MinBane

I write what I like.

Archive for the tag “National Intelligence Service”

Opinion: Appointing Museveni to mediate anywhere, was bound to go nowhere!

The situation in Burundi, just like the one in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan can’t be dealt with overnight. Anybody expecting a quick fix is dreaming” – Dr. Okello Oryem

Recently during this week, the Minister of State for International Affairs Okello Oryem has said this. It is very revealing of the arrogance and the stature of the talks, the dialogue and the works done by the Ugandans in the conflicts where the East African Community (EAC) has appointed President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to be the mediator. I never had faith in Museveni and to this day, I haven’t been wrong about that. Nothing has changed in South Sudan or Burundi, where Museveni is suppose to help changing it and get into a peaceful process. Instead it is more and more volatile.

What the grandest problem with having Museveni as mediator in South Sudan, is that his army is delivering weapons and ammunitions to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, the SPLA and the SPLM/A-IG. They are serving the government with weapons and the technical training, while they are supposed to be there and secure the negotiations to a peaceful place. That is playing with fire and expecting to have the ability to drown it too. Your providing the opportunity for the government to continue to battle the opposition, while being a party at the table negotiating the possible peace agreement. That sounds like a bad mix of sources and interests at play. Museveni should clearly, just be a weapon brother and not a mediator. Someone who isn’t involved in delivering weapons to South Sudan, should mediate and not someone who serves guns to President Salva Kiir Mayardit. That is just wrong and has self interests in prolonging the conflict. He get to trade more weapons and ammo to the government there.

While in Burundi, the Inter-Burundian Dialogue has been directed by the President. A President that helped his fellow President to return in 2015 after a tried Coup d’etat and demonstrations against his third term. That led into bloodshed and also continued oppression of the dissidents inside Burundi. Where the dialogue haven’t materialized into anything, while the ruling regime has held a new referendum and now secured legality of Pierre Nkurunziza to to rule into 2034. Which is insane, when he entered into power, he was only allowed to have two terms, but he has changed the laws just like Museveni.

President Museveni hasn’t stopped the Burundian President and his control of the dialogue, deciding who could participate and when it could happen. Nkurunziza and his administration has totally muffled the Tanzanian chief talker Mpaka. Therefore, now that he has been part of this since 2015, as the African Union, United Nations and East African Commission have all said Museveni should do this. But they never gave him a proper mandate or done anything if Nkurunziza didn’t listen. They sent some police officers and observers at some point after 2015, but nothing has materialized.

Therefore, seems more like Museveni has been appointed and is lucky to shield his friends. Looking like he makes talks, but stalling for times. While both parties in South Sudan and Burundi are allowed to get rid of opposition, they are allowed to get weapons and use scare tactics to get rid of enemies. While he looks at in sometimes blaze some strong words. But Museveni will not act upon it, as they will do talks in secret and secure that Burundi and South Sudan get what they need. To keep the leadership, which is friendly to Museveni. Not to its people, but loyal to him. So he can be the big-man in East Africa. Peace.

Advertisements

Kenya: Report says that Safaricom is a helpful hand in the breaches of incepting intelligence for the Security Organization!

The international Non-Government Organization Privacy International dropped another gem today with a report on the surveillance and on how the Kenyan Authorities get their ability to get intelligence and how they use the communications platforms to get knowledge. The worrying way is how the Safaricom and the Kenyan Authorities together spies on the population.

This report through different methods and also interviews, as much as people who have worked on the inside has told stories how the Security organization has used the giant Kenyan Telecommunication Company Safaricom. All should be done with court orders, still there are proof now of internal squabble inside Safaricom where there are even undercover agents inside the company. Take a look at key points of the report!

Court order to require Intelligence:

“In practice, if not in law, Kenya’s surveillance regime appears bifurcated. The NIS intercepts both communication content and acquires call data records without warrants to gather intelligence and prevent crime, and police agencies acquire communications data with warrants to prepare criminal cases. If it’s ‘just’ for intelligence, explained one police ATPU investigator, then warrants are not sought: “For the sake of investigations, the DCI [Directorate of Criminal Investigations officer] attached to Safaricom will just give [it to] you… When you take someone to court, you have to make it proper now.” Safaricom stated to PI that they “only provide information as required by courts…and upon receipt of relevant court orders.” (Privacy International, P: 16, 2017).

Internet Providers and NIS:

“One internet service provider recalled the difference between his experiences with the police and with the NIS: “A [police] agency comes to me, and they give me the Occurrence Book (OB) number of the case they are investigating…. The NIS has unfettered access to data.” The NIS simply contacted this operator for the data it required. “They will say ‘give us [data for] whenever X calls Y over this time period’, for example…In instances involving terrorism, no warrants are produced. We have to comply or there is the threat that our licenses [will] be revoked.” A Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) officer confirmed his account: “they’ll get their license revoked [if they do not comply]… If I were them, I’d comply too” (Privacy International, P: 17, 2017).

