Burundi: UN human rights expert to assess transitional justice efforts

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 5, 2014— United Nations human rights expert Pablo de Greiff will visit Burundi from 8 to 16 December to assess the transitional justice efforts undertaken by the authorities thus far. Since gaining independence in 1962, Burundi has experienced several periods and incidents of grave violence and massive abuses, often ethnically motivated.

“This first visit comes at a particularly crucial moment,” the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence said, pointing to the ongoing process of the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The creation of the truth-seeking body in Burundi is one of the main steps contained in the Arusha Agreement of 2000 and a key recommendation of the national consultations of 2009.

“However, beyond truth-seeking, my mandate focuses on the areas of justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, which,” as the expert pointed out, “aim to redress the legacies of massive human rights violations, and to assist in providing recognition to victims, foster trust and reconciliation, and strengthen the rule of law.”

“I intend to assess objectively and impartially the work undertaken in all four areas of my mandate and offer my assistance to the Government and the entire Burundian society to adequately address past violations with the aim to continue to move forward,” the Special Rapporteur underlined.

Mr. de Greiff, who is visiting the country at the invitation of the Burundi authorities, is scheduled to meet with Government officials, representatives of the legislative and judicial branches, law enforcement officials, a broad range of civil society actors, victims, the UN and diplomatic delegations. He is scheduled to visit the provinces of Bujumbura Rural, Bubanza and Gitega.

The expert will hold a press conference in Bujumbura at the end of the visit on 16 December at 10:30 at the Office of the United Nations in Burundi (BNUB), Chaussée d’Uvira, to present his preliminary findings and recommendations.

A final report on the visit will be presented by the Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2015.

SOURCE: United Nations – Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)