Parliamentarians disagree over responsibility for crimes committed in Burundi

“At least 140,000 Burundians were killed and others went missing in crises that Burundi experienced from 1885 to 2008,” said Pierre Claver Ndayicariye, chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR) when presenting the annual report before parliamentarians on Tuesday 14 January.
According to CVR, over 4,000 mass graves were identified in various provinces of Burundi.

Pierre Claver Ndayicariye, CVR chairman: “At least 140,000 Burundians were killed and others went missing in crises that Burundi experienced from 1885 to 2008,”

Parliamentarians have raised concerns about the identification of the perpetrators of these crimes.

Reverien Ndikuriyo, Burundi Senate leader, believes that the crimes committed in Burundi were mainly perpetrated by the colonizers, especially the Belgium.

“Senators found that the Belgians are responsible for all Burundians killed for their ethnic identities. They ordered those killings,” says Mr Ndikuriyo.

Agathon Rwasa, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly dismisses the accusations against Belgium, arguing that the crimes continue to be committed in Burundi while the Belgians are longer colonizing Burundi.

“It’s is true that we were colonized. But, we have to assess how Burundian behaved since we achieved our independence. We continue to kill each other even though Belgians were chased away, “said MP Rwasa.
He wonders why Burundians denounce crimes committed in the past when they continue to commit the same crimes.

As for MP Léopord Hakizimana, he expresses his doubts about the CVR’s mission to reconcile Burundians. For him, the fact that CVR displays human remains exhumed from different mass graves identified in the country can cause trauma to the families of the victims.

Pierre Claver Ndayicariye, the commission’s chairman admits that CVR is not advanced in reconciliation process. He considers it necessary to organize a moment for Burundians to mourn for all theirs.

He indicates that the commission lacks the financial means and sufficient staff to properly accomplish its mission.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is responsible for investigating and establishing the truth about the serious human rights violations and international humanitarian law violations committed during the period between 26 February, 1885 and 4 December, 2008.