Safaricom CID Connection:

“The major telecommunications providers have at least one law enforcement liaison, a police officer of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (CID) on secondment. This analysis focuses on Safaricom, by far Kenya’s most popular mobile service provider with over 60% of the market share. At Safaricom, around ten CID officers sit on one floor of the Safaricom central bloc. They provide information to all police branches” (Privacy International, P: 20, 2017).

“The reported presence of NIS officers undercover in Safaricom and possibly other telecommunication network operators presents serious concerns as to whether any civilian authority or mechanism would be able to effectively oversee the process of communications interception. “The way we know they are here is that they’ll be present, seconded from somewhere else, but then suddenly they’ll disappear,” explained one CA employee. “And then you hear your colleagues saying ‘didn’t you know, that guy was NIS?’ They keep very much to themselves. You’ll even find your boss some time suspecting you of being NIS.” According to sources, by building rapport with civilian officers, NIS are able to informally access communications data. “Of course [the NIS officer in Safaricom] will liaise with the Safaricom engineer… Once there is information that he needs, or that our office needs, he gets in, he talks to the engineer, he is given access,” explained a current NIS officer. “Because in Safaricom, every time you log into the database to check for a certain number, you have to put your code there. … It depends on the rapport he has with the engineers…. They trust him.” (Privacy International, P: 21, 2017).

The use of Safaricom and the surveillance shows the problematic relationship between the government and the private telecom company. That the State Security Agents are not using warrants getting intelligence and private intercepts online shows how little the value of the citizens are. When the government security agents can breach public space without court orders and when they have undercover agents inside the biggest telecom in Kenya, shows how they breach the public sphere to get access and intelligence from the inside. This is a worrying side. Peace.

Reference:

Privacy International – ‘Track, Capture, Kill: Inside Communications Surveillance and Counterterrorism in Kenya’ (15.03.2017)

Press Statement – Burundi : Repression of a genocidal character, the UN’s response must be strong (15.04.2016)

burundi-protests

PARIS, France, April 15, 2016 Back from a fact-finding mission in Burundi, conducted in March 2016, FIDH and ITEKA condemn serious human rights violations in Burundi, mainly perpetrated by defence and security forces, against a background of ethnic and genocidal ideology. The ongoing crimes could already be qualified as crimes against humanity and there are now signs that the crisis could lead to acts of genocide. This crisis demands a strong response from the UN, notably through the deployment of a UN police and an international commission of inquiry to prevent mass atrocities.

Since April 2015, 700 people have allegedly been killed, 4,300 have been arbitrarily detained, and several hundred people (800 according to some sources) have been forcily disappeared.  Hundreds of other people have been tortured and dozens of women have been sexually assaulted. As a result of the conflict in Burundi, more than 250,000 Burundians have already fled the country. While the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon is set to submit options for the deployment of UN elements by 15 April, FIDH and ITEKA, call upon the international community, including the UN Security Council, to deploy an international police task force of at least 500 police officers with the objective of protecting civilians, stopping ongoing lethal violence, and preventing further armed clashes. FIDH and Iteka believe that if these trends continue, the  African Union or the United Nations  must send a peacekeeping force  to end the violence and the repression of an increasingly genocidal nature.
During its mission, and in a forthcoming report, the FIDH delegation has documented and established the continuation of targeted and extra-judicial killings; of daily arbitrary arrests and detention; of the intensification of enforced disappearances and illegal detention facilities as well as torture. FIDH also witnessed the high level of surveillance and control on Burundian society by security forces, including by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and by the ruling party’s youth militias, the Imbunerakure.

“The situation is particularly worrying with the NIS – the main actor of the repression – that has infiltrated every layer of society and systematically tortures detainees. Parallel chains of command have been established within the security forces to orchestrate the repression. Part of the Imbunerakure1 militia is trained, armed, and deployed throughout the country and acts as the defacto security forces. Tensions within the army are extremely vivid. The international community must do everything in its power to protect civilians and prevent the situation from getting out of control,” said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. “The nature of the crimes witnessed by the FIDH delegation could very well fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Prosecutor, Ms Fatou Bensouda, should immediately open a preliminary examination of the situation in Burundi, which is state party to the ICC” he added.

policiers-burundi

The evidence gathered by FIDH and ITEKA establishes that the Tustis are particularly targeted by the violence and due to  their ethnicity. They are more targeted during arrests, are subject to ethnic insults from security forces and systematically tortured during detention. The public and private messages of members of the ruling party CNDD-FDD or regime supporters are referring to Tutsis more and more openly as “enemies, “terrorists” and “genocidal insurrection”.2 Since the assassination on 22 March 2016, of Lieutenant-colonel Darius Ikurakure3, pillar of Burundi’s repressive system, targeted killings of soldiers belonging to the former Burundian Armed Forces – FAB (mainly composed of Tutsis) – have also increased.

