Banjul, 19 June 2023: The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) has urged Government of Burundi to immediately prosecute and punish perpetrators of extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances and torture that took place during the mass protests against the former President’s attempt to run for a third term in office in April 2015.
According to the facts, in April 2015, widespread protests were held in Burundi following former President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement to run for a third term. These protests were violently repressed by Burundian law enforcement agents, leading to the torture and forced disappearance of many civilians, while several others fled into exile.
In August 2016, IHRDA and three Burundian Lawyers on behalf of 8 victims seized the ACHPR, alleging several violations of rights protected under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The ACHPR communicated its decision to the Plaintiffs on 8 June 2023.
In the decision, the ACHPR found Burundi in violation of several human rights provisions, notably the rights to life, health, dignity, personal security, freedom of assembly and family life. It urged the Burundian government to conduct a thorough independent judicial investigation into the violations and prosecute perpetrators. The ACHPR also called on Burundi to provide adequate reparation as well as medical and psychosocial support to victims/survivors, to offer a public apology to all victims/survivors including those not party to the complaint but who were also directly affected by the attacks, and to put in place several other measures preventing the recurrence of such acts.
“The ACHPR decision is a major step to victory for the survivors who have long sought justice for what they and their loved ones endured. Government of Burundi should fully and promptly implement the decision, pay the compensation, and issue an apology to the victims as recommended by the ACHPR,” IHRDA Interim Head, Edmund Foley, stated.