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The Parliament joint plenary session : Presentation of the CVR’s progress report before the Parliament

publie le Tuesday 19 September 2023
parCommunication and Spokesperson’s Office

Asking for forgiveness, like granting it, is a long-term exercise, but vital in the process of effective reconciliation in Burundian society. This is the conclusion of Burundi Parliament on Monday September 18, 2023, during the presentation of the CVR’s progress report. The added value is the plunge into colonial times, from 1896 to 2022, even though this report focused on a four-year period, from 2018 to 2022.

According to the report, Burundians’ problems, which take the form of recurring crises, have their roots in colonization, firstly by Germany (from 1896 to 1916) and then by Belgium (from 1916 to 1962). 12 charges, including the invasion of the country and crimes against humanity, weigh heavily on colonization, the consequences are still gaping. The sowing seeds of division following the upheaval of society are testimony to this. Whereas Burundians used to recognize each other by clan, the colonizers set up an ethnic system with its corollary of supremacy.

The renegade phenomenon commonly known as "kwihutura" also stems from an identity complex, to the extent that this clan is found among both Bahutu and Batutsi. Nevertheless, the report acknowledges that life was not rosy before European penetration. Innocent people were sacrificed during the sorgo and sowing festival known as "umuganuro". Certain clans were accused of bringing bad luck.

The report shows that all strata of the Burundian population have been bereaved by the repeated crises that erupted since the assassination of the hero of independence, Prince Louis Rwagasore. Since then, the dynasty has been plagued by quarrels between the Batare and Bezi families. Another tragedy following the murder of Prince Louis Rwagasore was the assassination, on January 14, 1962, of Christian trade unionists and members of the PDC, Christian Democratic Party, in Kamenge, Gasenyi and Gatunguru by the JNR, Rwagasore National Youth. The tear in the social fabric widened over time. In 1964, for example, an identity rift opened up within the Catholic Church of Burundi with the assassination of Monseigneur Gabriel Gihimbare, the first Murundi Bishop, a native of Giheta from the Hutu ethnic group. He died just as the Holy See had honored him as successor to Bishop Gorju.

On January 15, 1965, The Prime Minister Pierre Ngendandumwe, a Hutu, was assassinated in the courtyard of the Rondin Clinic while his wife was in maternity. That same year, Antoine Serukwavu, Secretary of State for the Police, joined forces with Captain Michel Micombero, State Secretary for the Army, in a pseudo coup d’état that led to the beheading of Hutu, the National Assembly leaders, including Joseph Bamina, Ignace Ndimanya, Émile Bucumi, Paul Mirerekano and Patrice Mayondo. Serukwavu, who found himself alone in the palace at the head of his troops, had to flee before Micombero’s regiment, which disguized itself as the savior. The latter used trickery to convince King Mwambutsa IV to save his life by fleeing abroad. The same canning was utilized by Micombero, who advised Prince Charles Ndizeye to dethrone his father in 1965. And then he did it. He reigned under the dynastic name of Ntare V. But his reign didn’t last longer, since he was overthrown by Captain Michel Micombero in 1966. He then put an end to the monarchical regime and established a republic.

In 1969, some Hutus were accused of fomenting a coup d’état. They were hastily assassinated under a show trial.Retour ligne automatique
In 1971, it was the turn of the Tutsi banyaruguru soldiers to be unjustly accused. The Attorney General of the Republic, Mr. Léonard Nduwayo, preferred to resign rather than accuse the innocents. The latter were acquitted.Retour ligne automatique
The climax of the Hutu massacres was reached in 1972. The 1972 genocide was so meticulously planned that even foreigners were involved, as evidenced by the so-called Maï Mulele rebellion that allegedly came from Zaire (now the DRC) to wreak havoc by massacring the Tutsi population in Rumonge along the Lake Tanganyika. To avenge these deaths, the regime systematically eliminated Hutu intellectuals and businessmen throughout the country.Retour ligne automatique
Germany and Belgium should ask the Burundian people for forgiveness and mend the crimes committed in Burundi, without forgetting to compensate the family of Prince Louis Rwagasore.

MPs were surprised to find no mention of the Uprona party in the CVR report, despite the fact that personalities such as Joseph Bamina and Paul Mirerekano were early activists in this political group. The answer was that Uprona, being a single party, was a state party.Retour ligne automatique
With regard to the significant involvement of Rwandan refugees in the 1972 genocide, the Chairman of the CVR explained that the Rwandans whose names appear in the report had played an important role. Some were seen holding either rifles or lists of people to be massacred. Others were driving vehicles loaded with corpses. In addition, Rwandan Tutsi refugees created a psychosis among Burundian Tutsi, leading them to "pre-empt" the Burundian Hutus so as not to suffer the same fate as the Burundian Tutsi.

During the war, there were both human and material loss. Reconciliation cannot be effective when the victims have not yet recovered their rights. The President of the Senate therefore proposed that the law governing the CVR be brought back to Parliament for amendment. Indeed, for the Right Honorable Emmanuel Sinzohagera, the CVR should take over the missions entrusted to the Land and Other Assets Commission, CNTB, which no longer exists.

At the end of the congress, Parliament issued a Solemn Declaration adopting the report, while encouraging the CVR to continue the investigation of the other events for the years 1988, 1991 and 1993 until 2008. The read declaration asks the Government of the Republic of Burundi to organize a diplomatic campaign based on the results already achieved, set up a platform for dialogue, grant the necessary budget for the evacuation of the mound of earth covering the mass graves recorded but not yet excavated on the Ruvubu site, and to officially ask forgiveness, in the name of the Burundian nation, on the behalf of all the families who who didn’t mourned theirs during the crises.

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