Agathon Rwasa

Ce site web publie les atrocités des rebelles FNL du Burundi et mène une campagne pour traduire en justice le dirigeant des FNL, Agathon Rwasa. Nous essayons aussi de mettre à nue la question d'impunité en génerale. This website aims to highlight atrocities by the Burundian FNL rebels, and campaigns to see FNL leader Agathon Rwasa brought to justice. We also aim to highlight the issue of impunity worldwide.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Corruption at the UN office in Burundi: Secretary General must demand an explanation from Carolyn Mcaskie

UN Burundi head Carolyn McAskie

Click here to email the UN directly

Carolyn McAskie, the head of the UN Office in Burundi, has been visiting New York this week to discuss her operation with the United Nations Security Council. They must demand an explanation from her over reports of corrupt links between UN personnel and the Hutu-extremist group Palipehutu-FNL.

Twenty-three days ago, a senior FNL figure was arrested in Burundi with illegally-procured UN uniforms in his possession. He subsequently stated that he had obtained them from an employee of the South African UN peacekeeping force.

No explanation, or apology, has yet been offered by Carolyn McAskie or her staff for this gross compromise of UN neutrality. Many Burundians are very angry about this, and the reputation of the United Nations is suffering as a result.

Click here to support the call for a war crimes trial for Aloys Nzabampema and independent investigation into the ONUB uniforms scandal
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Saturday, November 26, 2005

"Never apologise. Never explain"? - Still no answers from the UN on how the FNL obtained UN Peacekeeper uniforms. Still no apology to Burundians.

FNL leader, war crimes suspect Agathon Rwasa (l). Many Burundians are furious that Rwasa's Bujumbura Chief of Staff was arrested in possession of illegally-procured UN uniforms

Click here to support the call for a war crimes trial for Aloys Nzabampema and independent investigation into the ONUB uniforms scandal

Click here to email the United Nations in New York directly

More than a week after a senior member of the FNL was arrested with illegally-procured UN uniforms in his possession, the UN has still issued no apology for a neutrality lapse which has caused outrage in Burundi. Instead they have lashed out at the local media for drawing the very natural conclusion that some level of collusion has gone on between ONUB and the FNL. It's time for the UN to stop digging and start apologising.

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Friday, November 25, 2005

FNL shells Bujumbura, army retaliates

From the Mail and Guardian

Burundi's last active rebel group launched mortars at the capital Bujumbura in an attack hours after the country's army claimed to have killed 41 insurgents in recent weeks, the military said on Friday.

The National Liberation Forces (FNL), the country's lone remaining Hutu guerrilla army, fired three 60mm shells on Bujumbura's eastern Mutanga and Mutanga south districts late on Thursday, without causing casualties, it said.

Army spokesperson Adolphe Manirakiza said the rebel shells were launched from hills in Bujumbura Rural province, which abuts the capital and is the FNL's main zone of operation.

Hundreds of residents fled when the military responded to the shelling that Manirakiza said was an apparent attempt to remind authorities that the FNL was still a force to be reckoned with.

"We think the FNL wanted to show that they are still present, that they are still strong even though they are under pressure in Bujumbura Rural and Bubanza provinces," he said.

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More gunfire overnight in Bujumbura

Heavy gunfire was heard overnight in the Burundian capital Bujumbura, apparently emanating from the north-eastern part of the city. It's not yet clear whether this was another FNL attack, or part of the government's ongoing operations against the group.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

CPAR concerned by reports of a serious compromise of UN neutrality in Burundi, urges full investigation

On the night of November 6th/7th 2005, Aloys Nzabampema, a senior FNL commander and suspected war criminal, was arrested by Burundian authorities in Bujumbura.

He was reportedly found to be in possession of a number of UN uniforms when he was arrested. This discovery has raised concerns among many Burundians about a possible compromise of the neutrality of the United Nations mission to their country.

The FNL has carried out a systematic campaign of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Burundi, killing and torturing hundreds if not thousands of civilians, many of them children. Although they have systematically targetted Tutsi civilians, many innocent Hutus and Twa have also been attacked and killed.

Any suggestion of improper links between the UN and the FNL is therefore a source of particular concern to the thousands of Burundians who have lost loved ones at the hands of the group.

