Former Burundi King’s daughter not shocked by Geneva court ruling

Former Burundi King Mwambutsa IV Bangiricenge

Former Burundi King Mwambutsa IV Bangiricenge

Geneva justice court has ruled that the remains of Mwambutsa IV, former Burundi king, will remain in Switzerland, local media has reported this 1st November 2016.

The verdict comes to end a feud between members of the monarch’s family who disagreed on whether the remains of the king would be kept in Switzerland or brought back home. The last living king’s daughter, Princess Paula Rosa Iribagiza, who sought the repatriation of her father’s remains said she accepted the court’s decision. “It’s not a big deal. After all, I would never see my father again”, she said.

King Mwambutsa IV Bangiricenge died and was buried in Geneva, Switzerland in 1977 while in exile. In 2012, Burundi government asked its Suiss counterpart to allow for the repatriation of the king, a request that was supported by the king’s daughter. According to the spokesperson of the Burundian Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Béatrice Nibogora, “the government wanted the king to be buried with dignity like all other kings before him”.

The motion was met by a categorical refusal by Esther Kamatari, the king’s niece who cited the king’s testament that expressed his wish to be buried in Switzerland and never be taken back to his country.

She brought the case to Geneva justice court in 2012 after Iribagiza’s half-sister, Collette Berete Uwimana in Geneva, exhumed the king to bring him back to Burundi. The present court ruling seems to have ended the court battle though an appeal to Switzerland highest court is still possible according to local media. Nibogora says the decision whether to make an appeal will depend on the advice of the government’s lawyers.