Burundi rights activist latest injured in attacks

A Burundi human rights activist, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, was shot and severely wounded by motorcyclists while in his vehicle on Aug. 3. Mbonimpa is the head of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH) and he was a very vocal opponent of President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for a third term. Mbonimpa's shooting comes just one day after Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimana and his bodyguards were killed in a drive-by shooting. [Nshimirimana was a security advisor and close ally of President Nkurunziza.]

The unrest in Burundi intensified in May after the Constitutional Court ruled that President Pierre Nkurunziza could seek a third term in office without violating the country's constitution, which states that presidents shall be universally elected into office for a term of five years and can renew the term once. Those opposing Nkurunziza's bid for a third presidential term claim that both the constitution and the Arusha peace deal (PDF) that ended the 2005 civil war state that no one should be president for more than 10 years. Those backing Nkurunziza claim that this did not apply to him since he was not voted in for his first term but selected by lawmakers. Prior to the July election, in which Nkurunziza won a third term, citizens in Burundi's capital protested in opposition with explosions and gunfire.

From Jurist, Aug. 4. Used with permission.

  1. UN approves investigation into Burundi rights abuses

    The UN Human Rights Council approved a resolution Dec. 17 to dispatch experts to investigate human rights violations in Burundi, condemning violence in the country, use of excessive force by officials, and restrictions on freedoms. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the UN must take immediate action to prevent a civil war in Burundi, and urged officials in the country to disarm militias. The OHCHR actions come just days after attacks on military camps in Bujumbura killed dozens. (Jurist)

  2. ICC to investigate violence in Burundi

    International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on April 25 announced a "preliminary investigation" into allegations that the Burundi government, headed by President Pierre Nkurunziza, committed various human rights violations over the past year. In a statement to the media, Bensouda said that "more than 430 persons were reportedly killed, at least 3,400 people have been arrested and over 230,000 Burundians forced to seek refuge in neighboring countries," and that the government has perpetrated "acts of killing, imprisonment, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as cases of enforced disappearances." Urging that this is not an investigation, but rather a review of available evidence to determine whether an investigation is appropriate, Bensouda pledged to work closely with Burundi authorities in seeking a resolution to these problems. (Jurist)