At a press conference several days after his arrest, Nzabampema was brought in front of the media by the Burundian authorities. He told journalists that he had obtained the UN uniforms from a Burundian person working for the South African contingent of the United Nations peacekeeping force. This claim has led to a further serious deterioration in relations between the UN's office in Burundi (ONUB), and the wider Burundian general public.

The UN Secretary General's Special Representative to Burundi, Carolyn McAskie, while condemning the FNL's illegal appropriation of UN uniforms, has also criticised some members of Burundi's independent media for accusing ONUB of improper links with the FNL.

The campaign for the prosecution of Agathon Rwasa (CPAR) understands the UN's concern that a worsening of relations between them and the Burundian public may put the security of UN peacekeepers at risk.

But we also believe that Burundi's fledgling independent media must be free to scrutinise the UN's operation in their country and, where necessary, to question and criticise those activities. No organisation, even the United Nations, should be seen to be beyond such scrutiny in Burundi.

It seems particularly unfortunate that ONUB has attacked the Burundian media at a time when its own conduct has been called into such serious question. The illegal procurement by the FNL of UN uniforms is, at the very least, a serious security lapse by the ONUB office. ONUB should therefore, at the very least, apologise for this lapse, rather than lashing at those who have raised concerns about it.

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN's guiding document, states that:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

The Burundian independent media plays a vital role in safeguarding democracy and exposing human rights abuses. Burundi's courageous independent journalists have been repeatedly attacked, imprisoned and in some instances killed simply for reporting the truth.

We are concerned that ONUB's attacks on Burundi's independent media, which is still heavily reliant on international donors for its survival, may deter legitimate scrutiny and criticism of UN activities, and thus be detrimental to freedom of expression in Burundi. The United Nations should be seen to be upholding the right to freedom of expression, not trying to curtail it.

The campaign for the prosecution of Agathon Rwasa urges swift action to restore full confidence in the United Nations mission to Burundi. ONUB's internal investigation is a good start, but it's not enough. Any suggestion of ONUB complicity with the FNL must be thoroughly and comprehensively investigated by an independent authority. Criminal charges must be brought against any ONUB staff found to have engaged in illegal activity. Appropriate disciplinary measures must be taken against any ONUB staff found to have been negligent in preventing such illegal activity.

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Monday, November 21, 2005

"Lord's Resistance Army" murders yet more civilians. Twelve more reasons why amnesties don't work.

LRA indictees eligible for Uganda's amnesty - October 11th 2005

"As far as the amnesty law is concerned, all the people who surrender to us are still eligible for a blanket amnesty including the five who were indicted by the ICC," said high court judge Peter Onega, who chairs the Uganda Amnesty Commission

Uganda rebels in daylight ambush - November 21st 2005

At least 12 people have been killed in northern Uganda during an ambush by suspected rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army, LRA.

The attackers shot at a minibus full of people in broad daylight as it approached the town of Pader.

The minibus was set ablaze and as the passengers tried to escape from the burning vehicle they were attacked.

Some 1.5m people have been displaced by the 20-year conflict between the LRA and the Ugandan government.

Following the latest attack, a Ugandan military spokesman said the rebels were being pursued and an investigation had been launched to find out whether any Ugandan soldiers had neglected their duty.

This ambush follows a similar attack on Friday, when a truck carrying traditional dancers was ambushed. At least five people died.

Worsening plight

The BBC's Will Ross in Uganda says that despite the government's claim that the rebels have been defeated, a series of ambushes by the LRA is proving that, although weakened, the LRA is still able to cause misery in northern Uganda.

In what appeared to be a change of tactic, the rebels recently targeted humanitarian aid vehicles.

The plight of the displaced could well worsen, as many humanitarian organisations have severely restricted their operations due to insecurity, our correspondent says.

The conflict has gained notoriety for the LRA's massacres and its tactic of kidnapping children for use as soldiers and sex slaves.

Several senior commanders of the LRA are wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and the governments of Uganda and Sudan have agreed to cooperate

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

UN Burundi office lashes out at local media for their coverage of the corruption scandal

From Angola Press

UN mission in Burundi unhappy with local press

Bujumbura, Burundi, 11/20 - The UN Operation in Burundi (UNOB) is strongly "concerned about the serious breaches" observed in recent days in some local media, UNOB officials told PANA.

