Burundi/Reconciliation - Truth Commission Elected amid Opposition Boycott
an article by Hirondelle News Agency
Arusha, December 4, 2014 (FH) – Burundi’s
parliament on Monday elected the eleven
members of a Truth and Reconciliation
Commission (TRC), but the opposition refused to
take part in the vote. The TRC is to cast light on
ethnic massacres that have scarred the country
ever since independence.
Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi (left) with (l to r) Archbishops Justin Welby, Henri Isingoma and Onesphore Rwaje.
click on photo to enlarge
“We boycotted the vote to protest against the
creation of a TRC based only on what the ruling
CNDD-FDD party wants,” said parliamentary
opposition leader Charles Nditije in an interview
The CND-FDD of President Pierre Nkurunziza is
mainly Hutu. “Normally, it takes two to reconcile,”
added Nditije, saying that truth and reconciliation
cannot take place without justice.
The Burundian opposition and civil society
criticize the TRC law for omitting the judicial
element and stressing forgiveness, or for having
included political personalities.
Parliamentary speaker Pie Ntavyohanyuma
nevertheless hailed the “historic” vote, according
The TRC has six Hutu members, four Tutsis and
one Twa, elected by a simple majority. They were
chosen from a list of 33 personalities selected
from 725 candidates by a mixed commission from
Burundi’s National Assembly and Senate. Out of
the eleven members, four are women.
The TRC President is Catholic bishop Jean-Louis
Nahimana, a Hutu, while its Vice-President is
Bernard Ntahoturi, Tutsi archbishop of the
Anglican church in Burundi.
Burundi has been independent since 1962 like
neighbouring Rwanda. It has suffered a series of
ethnic massacres and coups d'Etat, notably since
1972, followed by a long civil war (1993-2006)
between Hutu rebels and the army. The army was
dominated until recently by the Tutsi minority.
Some 300,000 people were killed during the war.
The TRC will have four years to establish the truth
about mass crimes committed in the country
between 1962 and 2008; identify and map mass
graves; propose a reparations programme; and
promote reconciliation and forgiveness.
Neighbouring Rwanda, where an anti-Tutsi
genocide was unleashed in 1994, has the same
ethnic makeup as Burundi.
Question(s) related to this article:
Truth Commissions, Do they improve human rights?
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