End impunity in Burundi

The Government of Burundi has failed to take effective measures to bring perpetrators of gross human rights violations to justice. Act to demand accountability.

Protests erupted in Burundi on 26 April 2015 as President Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term. Political opponents were targeted and killed by the security forces. Between April 2015 and April 2016, the UN recorded 564 cases of extrajudicial killings. The UN Independent Investigation on Burundi (UNIIB) found that most of the victims were real or perceived opponents of the third term, or members of political opposition parties. UNIIB identified members of the security forces, often supported by the Imbonerakure, the youth wing of the ruling party, as responsible for the large-scale killings.

The government published a report to “shed light on the insurrectional movement that started in April 2015.” It concluded that those who were involved in protests organized an insurrection to overthrow the government. However, it failed to address any allegations of gross human rights violations by the security forces or the Imbonerakure.

In March 2016, the results of the Commission of Inquiry, established by the Prosecutor General, into alleged extrajudicial executions on 11 December 2015 and the discovery of suspected mass graves failed to provide answers on allegations of extrajudicial killings and the use of excessive force by security forces.

Despite being a member of the Human Rights Council (HRC), the government has now stopped cooperating with international investigation teams. On 10 October 2016, the government declared three independent experts, members of UNIIB, persona non grata. It has refused to cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, established by the HRC in September 2016.

Call on the Burundian authorities to take steps to address impunity through independent, impartial, effective investigations and judicial processes

Dear President Nkurunziza,

I, the undersigned, wish to express my concern about ongoing human rights violations in Burundi and the lack of the effective measures to independently investigate human rights violations in the country where hundreds have been unlawfully killed by members of the security forces and the youth wing of the ruling party, Imbonerakure.

I urge you, Mr. President, to take necessary steps to protect civilians in Burundi by ensuring that the office of the Prosecutor General conducts effective, impartial and independent investigations into human rights violations that have occurred in Burundi since April 2015. Those responsible for human rights abuses, regardless of their status, including members of security forces and member of Imbonerakure, should be brought to justice in a fair trial.

I urge you to instruct your government to fully cooperate with international human rights investigations in Burundi, including the Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry on human rights violations in Burundi.

Yours sincerely