In a statement issued in Bujumbura on Saturday, the UNOB blames

the media for carrying "rumours of any kind and (levelling) spurious accusations" against it.

UNOB cited in its statement that it learned this week through the press that blue helmet military uniforms were allegedly found with members of the Hutu People`s Liberation Party/National Liberation Front (PALIPEHUTU-FNL, rebellion).

The approach used by a local radio establishing a link between the fact of finding uniforms of UN peacekeepers and connivance between UNOB and the rebellion has been vigorously denounced by the UN mission, describing them as "serious and groundless accusations."

"Such an accusation is prejudicial to the UNOB mission and relations between the Burundian people and the UN," the statement emphasised.

Both Burundian private and state-controlled media continue to treat the UN military uniforms affair, thus increasingly worsening the relations between the UN mission and the local media.

On Friday, the Burundian minister of foreign relations and international cooperation, Antoinette Batumubwira, told the press and foreign diplomats that she deplored "serious negligence" by some blue helmets, but, she continued, these "breaches" should not tarnish the UN institution. Meanwhile, Burundian and UN military officials have opened an investigation into the uniform affair.

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

FNL Bujumbura Chief of Staff in custody - JUSTICE NOW!
(but what was he doing in possession of UN uniforms?)

"A senior FNL combatant, Aloys Nzabampema, and an aide were captured in Bujumbura on 8 November and helmets and uniforms belonging to ONUB's South African contingent seized from them. Other FNL combatants were also captured in Gihanga, in the northwestern province of Bubanza, with uniforms belonging to ONUB's Nepalese contingent.

Nzabampema, who was paraded before reporters on Thursday, said his aide got the uniforms from a Burundian working for the South African contingent.

During ONUB's weekly news conference on Thursday, ONUB spokesman Penangnini Toure said although the uniforms belonged to ONUB's South African and Nepalese soldiers, "how the uniforms got into the hands of the FNL combatants needs to be clarified".

Saying that the uniforms alone could not prove ONUB's collaboration of with the FNL, Toure said the UN had begun investigations to identify the UN personnel through which the uniforms passed to the FNL.

This was not first incident linking OUNB troops to the FNL. Niyoyankana said in July 2004, the army seized munitions made in South African from FNL combatants it had captured, "but the South African contingent denied any involvement".

From Reuters - BURUNDI: Army probes source of UN "military uniforms" in rebel hands

The first ever arrest of a senior FNL leader is a major step towards justice.

FNL Bujumbura Chief of Staff Aloys Nzabampema has command responsibility for the troops that carried out the August 13th 2004 Gatumba massacre, which was a "crime against humanity" under international law.

As a senior FNL figure, Nzabampema is also implicated in the group's widespread and systematic campaign of civilian massacres, including the December 28th 2000 "Titanic Express" ambush. The Burundian authorities must look at the evidence for his involvement in this campaign, which also constitutes a "crime against humanity".

The Burundian authorities reportedly found uniforms belonging to the United Nations Burundi mission (ONUB) at the house where Nzabampema was arrested. The UN must investigate this thoroughly and publicly, and punish any officials found to have collaborated with Palipehutu-FNL.

We urge the Burundian authorities to treat Nzabampema humanely.

We urge the international community to lobby the Burundian government to prosecute Nzabampema for his crimes, and to demand an explanation from the United Nations of why the FNL were in possession of UN uniforms. To support this call:

Pour ceux qui habitent en Belgique - pour contacter votre senateur:

Pour ceux qui habitent en France - pour contacter votre senateur:

Pour ceux qui habitent au Canada pour contacter votre senateur:


For those in the United Kingdom - to contact your Member of Parliament:

Pour ceux qui habitent aux Pays Bas (Nederlanden):

Pour ceux qui habitent au Denmark:

For those in the United States - to contact your Senator:

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Friday, November 18, 2005


"Aloys Nzabampema a été capturé dans la nuit du 6 au 7 novembre chez un ancien député à Bujumbura. C'est une prise de très grande importance parce que cet homme est le commandant de la première région militaire des FNL", a déclaré jeudi à la presse le porte-parole de l'armée, le major Adolphe Manirakiza.

