Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, “a sine qua non first step” towards accountability
TRIAL International welcomes the extension of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi. Although ending impunity is a long way ahead, this is a signal that the international community remains vigilant.
On 7 October 2020, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted for the renewal of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi (CoI) for one more year.
Three months earlier, TRIAL International and 40 partner NGOs had called on member States to renew the CoI. “We would welcome meaningful and concrete improvements in the human rights situation in Burundi, and we believe that the best chance to achieve such meaningful change is through the renewal of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry, as well as the Burundian authorities reinitiating dialogue with the CoI, OHCHR, and other UN and AU human rights bodies and mechanisms” stated the address.
Referring to the election of Évariste Ndayishimiye in Spring 2020, the joint statement also expressed that “the political transition represents an opportunity to open a new chapter (for Burundi)”.
A meaningful first step towards justice
“The CoI alone cannot end impunity for grave crimes in Burundi” says Pamela Capizzi, National Coordinator at TRIAL International. “But its existence is a sine qua non first step to documenting the abuse and thus towards justice for victims. It is also a welcome signal that the crisis in Burundi remains high on the international agenda.”
As of today, the CoI remains the only independent mechanism mandated to document human rights violations and abuses (including on their extent and whether they may constitute crimes under international law), monitor, and publicly report on the situation in Burundi, with sufficient resources and experience to do so.