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March 19-23, 2013

Weekly Media Monitoring report for Burundi
Posted on March 27, 2013

Contents

Compiled by Kelsi Biring, MIGS Desk Officer for Burundi 

  1. Burundi’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission 
  2. The Role of the Media in Burundi

1. Burundi’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission
RTNB, government-owned media

“Les associations de la société civile font état de leurs craintes quant à l’application de la justice transitionelle par la future Commission Vérité Réconciliation,”
by A. Kantiza, March 22, 2013.

  • At a press conference held by three civil society associations (FORSC, MIPAREC and Fontaine ISOKO) concerns related to the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission were voiced. Fears were raised over the fact that international standards are not uphel. There is also a lack of involvement of outside stakeholders in the preparation of the bill.
  • Managing director of FORSC asked the National Assembly to meet international standards and consider the recommendations made by civil society. 
IWACU, independent media,

“CVR: la société civile se montre critique,”
by Rénovat Ndabashinze, March 23, 2013.

  • The bill on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is still being debated as it set to arrive at Parliament for consideration and adoption.
  • NGO Impunity Watch organized a debate to allow civil society members and members of Parliament to voice their opinion.
  • Concerns included a lack of clarity regarding the appointment of commissioners, the absence of punishment for those guilty of war crimes/crimes against humanity, and concerns that the bill is not in accordance with the Arusha Accords. 
  • Positive aspects of the TRC that were highlighted include the inclusion of women, children and minority groups, the independence of the TRC, and the importance of truth to promote reconciliation.
  • MP Charles Nditije called for the establishment of a special tribunal, claiming that without justice people will not testify and reconciliation will not be possible. 
  • The United Nations has stressed that the TRC should not be given the power to grant amnesty to criminals, that politicians play a minor role in the Commission, and that provisions must be made for the protection of victims and witnesses. 
IWACU, independent media,

“La société civile rapelle sa position quant à la mise en place de la CVR,”
by Céderic-Soledad Urakeza, March 25, 2013.

  • The Forum for the Strengthening of Civil Society held a press conference on March 22.
  • Managing director, Nininahazwe Pacific, stated that the bill sent to the National Assembly does not observe international standards specific to truth commissions.
  • Nininahazwe Pacific said that 53% of the population rejected the participation of political parties in the choice of the Commissioners.
  • The forum’s members would like to see a selection committee consisting of the government, a Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and civil society. 
  • They also noted that the bill explicitly omits the creation of a Special Tribunal. 
2. The Role of the Media in Burundi
Le Renouveau, government-owned media,

“Union Africaine>Point de presse du représentant spéciale de l’Union africaine au Burundi: La place des médias dans la processus de consolidation de la paix au Burundi est indéniable,”
by Appolinaire Nimubona, March 18, 2013.

  • Special Representative of the African Union in Burundi, Ambassador Boubacar Diarra Gaoussou organized a briefing for media executives to present his mission from the African Union.
  • In his opening remarks, he thanked the Burundian press for its fighting spirit and vitality in the defense of freedom. 
  • He clarified his role in the country including maintaining contacts with authorities, and overseeing the peacebuilding process.
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