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Transitional justice, a combination of judicial and non-judicial mechanisms to confront Burundi’s past, according to a panelist


Dec 19, 2022

GITEGA December 19th (ABP) – The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR) organized from Thursday to Friday, December 16, 2022, in Gitega (center of the country), a workshop for media professionals to discuss the preliminary notions on transitional justice, ten steps towards genocide, the process of qualifying crimes and its achievements, the issue of reparations, to name but a few.

In his presentation, panelist Marius Rusumo said that transitional justice is a combination of judicial and non-judicial mechanisms to confront the past, establish the truth and end impunity to promote national reconciliation in countries emerging from a period of conflict or dictatorial regimes marked by massive violations of human rights. He also pointed out that the main pillars of transitional justice mechanisms include the truth commission, criminal prosecutions, reparations for victims and institutional reforms and vetting, among others.

In turn, CVR Commissioner Aloys Batungwanayo told the participants that understanding the genocide process is one of the most important steps to prevent future genocides. He also pointed out that classification or categorization, symbolization, discrimination, dehumanization, organization, polarization, preparation, persecution, extermination and denial constitute the stages of genocide as defined by Gregory H. Stanton.

As for the professor at the University of Burundi, Mr. Jean Bosco Harerimana, the right to reparation for victims/survivors is established in many international and regional conversations to restore their dignity. This, he said, can include formal apologies, individual or collective material and economic compensation, physical or psychological rehabilitation as well as spiritual reparation related to religion, culture and burial ceremonies.

Regarding the types of reparation to victims, Mr. Rusumo underlines that national reconciliation is a right for the victims, an obligation for the State, a gesture of recognition of the wrongs suffered and the restoration of man in his dignity.

According to Mr. Harerimana, although each conflict has unique characteristics, the research has highlighted four possible negative consequences of a restorative process. These are the exacerbation of political tensions, the re-traumatization of victims or the exacerbation of damage, the marginalization or social exclusion of victims and the creation of tensions with development or nation-building processes.

Note that so far, the judicial authorities at the international level have recognized three genocides, namely the genocide of the Jews, the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda and the genocide committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, as indicated by Mrs. Léa Pascasie Nzigamasabo, the secretary at the CVR.