BUJUMBURA May 29th (ABP) – The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) met on Friday, May 26, 2023 in Bujumbura, the association of “Intwari Women”, some of whom are wives of the country’s leaders, to present to them the missions, the achievements and prospects of the TRC.
The Chair of the TRC, Mr. Pierre Claver Ndayicariye, specified that the missions assigned to that commission include, among other things, investigating and establishing the truth on the serious human rights violations and the international humanitarian law, elucidating the violations of political, civil, economic and social rights, establishing responsibilities for those violations, determining the role of the colonizer in the cyclical violations that have bereaved Burundi, determining the nature, causes and extent of the aforementioned violations, identifying and mapping the mass graves, qualifying the violations, proposing programs of reparation, forgiveness, reconciliation, commemorations, and others.
Regarding the TRC’s achievements made from 2018 to 2022, especially for the events of 1972-1973, he indicated that the TRC has already exhumed 226 mass graves and 22,717 victims in all the provinces of the country. On that occasion, a documentary film illustrating the exhumation of those mass graves was screened to show the Intwari women the works of the TRC.
Mr. Ndayicariye also indicated that genocide is always committed by State bodies. According to him, “The genocide committed against the Bahutu of Burundi in 1972-1973 could not have had the magnitude it had without the participation of the armed forces, the administration and the UPRONA party”. In 1972, he pointed out, the power of President Micombero failed in its primary mission to protect all citizens.
He went on to say that in the future, the TRC will continue to investigate violations committed between 1885 and 2008, adding that other exhumations will be organized. On that occasion, Mr. Ndayicariye asked the Intwari women to know the painful past that Burundi has gone through to perform well the functions that the country has given them. The TRC Chair also urged them to share that truth investigated by the TRC in their families and workplaces. Intwari women are also invited to teach their children peace, love and patriotism while avoiding any form of division, whether ethnic or religious, so that their children do not go through what they have experienced. He explained to them that during the war, women are vulnerable and victims of several evils including sexual abuse. For that reason, Intwari women are invited to be ambassadors of peace, social cohesion and reconciliation.
The deputy leader of the Intwari women’s association, Mrs. Solange Nkurunziza, asked the TRC to set up a listening unit for survivors and victims of those events. According to her, the looted property must be returned to the widows or children of the victims of those events in order to heal the wounds. She promised that the Intwari women will popularize this past to their children.
Other Intwari women who were present in that session asked the TRC to improve communication by increasing radio and television programs to reach a wider audience, including the youth. The Intwari women victims of those events told the TRC that they experience the pain of not knowing the location the mass grave in which theirs were placed.