This campaign congratulates the Burundian government for a decisive first step towards justice. We urge that Nzabampema be tried promptly and fairly, and that he be treated humanely.

As the FNL's Chief of Operations around Bujumbura, a job held by Agathon Rwasa until he became overall leader, Nzabampema is implicated in war crimes and crimes against humanity, which include the systematic killing of civilians, the forcible recruitment of child soldiers, torture, the theft and destruction of civilian property. If he was in the job on August 13th 2004, then he will also have had command responsibility for the troops who carried out the Gatumba attack.

Is Rwasa's house of cards beginning to fall?

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"Release hundreds of my soldiers into the community and then I'll negotiate" - says Rwasa

From the Umuco news service

"Agathon Rwasa, par le biais de son porte parole, Pasteur Habimana, a annoncé ce matin que son mouvement était prêt à rejoindre la table des négociations mais pose comme condition la libération de tous les membres de son mouvement détenus par le pouvoir de Bujumbura."

- Pull the other one, Agathon! Rwasa now says that he will negotiate only if the Burundian government releases all his killers from prison. This is so obviously just a tactic to boost the manpower of his flagging forces... But what's the betting that Agnes van Ardenne and the Dutch government will enthusiastically be supporting his demand and urging President Nkurunziza to give in to it?!

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Burundians continue to suffer FNL atrocities - But Rwasa's child soldiers are victims too. HRW also reports shocking new abuses by government forces.

Burundian child soldier demobilised in 2004. Hundreds more, some as young as nine, remain in the FNL

From Human Rights Watch, November 4 2005

"In Musugi hill, Kanyosha commune, Bujumbura-rurale province, local witnesses report that the FNL killed two civilians who lived near a military position and had worked collecting food and water for the soldiers. Both were found decapitated on October 26. According to government officials, Laurent Ntibarushatse, an elected hill-level leader from Gitenga, Kabezi commune in the same province, was killed by the FNL on October 28. Arthémon Ntahondereye, a local official in Kanyosha commune, was found dead on Buhina hill on October 7, with one of his arms severed. Local witnesses believe that the FNL combatants assassinated him. Military officials report that six people in the same family were killed by the FNL in Mutambu commune, Bujumbura Rural Province on the night of October 30. In other killings attributed to the FNL, a candidate running for councilor in hill-level elections was killed with two members of his family on September 22 in Mugina commune, Cibitoke province, and five civilians— several of them demobilized FDD combatants—were killed in Bubanza province in late September. Human Rights Watch could not independently verify that the FNL were responsible for all of these killings.

FNL combatants also reportedly burned homes in four different communities in Kayanza province and stole cows, goats, and household goods in early October. They are also accused of injuring six people in an ambush and stealing their property. According to press accounts, witnesses said that most of the perpetrators were under 18 years old"

The latest Human Rights Watch briefing also reports widespread abuses by the armed forces of the new Burundian government, including rape and killings of ordinary civilians by indisciplined soldiers and police, torture and extra-judicial killings of suspected FNL combatants and sympathisers, and the harassment of people linked to the opposition Frodebu party. This campaign urges the Burundian government to end these abuses, and punish the officials who have been carrying them out.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

British government demands justice over the Titanic Express massacre. President Nkurunziza "committed" to the investigation.

Ian Pearson (Minister of State (Trade), Foreign & Commonwealth Office) Hansard source

We have raised the case of Charlotte Wilson on several occasions with the new Burundian Government. We continue to press the Burundian authorities for progress in bringing Charlotte's killers to justice, and to remind them of the importance we attach to a resolution of the case.

Most recently, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development (Hilary Benn) raised this case with President Nkurunziza in Bujumbura on 1 November. President Nkurunziza said that his Government was committed to investigating this and many similar cases. We will maintain pressure on the Burundian authorities to bring the perpetrators of this case and similar atrocities to justice.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

New Burundi human rights campaign website

"Memoire Vigilante: Les lois internationales ne s'appliquent-elles pas au Burundi? Ou c'est la communauté internationale qui ne s'en soucie pas?"

