Women protest in Burundi calling UN investigators’ report ‘false’

Burundian women in their hundreds demonstrated in the capital, Bujumbura,  calling for prosecution of U.N investigators for their “wrong” report on crimes against humanity in Burundi since 2015.

Participants in the demonstration, organized by the Burundian National Women’s Forum, included some members of political parties whereas others were from the civil society of Burundi.

“We have first denounced the content of the United Nations’ report. It’s not the first time for UN investigators to write biased and wrong reports on Burundi,” said Menedore Nibaruta, chairperson of the Burundian National Women’s Forum.

She said there is “no evidence” in the UN report showing that crimes against humanity took place in Burundi since 2015.

“They didn’t talk to us. They should therefore be prosecuted because they are liars,” said Nibaruta.

She said Burundi is peaceful, contrary to what the UN investigators have reported.

Three UN investigators on Monday issued a report whereby they urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open a case “as soon as possible” against the Burundian government on crimes against humanity committed since 2015.

The UN inquiry commission said that it had reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity had been perpetrated by the country’s highest authorities.

The report detailed what it described as widespread and systematic abuses including extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, torture and sexual violence.

The investigators had collected views from Burundian refugees living in neighboring countries and in Europe, but were denied access to the Burundian territory due to a previous “biased and wrong” report, according to the Burundian government.

Burundi plunged into a crisis since April 2015 when Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run his controversial third term bid.

His candidature, which was opposed by the opposition and civil society groups, resulted in a wave of protests, violence and even a failed coup on May 13, 2015.

Over 410,000 people have fled to other countries, mostly Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda, since the outbreak of the crisis.

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