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UA 06/92 - Burundi: legal / ill-treatment concern: Jean-Berchmans Baragunzwa, Charles Mugiraneza and 20 others held at the Brigade speciale de recherche in Bujumbura

, N° d'index: AFR 16/002/1992

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 16/02/92
Distr: UA/SC
UA 06/92 Legal/Ill-treatment concern 6 January 1992
BURUNDI: Jean-Berchmans Baragunzwa, a director of Gihanga School of Masonry
Charles Mugiraneza, a technical college teacher in Bubanza
and 20 others held at the Brigade spéciale de recherche (BSR), Special
Investigation Brigade, in Bujumbura.
The two people named above and at least 20 other detainees arrested in late November and
early December 1991 are reported to have been subjected to severe beatings and other forms
of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in several different detention centres. They
were arrested in connection with a violent attack, which began on 23 November 1991, by
an armed group on military and other installations in the capital, Bujumbura, and the
provinces of Bubanza and Cibitoke.
Jean-Berchmans Baragunzwa is reported to have been arrested on 12 December 1991 at Gihanga
in Bubanza province. He is reportedly still held at a police station in Bubanza town.
He is reported to have been hand-cuffed so tightly that his arms became acutely sore, making
it impossible to feed himself. Charles Mugiraneza is also reported to have been arrested
on 12 December. He was reportedly subjected to torture under interrogation by members
of the security forces at Bubanza police station in Bubanza. He is reported to have sustained
injuries including a wound on one foot.
Twenty suspected members of the clandestine opposition group known as the Parti pour la
libération du peuple Hutu (PALIPEHUTU), Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People, were
reported in late December 1991 to be held at the headquarters of the Gendarmerie's Brigade
spéciale de recherche (BRS), Special Investigation Brigade. They were reportedly being
kept in a cell measuring about five metres by four metres. They were kept permanently
in handcuffs and showed signs of torture, with fractured bones and open wounds. They
apparently did not have access to medical care.
Amnesty International is concerned that the people mentioned above have been subjected
to severe ill-treatment and torture while in custody. They appear not to have been charged
with any offence and may be held solely on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations that
they support the rebels who attacked Burundi in November 1991. The organization is further
concerned that the authorities have not taken any action to bring those responsible for
the ill-treatment to justice or to ensure that the detainees have access to adequate medical
care.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
Amnesty International has received numerous reports of serious human rights violations
carried out by members of the Burundi security forces in the aftermath of violent attacks
which started on 23 November 1991 by armed government opponents on military and other
installations in the capital, Bujumbura, and in the northwestern provinces of Bubanza and
Cibitoke. The reports concern arbitrary arrests, torture and other forms of ill-treatment,
extrajudicial executions and "disappearances". Many of the abuses appear to have been
carried out as reprisals or on the basis of no evidence that the victims had been involved
in armed opposition.
These human rights violations, especially the extrajudicial executions, resemble those
committed on several occasions in the past, particularly in 1965, 1969, 1972 and, most
recently, in 1988. Following thousands of killings by the army in 1988, the government
refused to take action to bring soldiers responsible for human rights violations to justice,
although at a political level steps were taken to bring about reconciliation between Hutu
and Tutsi.
page 2 of UA 06/92
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/express and airmail letters in FRENCH, if possible:
- expressing concern at reports that the persons mentioned above (naming the two) have
been subjected to severe beatings and even torture by members of the security forces;
- expressing concern that almost all of them are reported to have been kept permanently
in hand-cuffs, a violation of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment
of Prisoners's limits (contained in Article 33) on the use of instruments of restraint;
- inquiring whether the authorities have investigated these reports and, if they have not,
urging them to set up an independent and impartial investigation into allegations
torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and to bring those
found to be responsible to justice and compensate the victims;
- asking for assurances that they are no longer being ill-treated and that they are being
allowed to receive adequate medical care;
- urging the authorities to ensure that the detainees are not held in cramped conditions
and that handcuffs are immediately removed from their hands;
- requesting the authorities to issue clear public instructions to all members of the security
forces that torture and the beating of prisoners are violations of human
rights and criminal offences, and that those found responsible for such abuses will be
brought to justice;
- urging the authorities to ensure that all those arrested solely because of their ethnic
origin, social standing or uncorroborated denunciations are released without delay and
that any others, against whom criminal charges are to be brought, are allowed legal counsel
and are referred to the procuracy with a view to bringing them promptly to trial.
APPEALS TO:
1. President:
Son Excellence Major Pierre Buyoya
Président de la République
Présidence de la République BP 1870,
Bujumbura, République du Burundi
Telegrams: President Buyoya, Bujumbura, Burundi
Telexes: 5039 presibu bdi or
5049 mnd bdi
Salutation: Monsieur le Président / Dear President
2. Prime Minister:
Monsieur Adrien Sibomana
Premier Ministre et Ministre de la Planification
Présidence de la République BP 1870
Bujumbura, République du Burundi
Telegrams: Premier Ministre Sibomana, Bujumbura, Burundi
Telexes: 5039 presibu bdi
Salutation: Monsieur le Premier Ministre / Dear Prime Minister
page 3 of UA 06/92
3. Minister of Justice:
Monsieur Sébastien Ntahuga
Ministre de la Justice
Ministère de la Justice BP 1880
Bujumbura, République du Burundi
Telegrams: Ministre Ntahuga, Bujumbura, Burundi
Telexes: via Ministry of Foreign Affairs: 5065 minirext, attn Ministre Ntahuga
Salutation: Ministre Ntahuga / Dear Minister
4. Minister of Health:
Dr Norbert Ngendabanyikwa
Ministre de la Santé publique
Ministère de la Santé publique
Bujumbura, République du Burundi
Telegrams: Ministre Ngendabanyikwa, Bujumbura, Burundi
Salutation: Ministre Ngendabanyikwa / Dear Minister
5. Commander of Bujumbura's Police Force:
Monsieur le Commandant de la Police urbaine de Bujumbura et Inspecteur des Postes de
Police
Ministère de l'Intérieur
BP 1910, Bujumbura
République du Burundi
Telegrams: Commandant de la Police urbaine de Bujumbura, Bujumbura, Burundi
Salutation: Monsieur le Commandant / Dear Commander
COPIES TO:
1. Minister of the Interior:
Monsieur Libère Bararunyeretse
Ministre de l'Intérieur et du Développement des collectivités locales
Ministère de l'Intérieur, BP 1910
Bujumbura, République du Burundi
2. Governor of Bubanza:
Monsieur Balthazar Kirubusa
Gouverneur de la Province de Bubanza
Hôtel de ville, Bubanza
République du Burundi
3. General Administrator of National Security:
Monsieur Laurent Niyonkuru
Administrateur Général de la Sûreté nationale
Ministère de la Défense nationale
Bujumbura, République du Burundi
4. Director of Criminal Investigation Police
Monsieur le Directeur de la Police judiciaire des parquets
Palais de Justice
BP 82 Bujumbura
République du Burundi
5. President of Human Rights Organization:
Monsieur Eugène Nindorera
Président
Ligue burundaise des droits de l'homme
BP 177, Bujumbura
République du Burundi
6. Newspaper Editor:
Monsieur le Rédacteur-en-Chef
Le Renouveau
BP 2870, Bujumbura,
République du Burundi
and to diplomatic representatives of Burundi in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section
office, if sending appeals after 17 February 1992.

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