Mother presses charges for the rape of her 9-year-old daughter

03.06.2016 ( Last modified: 27.01.2017 )

Fanny (real name withheld) was only nine years old when she was raped by a military officer. He was a family friend and regularly visited Fanny and her parents.

One night, while patrolling in Fanny’s neighborhood, he forcefully took the young girl to his domicile. There, after taking his clothes off, he undressed the victim and raped her. Several times, he threatened to kill her and her family if ever she were to reveal the rape.

In spite of the threats, Fanny, in extreme distress, found the courage to tell the facts to her mother a few days later.

Her mother, who also has two other children, was immediately in favor of prosecuting the torturer. Her husband preferred a friendly settlement – in other words, the payment of a sum of money in order to forget about the case. Given this fundamental disagreement, Fanny’s father left the family home. Therefore, her mother began her long quest for justice on her own.

Procedure

The Burundian justice heard all the parties’ testimonies and a medical expertise was conducted, confirming the young girl’s statements. But gradually, the procedure became obscure and the investigation slacked. Finally, after months of inaction, the auditor closed the case, under the pretext of insufficient infringing elements.

In the face of this injustice, TRIAL International and local NGO Centre Seruka took up the case on in 2013. Together, they brought it before the United Nations, asking for the rape to be recognized, as well as Burundi’s failure to fulfil its international obligations to protect her and grant her justice. The procedure is pending.

Today, Fanny’s health remains worrying. Her mother, after having refused the amicable settlement, has been abandoned by her family. Both Fanny and her mother are living in extremely precarious conditions.