According to information gathered by FIDH and ITEKA, more than 10 former Burundian army soldiers have been killed by unidentified men since the beginning of March. These elements are part of a larger context marked by an increasingly ethnic discourse by Burundian authorities and their supporters. The day before the funeral of the Lieutenant-Colonel Darius Ikurakure, messages were circulated on social media, including the following: “Dear HUTUS, wake up! Tomorrow we will bury another hero of the anti-Tutsi struggle, his excellency Lieutenant General Darius Ikurakure. Hutu officers and civilians will attend to thank him for his work. Come in number, and be careful and remember that he hero must not die alone, za mujeri sindumja muzincunge bibaye ngombwa mukore. Delende is Mike [watch those emaciated dogs, I am not a slave, if you must: work]. A word to the wise is enough! KORA [work]” circulated on social media. The term to “work” ,was used in Rwanda by the Hutu genocidal government to call upon the elimination of Tutsis. It was also used on 1 November 2015, by Burundian Senate President, Révérien Ndikuriyo, in front of his supporters and several Imbunerakure: “if you hear the signal with an order that it must end, emotions and tears will have no place !” and added “you must spray, you must exterminate those people (…) Wait for the day when we will say “work.”, you will see the difference!”. The conversation was not supposed to be recorded.

Burundian security forces involved in the repression are themselves made up of men who know how to execute orders and can “get things done,”  according to a source close to the security services. “They are over 95% Hutus” adds the source. About ten units, among which the NIS, the Riot Squad (BAE), the Special Battalion for Institution Protection (BSPI), the Institution Protection Agency (API), the Combat Engineering Battalion (BGC), the Mobile Group for Rapid Intervention (GMIR) and Special Research Police(PSR), are led by those loyal to the regime directly linked through parallel command chains, to the presidency, including the civilian cabinet. Those persons, responsible for the repression, could be incriminated for the crimes perpetrated directly by them or under their authority and should be subjected to criminal prosecution and individual sanctions by international institutions and influential diplomatic bodies.

Burundi-Museveni-Nkurunziza
“FIDH and ITEKA are very concerned about the ethnic nature of the repression in recent months, the authoritarian rhetoric and the use of preventive violence by authorities and their supporters. This reminds of the anti-Hutu genocidal massacres of the last  40 years. The authorities consider that they are the only representatives of the people and refer any kind of political, ethnic and social pluralism to a “them” against “us”, deadly for the country. We solemnly call upon Burundian authorities to uphold the Arusha Agreement by ending the repression, freeing the thousands of political detainees, and take part in an honest dialogue with the opposition and the independent civil society,” urged Anschaire Nikoyagiza, ITEKA President.

In response to the abuses of the regime, many men are joining the ranks of rebel armed groups (Red Tabara and FOREBU). These groups have carried out targeted attacks and killings against representatives of CNDD-FDD, members of law enforcement and Imbonerakure in Bujumbura and in the provinces, which have resulted in civilian casualties.. Indiscriminate attacks against civilians may amount to war crimes and   perpetrators must face justice.

Moreover, the documentation of these violations has become extremely dangerous. Human rights defenders, opponents and independent journalists still in Burundi are living mostly underground. They are followed and receive death threats. Almost every civil society leader, journalists and opposition member have   been forced to flee the country and those who remain, leaders or activists, continue to be subjected to threats or even attacks by men suspected of acting on the behalf of the regime, especially the Imbonerakure.

The disappearance of Marie-Claudette Kwizera, ITEKA treasurer, since her arrest by NIS elements on 10 December 2015 illustrates a worrying phenomenon that would concern hundreds of cases. Some sources report at least 800 people have been foricbly disappeared. The documentation of these disappearances is more and more difficult because of the increase of illegal detention facilities. The Burundian authorities and the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (CNIDH), seized by FIDH on the case of Marie-Claudette Kwizera and other cases of enforced disappearances, were unable to provide explanations or information on the fate of these people who are neither refugees nor officially detained.

“Given the risk of a new civil war and the perpetration of mass crimes, our organisations urge the international community to deploy an international police force in the country (of at least 500 officers) to ensure the protection of civilians and facilitate the holding of an inclusive political dialogue as soon as possible. Furthermore, we call on the Security Council to mandate an independent international commission to investigate the crimes perpetrated since April 2015, ” said Dismas Kitenge, FIDH Vice President.

