PUBLIC AI Index: AFR 16/33/99
UA 303/99 “Disappearance” 23 November 1999
Amnesty International is seriously concerned for the safety of Tharcisse
Havarimana, who has “disappeared” after being arrested. He was last seen at
the Police de sécurité publique (PSP), Public Security Police, in Kigobe, a
district of the capital, Bujumbura, on 19 November 1999. Since then the Director
of the PSP has reportedly denied that he was ever in custody there.
Tharcisse Havarimana was arrested on 29 October 1999 in an area of Bujumbura
known as the quartier asiatique, Asian district. He was taken into custody
at the PSP.
The magistrate investigating the case is reported to have stated initially
that Tharcisse Havarimana had been released, but later claimed that he had
been transferred to the Brigade spéciale de recherche (BSR), Special
investigation unit headquarters, in Bujumbura. However, officers at the BSR
have reportedly denied that he is held there.
Bujumbura has recently come under frequent attack by armed opposition groups,
who have deliberately and arbitrarily killed civilians. These attacks increased
in August 1999: since then the security forces have arrested scores of people,
and Amnesty International has received increasingly frequent reports of torture
Most reported “disappearances” occur shortly after people have been arrested,
often by soldiers. Many of these reports are difficult to confirm, since
relatives do not have access to detainees, and the authorities refuse to say
where they are held. Relatives may be told without further explanation that
the detainee is no longer held or has never been held, creating fear that the
detainee has been killed. In some cases, this fear is well-founded. In others,
the detainee may have been transferred to a different place of detention and
may subsequently be found alive in detention.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
French or your own language:
- calling for urgent investigations into the arrest and “disappearance” of
Tharcisse Havarimana, and for information on his whereabouts to be publicly
- calling on the authorities to take immediate steps to protect him, if he
- calling for those found to have committed or condoned grave human rights
violations to be brought to justice.
Minister of Defence
Lieutenant-Col. Alfred NKURUNZIZA
Ministre de la Défense Nationale
Ministère de la Défense Nationale
BP 1870 Bujumbura, Burundi
Telegrams: Ministre Défense, Bujumbura, Burundi
Faxes:+ 257 22 39 59 / 21 75 05