"Is Burundi bound by international laws? Or does the international community not care about crimes in Burundi? How Long Shall the Double Standard Last?"

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Benjamin Mkapa falls out of love with Agathon Rwasa

Mkapa has been one of Rwasa's staunchest international supporters, with some claiming that his government funds the FNL. But is this the end of the affair?
From IPP Media

President Benjamin Mkapa says he will ask the next government to ensure that the defiant Burundian rebel group PALIPEHUTU-FNL does not operate from Tanzania.

He made the remarks when he met with a 28-member United Nations Security Council delegation at State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

President Mkapa, who is due to retire next month, told the delegation led by the French Permanent Ambassador to the UN, Jean-Marc de La Sabli貥, that the group had been reluctant to hold direct negotiations with the Burundian government of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

’’I tried hard to convince PALIPEHUTU-FNL leaders to come to the negotiating table with the Burundi government during talks held here at State House last May.

And they promised me that they were ready to join the peace process,’’ President Mkapa stated.

Ambassador de La Sabli貥, among other things, wanted to know if President Mkapa still hoped that PALIPEHUTU-FNL was ready to lay down its arms and hold fresh peace talks.

’’I deeply regret to say that leaders of PALIPEHUTU-FNL have let me down. What they have been doing is contrary to the good promises they had made to me during our talks of last May,’’ President Mkapa told the UN delegation.

President Mkapa, however, said he was ready to meet leaders of the armed group.
He added that efforts to look for and convince leaders of PALIPEHUTU-FNL should continue with a view to leading them to the negotiation table.

’’Efforts must continue to look for and convince Agathon Rwassa’s leadership to join negotiations aimed at realising durable peace in Burundi,’’ President Mkapa said.

On the possibility of Tanzania changing its policy of offering shelter to hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighbouring countries in the Great Lakes region, President Mkapa said the country would continue sheltering refugees.

He, however, said that in the absence of possible persecution in their homeland, Tanzania also wanted to see all refugees go back to their countries of origin.

The UN Security Council delegation wanted to know if Tanzania’s refugee policy was about to change following the restoration of peace and security in troubled countries in the Great Lakes region.

The delegation is also scheduled to visit Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda to assess peace and stability in the Great Lakes region.

Tanzania has over the years sheltered more than 400,000 Burundian and Congolese refugees.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Put up or shut up: The UN's empty threats are putting Burundian lives at risk

"Burundians are right to worry that the FNL issue is lasting too long... ...the (FNL) had better negotiate with the government or else sanctions can be imposed" - head of the UN Security Council mission, Jean-Marc de la Sabliere

Hot on the heels of the expiration of President Nkurunziza's "last chance" October 31st deadline for the FNL to negotiate, the UN has obligingly come up with another last chance for Agathon Rwasa.

It's the same message they've been giving since the beginning of 2004, and it lacks all credibility because these threatened sanctions never materialise.

By making weak, vague, empty threats and then not following through, the UN is actually encouraging the FNL to believe that they are completely immune from international sanction. It would be better to say nothing.

It would be better still to condemn (rather than deny, ignore, or "regret") the FNL's atrocities, apply the sanctions that we said we were going to impose in June 2004 and never did, and begin proceedings to prosecute Agathon Rwasa for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

By making threats back in 2004 and then not following through with those threats, the UN was inviting the FNL to carry out further atrocities. By encouraging the FNL to think that they were immune, and that they could extract further concessions by killing more people, the UN helped to cause the August 13th 2004 Gatumba massacre.

This is a matter of life or death. Unless the UN a) applies sanctions to the FNL or b) shuts up now, their empty threats will help to cause another massacre, possibly one even worse than Gatumba.

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Friday, November 04, 2005

Denying the right to justice is an abuse of human rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Déclaration universelle des droits de l'homme) sets out what is, and is not a human right. Absolute and inviolable in principle, constantly abused in practice, these rights form the ethical framework behind, and are in enshrined in, international law:

Article eight of the Declaration states that:

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Toute personne a droit à un recours effectif devant les juridictions nationales compétentes contre les actes violant les droits fondamentaux qui lui sont reconnus par la constitution ou par la loi.

Rwasa's many victims have a human right to justice. To deny that right is to abuse even further the rights of those who have already been abused enough.

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