Burundi continues to show reluctance in prosecuting citizens accused of role in Genocide against the Tutsi

On 28 February 2024 at 02:28

The Government of Burundi has yet to respond to calls for the extradition or domestic trial of 16 of its citizens implicated in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

In the aftermath of the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye in October 1993, Burundi plunged into violence, prompting many Burundians, particularly of Hutu ethnicity, to seek refuge in Rwanda.

These individuals, harboring resentment against Tutsis for perceived involvement in Ndadaye’s death, allied with the Interahamwe militia. They underwent training in camps near their homeland and engaged in the genocide, exploiting familial ties with Rwandan Hutus as a pretext for their involvement.

The brutality of these Burundian participants was marked by heinous acts, including the mutilation and consumption of their victims’ hearts, as recounted by Munyurangabo Evode, a genocide survivor. He emphasized the extreme violence perpetrated by Burundians and the urgent need for their prosecution.

The sentiments of grief and frustration are shared by Rwandan citizen Nzigiyimana Michel, who believes the survival rate of Tutsis would have been higher without the involvement of Burundians with the Interahamwe. He lamented the continued freedom of these perpetrators in Burundi.

As of February 27, 2024, the National Prosecution Authority’s spokesperson, Nkusi Faustin, disclosed that Rwanda has identified 1,148 individuals wanted for their role in the genocide, including 16 Burundians. Despite extradition requests, Burundi’s response has been notably absent.

Dr. Ngamije Daniel, speaking at the 28th commemoration of the genocide, underscored the ongoing issue of accountability for Burundians’ involvement. He called for investigative actions to ensure justice for the atrocities committed, particularly in areas adjacent to Burundi.

Alain Mukuralinda, the Deputy Spokesperson for the Rwandan Government, recently criticized Burundi’s failure to either extradite or prosecute the accused individuals, highlighting a missed opportunity for justice.

Even three decades after the genocide, which saw the loss of over a million lives, some countries continue to avoid taking action against known perpetrators, underscoring a persistent challenge in achieving full accountability and reconciliation.

The National Prosecution Authority’s spokesperson, Nkusi Faustin.