- Title: BURUNDI: Burundi, UN agree on truth commission and tribunal
- Date: 30th May 2007
- Summary: WOMEN WHO ARE VICTIMS OF GENDER VIOLENCE SINGING TO WELCOME ARBOUR
- Embargoed: 14th June 2007 13:00
- Location: Burundi
- Country: Burundi
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVABRGC1YGTDVAJW0P3UA8YUK1QJ
- Story Text: U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour says Burundi has agreed to set up a truth and reconciliation commission as well a tribunal for crimes committed during its 12-year civil war. Burundi has agreed to set up a truth and reconciliation commission and a tribunal to try people who committed crimes during the central African nation's 12-year civil war, the United Nations said on Wednesday (May 23).
More than 300,000 people were killed in the clashes between rebels from the Hutu majority and the dominant Tutsi minority. Peace came in 2005 but Burundian security agents have been implicated in assassinations, torture and extrajudicial killings.
Louise Arbour, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said negotiations were still ongoing as to how the two bodies would work together, and on the scope of freedom and authority the tribunal's prosecutor would have.
"There's no debate us to whether the two institutions should be pursued. To me that is clearly in place so the question is what will be the relationship and in particular whether the prosecutor of the special chamber, special tribunal will be bound in any way by any findings made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We advocate of course a large degree of independence for their prosecutor to pursue the inquiries as he or she sees fit. We are still negotiating with the government the interaction between the two mechanisms. On the other hand we now have an important consensus on the fact that there will be no amnesties that will bind any judicial institution on war crimes, acts of genocide, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of human rights which I think is an important element of clarity in the pursuit of peace, justice and reconciliation in Burundi," Arbour said at a news conference at the end of her five-day visit to Burundi.
Analysts say one of the biggest tests for President Pierre Nkurunziza's government is whether it will carry out a thorough reconciliation process, which is likely to implicate some of its allies and perhaps senior officials.
Nkurunziza himself was a Hutu rebel leader.
The truth commission and the tribunal will be set up after national consultations to be led by a nine-member panel with three members each from the government, the United Nations and civil society groups.
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