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.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Agathon Rwasa demands $12 million to stop killing people - Tanzania admits bankrolling the FNL

From the East African

The growing restlessness of the rebel leaders drove the countries involved in the regional initiative to arrange a meeting in Dar-es-Salaam last week in which the FNL leaders were persuaded to fulfil their obligations under the ceasefire agreement and return to Bujumbura.

Sources close to the process told The EastAfrican that it was made specifically clear to the rebels that their $12 million claim to, among others, clear war debts, would not be honoured under the terms of the deal.

Another source in the Tanzanian government also revealed to The EastAfrican that “it was made clear to the rebel leaders that they could not continue to lounge in the hotels here, while we paid all their bills and gave them a per diem.”

Saturday, January 20, 2007

International pressure can work: Drama as Burundi court acquits key figures in fictitious coup plot - Torture victims vow international legal action

Pressure forces acquittal of Burundi coup plotters - SA Mail and Guardian

Pressure from the international community, NGOs and civil society led to the acquittal recently of five alleged coup plotters imprisoned in Burundi in August this year. The men were arrested and charged with plotting to overthrow the government, but the accusations were widely believed to have been fabricated by elements in the government. Well-placed sources in Burundi said the judge’s decision to acquit five of the accused was a “political decision due to international pressure.”

Five of seven alleged coup plotters, including ex-president Domitien Ndayizeye, were found not guilty of plotting to overthrow the government and were released after spending the past six months in jail.

“It is a positive development which was very urgently needed,” Jan van Eck, a Burundi analyst told the Mail & Guardian. Van Eck says the alleged coup plot had been “destabilising the country, creating the impression that the government was becoming undemocratic, oppressing the opposition and not honouring the election promise to apply good governance”. This is “a step in the right direction,” he added.

In 2005 the government of President Pierre Nkurunziza was elected in a landslide victory in the country’s first election since the end of a civil war that destabilised the country for over a decade.

Explaining the decision, the spokesperson for the supreme court, Elie Ntungwanayo, said: “The court judged that the accusations lacked foundation. [Information was] based on testimonials by Alain Mugabarabona and Tharcisse Ndayishimiye, and [we] could therefore not rely on their sole testimonials as no other proof had been found.”

Mugabarabona, a former rebel leader, and Ndayishimiye, who were imprisoned on the same charges, received hefty sentences of 20 years and 15 years in prison respectively, allegedly because they had confessed to planning a coup.

“Since the two accused have confessed to having organised meetings in the hope of organising a coup d’état, it is only logical for the court to consider their testimonials and charge them accordingly,” said Ntungwanayo.

Others have questioned whether the two men are really guilty: “How can a coup be organised by two people with no help from the army?” asked Deo Niyonzima, one of the accused acquitted this week and an opposition party leader. Niyonzima added that he found the accusations ludicrous.

“Hussein Radjabu [the leader of the ruling party] is behind this coup set up,” Niyonzima said in an interview with the M&G. “They wanted to keep quiet all those who did not agree to their political programme … they want to create a dictatorship.”

Niyonzima, who was released on Tuesday, still battles with the pain caused by injuries he received when he was tortured by security officers shortly after his arrest.

“They beat me with galvanised pipes, steel wires; inserted nails in my shin. There were eight people beating me from all angles,” says Niyonzima. “They beat me on my lower back where my nerves are, they tried to break my back in two,” he says.

He was beaten in an attempt to get him to consent to allegations of which he knew nothing. “They asked me to lie,” says Niyonzima.

A medical evaluation done on Niyonzima while he was in prison proved he had been tortured. “I still have scars on my body,” he says.

Had it not been for his lawyer’s rapid public denouncement of the torture, which led to a visit from the minister of human rights, who acknowledged the torture, Niyonzima believes that he and the other alleged coup plotters would be dead.

“In terms of the law we were innocent, but in terms of the political will, we were the enemies,” says Niyonzima.

He believes that they owe their liberty not to the court system but to the pressure applied to the government by civil society, human rights organisations, the European Union and other foreign donors.

“We will lodge a complaint on an international level,” says Niyonzima.

Ed: While the allegations against Ndayizeye, Kadege, Niyonzima, Mugabarabona and the other detainees were manifestly false, there appears to be ample evidence that several of them were tortured by the Burundian authorities in order to extract confessions. Torture is a "Crime Against Humanity" under international law, punishable through universal jurisdiction in dozens of countries around the world, as well as, in principle, the International Criminal Court (ICC). Burundi ratified the ICC statute on September 21st 2004, so any international crimes committed in the country since then could fall under its jurisdiction.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A new blog for the new year: "African Path" launches, giving serious news and comment on Africa

New "African Path" blog

The African Path web site has launched. African Path is created to fill a void in the marketplace for a strong Pan-African web site where news content and blogging can be merged into a unified voice. A lot of African bloggers are discussing issues relevant to the continent but online exposure to these blogs is limited. African Path aims to provide this much needed exposure. We aim to fill the void left by big media in covering information on Africa and providing a forum in which Africans can discuss issues concerning themselves both within and outside the continent.

The African Path website features news headlines from global and major African media houses, an ever growing group of bloggers covering various topics and an interactive calendar for events taking place in different cities worldwide.

Topics featured on the site include current events, politics, technology, religion, music, entertainment, sports, health, human rights, AIDS, democracy and much more. The site will share experiences inherently African from daily accounts of people within the continent, Africans in the Diaspora and foreigners who have visited Africa.

The site will promote dialogue on issues being discussed and encourage the participation of all site users through comments, letters to the editor, and new blogger recruitment. Special programs will be created to promote dialogue and exposure of work on the continent conducted by human rights groups and not-for-profit organizations aiming to provide solutions to improve living standards, health, technology, leadership or education.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Small sign of hope as court aquits 3 Burundi journalists

Bujumbura - A Burundi court on Wednesday acquitted three journalists jailed last year for reporting on allegations of a coup plot in the tiny Central African nation.

Serge Nibizi and Domitile Kiramvu, both of African Public radio (RPA), were arrested in November, accused of violating legislation on secret information by reporting on a coup plot case while investigations were pending.

Mathias Manirakiza, director of Radio Isanganiro was detained a week later, facing charges of allowing the station to broadcast information that would breach state security.

All three, whose arrests were Burundi's latest legal tussle between media and authorities, had pleaded innocent.

"The court has received complaints by the public prosecution but declare them unfounded," judge Francois Naraguma said.

"Charges of breaking media law were not established, consequently the court decides to acquit Serge Nibizi, Domitile Kiramvu and Mathias Manirakiza."

In December, prosecutors had demanded a three-year jail term for the journalists.

President Pierre Nkurunziza's government, which came to power in 2005 under a peace plan to end more than a decade of civil war that killed 300 000 people, has come under increased pressure over its record on democracy and freedom of expression.

The suspected coup plotters, who include former President Domitien Ndayizeye, were arrested in August, accused of planning to kill Nkurunziza and seize power.

Burundian law states the journalists must be freed immediately, but legal procedures are likely to delay this until Thursday. Defence lawyer, Raphael Gahungu, welcomed the ruling.

"The three journalists were unjustly arrested," he said. "I hope things will improve in the future so that people won't be jailed without reason.

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