Opportunities for setting up a TRC in Burundi
Astère Muyango | Institute for Justice and Reconciliation | 2012
After four decades of ethnic violence and serious violations of human rights, Burundi is now at a suitable stage in its history to begin revisiting its past and constructing the foundation for the building of a new future. Burundian society needs to shed light on past events in order to avoid the reappearance of conflict. The main argument brought forward by the author in this policy brief is that that the current socio-political context is favourable for setting up transitional justice mechanisms and specifically for setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The article briefly assesses the conflict in Burundi after which it delves into the peace and reconciliation process of the 2000 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi. The agreement stipulated the formation of an International Commission of Inquiry to conduct investigations, an International Criminal Tribunal to prosecute perpetrators of serious crimes and a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission in charge of establishing the truth of Burundi’s longstanding and violent conflict. The author explains that the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission was prevented from being set up as a result of criticism and opposition expressed by some politicians. In 2005, the report of an International Commission of Inquiry recommended the creation of only one commission made up of national and international members instead of the two commissions as suggested by the Arusha Agreement. Meanwhile, a Tripartite Steering Committee (consisting of the Burundian Government, the United Nations and Civil Society) was created in order to conduct national consultations. The objective was to involve Burundian society and to take into consideration its views regarding the implementation of transitional justice mechanisms. With regards to the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Burundians expressed their views in respect of the period of investigations, the composition of the Commission, the mandate and the operating procedures in general.
Original French title:
L’opportunité de la mise en place de la commission vérité et réconciliation au Burundi