• Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

The TRC presents the progress report for the 2018-2022 financial year


Sep 22, 2023

BUJUMBURA September 20th (ABP) – The president of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Pierre Claver Ndayicariye, presented on Monday September 18, 2022 at the Kigobe hemicycle, before the parliament meeting in congress, the progress report for the 2018-2022 financial year on the painful past experienced by Burundi, from German colonization until 1972-1973.

After viewing the film showing all the activities already carried out on the ground during the 1st mandate of the members of the TRC, Mr. Ndayicariye indicated that this commission has sufficiently carried out investigations into crimes committed against Burundians during the German colonial era (1896-1916), as well as during the Belgian colonial era (1916-1962). He stressed that from those investigations, the TRC accuses the colonial powers of committing 12 crimes against the Burundian people.

It is a question of invading Burundi and putting it under the colonial yoke, of dishonoring the parents even if it means that they are shamed with nudity in front of their children, of discriminating against men within the government of the country while entrusting the functions to young delinquents, and to sow division among Burundians, which caused killings as well as the creation of ethnic names namely Abahutu, Abatutsi and Abatwa.

In addition to those crimes cited above, there is the destruction of the kingdom of Burundi, the contempt for Burundian culture and customs, the forced integration of Burundians into the new colonial religion, the exclusion of part of Burundians within the government by favoring the Burundians who had become the allies of the colonizers in the destruction of the country and so on.

Present and future generations must know that the Germans and Belgians owe a heavy debt to them, because, Mr. Ndayicariye said, it was the colonizers who destroyed the country and who divided the Burundians to rule. According to him, the deep roots of ethnic conflicts in Burundi are linked to social injustices, discrimination and the role played by colonizers and missionaries.

Furthermore, the TRC considers that the various trials prior to 1972, which brought down numerous civil, political and military executives of the Bahutu ethnic group and the trial against the Batutsi Banyaruguru putschists of 1971, caused serious and massive violations of human rights in Burundi, in particular those of 1972-1973.

As for the legal qualification of the crimes, the president of the TRC indicated that the commission has the obligation to qualify the crimes which were committed in Burundi on the basis of both national and international laws in consultation with experts and historians. For example, the assassination of the army chaplain general in 1964, Mgr. Gabriel Gihimbare, a native of Gitega province, was described as a state crime, while the assassination of Prime Minister Pierre Ngendandumwe on January 15, 1965 was described as an assassination with a political-ethnic motive.

                                                                                       View of the MPS

In the same vein, the sponsors and perpetrators of the crime of assassination of King Ntare V Charles Ndizeye were guilty of the crime of kidnapping, torture, assassination, inhuman and degrading treatment, extrajudicial execution and of corpse mutilation. That crime is part of the massive violations of human rights that the TRC has already described as genocide against the Bahutu of Burundi, a crime against humanity committed against the Bahutu throughout the country, a crime against humanity committed against the Batutsi and crimes against humanity committed against the Batwa (Mwaro and Muramvya) because, explained Mr. Ndayicariye, the execution of Ntare V was part of the outbreak of the 1972-1973 genocide, where this crime committed against him was qualified as a crime against humanity.

Among the challenges encountered, the president of the TRC indicated that he had not established representatives of the TRC at the provincial level due to a lack of resources. He also said that some truth holders have not been able to speak openly, and others are abroad. He stressed that work continues until the common truth is known.

He asked Burundians to tell each other the truth and forgive each other because, he explained, whoever wants to cure an illness displays it. He called on all those who committed crimes in Burundi or the sponsors, whether they are inside the country or abroad, to ask for forgiveness before death takes them away.

He finally asked the Burundian government to sit down together with the Kingdom of Belgium so that it rewards Burundi and the family of Prince Louis Rwagasore, to set up a national monument, provincial and municipal monuments in memory of all the victims of previous crises, and to ask for forgiveness publicly because of the sacred principle of the continuity of the State.

Members of the lower and upper houses of the Burundian parliament thanked the TRC for the said report presented in detail. They promised to support the TRC until the mission entrusted to it was completed. They validated and adopted this report by issuing a declaration in accordance with the constitution of the Republic of Burundi. Note that the TRC has already written 52 books with 19,000 pages in total, based on investigations already carried out.