Rukaramu zone, Mutimbuzi commune, Bujumbura province (a few kilometers north-west of Bujumbura) on 5th February 2017 in the evening. Witnesses report that they were targeting shops in the locality. Two of the members of the armed group were shot dead by soldiers who intervened; Their identities have not been established.
– A man’s body was found on Musivya hill, Mparamirundi zone, Busiga commune, Ngozi province (north of the country) on 6th February 2017. Witnesses reported that the victim was carrying stab wounds. The administration evacuated the body before burying it in secret way; But did not identify it. The police also did not want to investigate to identify the victim and shed light on the circumstances of the death even less establish the responsibility of the perpetrators of the crime.
– The body of a man was found hung on the Butembe hill, Mpanda commune, Bubanza province (western part of the country) on 6 thFebruary 2017. It is called Nyoyagi. Relatives and family members reported that he had been missing for a few days. As usual, the police have not yet determined the circumstances of his death.
– Individuals armed with knives attacked a man in the Kizuka zone, Rumonge commune and province (south of the country) on 7th February 2017 in the evening. He is Noel Ntakizonkiza, seriously affected by these individuals. Witnesses reported that the perpetrators were trying to steal the victim’s money. They also injured a child by grenade during their escape after the intervention of neighbors.
– Police agents shot and killed a man in the Mirango I quarter, Kamenge zone, Ntahangwa commune (north of Bujumbura) on 7th February 2017 in the evening. They tried to apprehend armed men who had come to defy households.
- Demotion of the National Independent Commission on Human Rights (CNIDH) to Status B
The Sub Committee in charge of accreditation of National Human Rights Institutions decided to demote the National Independent Commission of Burundi “CNIDH Burundi” to status B for failing to honor its commitments to promote and protect human rights during the beginning of the violence related to the challenge of the third candidacy of Pierre Nkurunziza. The Burundi CNIDH was notified of this decision at the beginning of December 2016 and has a one year deadline to prove that it complies with international principles, failing which the demotion will be effective.
In the event of a demotion to status “B”, the CNIDH itself and the country as a whole lose most credibility.
- No one will take the reports and positions of the CNIDH more seriously because it will be considered that it is not independent and incapable of promoting respect for human rights.
- The CNIDH will no longer be able to take the floor and make statements to the Human Rights Council. Only “A” status institutions are considered.
- The CNIDH will participate only in a consultative and non-deliberative capacity in meetings of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions. Only institutions with “A” status can vote and be eligible for membership in INDHs.
- Donors will no longer be enthusiastic about providing funding to the CNIDH due to the loss of credibility and its notorious failure to live up to the noble mission of promoting human dignity.
- Launching of a black list of judges and magistrates of the Public Prosecutor’s Office who serve other interests than those of justice.
The SOS-Torture Burundi Organization is launching a campaign to identify judges and magistrates of prosecutors’ offices who have served other interests than those of justice to put them on the blacklist to be used during the reform of the «The Burundian judiciary. The Constitution of the Republic of Burundi in Article 60 provides that the judiciary is the custodian of the rights and freedoms of the public and ensures respect for these rights and freedoms under the conditions provided for by law.
Public prosecutors’ magistrates perform their duties in accordance with the law, in all fairness, in a coherent and diligent manner, respect and protect human dignity and defend the rights of the human person, thus contributing to ensuring due process and a good operation of the criminal justice system.
In the same vein, Article 16 of Decree No. 100/114 of 30th April 2013 laying down a professional code of ethics stipulates that the duty of legality for the magistrate is to respect the constitution, laws and regulations, international instruments relating to human rights, conventions, contracts and agreements of all kinds which concern in particular the administration of justice and the conduct of magistrates. Article 17 stipulates that the magistrate must respect the procedures and ensure a fair trial for all persons brought to justice and respect the authority of res judicata both nationally and internationally.
It follows from the above legal and legal instruments that the role of the magistrate is to render justice in conditions respectful of human rights. They are required to ensure that judicial proceedings are objective, impartial and fair
For several years, there has been a discrepancy between theory and practice as regards the role and duty of magistrates; judges are obeyed not by law but by political decision-makers, to the detriment of rights and guarantees of the human person. The procedure often begun, such as that recently observed at the Muyinga High Court, is a ridiculous demonstration of the lack of independence and professional honesty, especially when the judges chose to coldly hear and condemn Corporal Fulgence and his friends of misfortunes tortured to death by the head of the intelligence services in Muyinga, the one relating to the striking off of lawyers and many others, show that some magistrates allow themselves to be guided by the power and violate their duties to render justice in all neutrality and that in respect of the physical integrity of the human being. This situation not only violates human rights, but also promotes impunity for crimes committed by certain administrative, military and police authorities who have become “untouchables”. And often this kind of magistrates is often promoted to lead jurisdictions when they have been failing in their duties.
The identification of corrupt magistrates to put them on the black list and which will be published on certain sites is the first step towards the fight against impunity and the prevention against the violation of human rights by those responsible for the application of the law.
For those who wish to testify:
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SOS-Torture campaign/Burundi was initiated with the aim of informing national and international opinion on serious human rights violations ongoing in Burundi through monitoring reports particularly based on torture, Arbitrary arrests, forced disappearances, sexual violence and summary executions. This initiative to inform about the realities of the country was born after the straughter of a hundred persons killed during the day of 11th December and that of 12th December 2015 by the police and military under the pretext of prosecuting rebels who came to attack military camps on the outskirts of the Bujumbura capital city. The affected quarters are said to be challenging the third term of President Nkurunziza; those are Musaga, Mutakura, Cibitoke, Nyakabiga and Jabe, the last two being located in the center of Bujumbura.