The collective of lawyers grouped into “Justice for Burundi” reports that at the end of May 2017, 98 new warrants have been sent to the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court-ICC. “This brings to nearly 800 cases of warrants that were entrusted to the collective”, says Armel Niyongere, a human rights defender.
He says the file includes cases of sexual violence, extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture, assassinations, etc. “We continue to work hand in hand with the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Burundi to bring investigators and get them connected with various direct eyewitnesses who may provide complete and specific information on crimes against humanity committed in Burundi”, says Niyongere.
Jean Baptiste Baribonekeza, the chairman of the National Commission for Human Rights-CNIDH said about 720 people were killed, over 80 others tortured since Burundi has plunged into the current crisis in April 2015. He was referring to the current human rights situation after two years of crisis in the country. “Between 700 and 800 people have been arbitrarily arrested in different areas of the country but some of them were released thanks to the intervention of CNDIH”, said Baribonekeza.
Baribonekeza said the human rights situation deteriorated at the beginning of 2015 but has improved as time went by. “Considering the situation between 2015 and 2016, there has been some improvement in 2017”, he said.
The human rights activists advance a figure of more than 2,000 people killed since April 2015, more than 8,000 imprisoned and thousands of Burundians who have been forced into exile fearing for their security. UNHCR recently reported that since April 2015, some 410,000 refugees and asylum seekers have been forced to flee their homes.