On 1 April 2016, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2279 urging all parties to the crisis to agree on a timetable for negotiations. It also calls on the UN Secretary-General, to present by 15 April  to the Security Council “options” for the deployment of an international police force. In view of the security and human rights situation prevailing in the country, FIDH and ITEKA urge the UN to ensure that this task force has the mandate and the means to play a stabilizing, deterrent and monitoring role and to intervene in the event of the commission serious human rights violations.

Burundi – The fresh reports of torture from Amnesty and proof that it’s old habits from the regime in the country

Burundi Report Police

There was released a report on torture of citizens in Burundi in recent year from CSO Amnesty the 24th of August. This here has been described I will take the defining characters of this from that report, but also some older documentation to prove that this isn’t new actions from the Governmental and Security organizations in Burundi. In 2006 the Committee from International Service from Human Rights commented on the torture matters already then. After that I will look on what numbers and anti-torture project where the purpose was: “Effectively build capacity for sustainable support to victims of torture; and prevent future incidences of torture”. And the projects are telling from the USAID in the same period. USAID had also a monitoring period that ended in 2007 that gives some interesting insights to the methods of torture. United Nations has made a review of the situation when it comes to torture as well in 2014. So that Amnesty International is telling stories that everybody who cares about Human Rights should read all of the personal stories. I have taken the big picture from the report that was delivered from the organization on the 24th of August 2015. Which also shows to the works of the UN and OHCHR and describing the matters and sadness of how the police and other units treats its citizens who demonstrate against the government. It should be stopped and international community should do something about it. Though it’s an issue that is continuation from 2006 and I am sure earlier then that while in war, an CNDD-FDD promised to lead with the USAID projects to shun this activities, but certainly hasn’t with the reports released recently. Read under the quotes and outtakes from a set of reports and some of the pieces from Amnesty.

Reports from 2005 and so on:

“The Committee criticised the lack of a definition of torture in Burundian domestic legislation. The delegation admitted that while Burundi officially endorses the definition contained in the Convention, their criminal code does not define torture, nor is torture as such criminalised. In practice, torture is treated as an ‘aggravating circumstance’ and pursued on the basis of ‘infliction of bodily harm’” (…)”Both country rapporteurs underlined that the legislation prohibiting torture must not only cover physical torture (which is the case as long as torture is prosecuted under the category of ‘bodily harm’), but needs to extend to psychological and mental torture. The Committee drew the delegation’s attention to the obligation States have to initiate investigations into cases of torture. Mr Camara said that given the lack of a domestic legal basis, prosecutors in Burundi did not have a clear incentive to investigate cases of torture” (…)”the National Intelligence Service (NIS). It is responsible for the collection of date in order to protect the state security of Burundi. It can also carry out police functions and arrest people. According to the State report, the NIS is one of the main institutions involved in cases of torture. The Committee repeatedly expressed concern about this situation. Mr Mariño said the NIS seemed to have a dual mandate and be responsible for political oppression; it needed to be reformed, monitored and made accountable to the judiciary. Mr Camara asked if NIS officers could be sanctioned by the PPS; the delegation confirmed this with reference to ongoing cases. The delegation agreed that the NIS had too many prerogatives and specifically asked for recommendations on how to curb its power” (…)”In reference to the prohibition of the use of evidence obtained through torture, the delegation referred to a supreme court judgement which prohibits such evidence from being used in court. However, a Committee member pointed out that this particular decision is ambiguous since it says that “a confession is not proof in itself, but merely a piece of evidence that must be corroborated by other evidence”. The Committee felt this could be construed so that evidence extracted through torture could be used if supported by other evidence (Human Rights Series, 2006).

Turning to concrete cases, some Committee members asked about further information on a massacre which had taken place at Gatumba. The delegation responded by saying that it had issued a report which attributed the responsibility for the massacre to members of the armed movement PALIPEHUTU-FNL” (Human Rights Monitor Series, 2006).

What USAID has worked on a long while and had programs with:

“IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Search for Common Ground (SF CG), Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services (THARS), Ligue ITE KA, Association pour la Protection des Droits Humains et des Personnes Détenues (APROD H)

FUNDING PERIOD: March 2003–September 2005

AMOUNT: $1,700,000

PURPOSE: Effectively build capacity for sustainable support to victims of torture; and prevent future incidences of torture” (Victims of Torture Fund, USAID, 2005-2006).

Trauma healing: Eighteen Healing Memory Group activities (785 participants) held to provide psychological healing for victims. 372 victims of torture received psychological support and 567 received medical services; 289 referred to partners; 750 transported to medical facilities (Victims of Torture Fund, USAID, 2005-2006).

Social Reintegration: Twenty-seven victims associations created. Thirteen ongoing series of monthly healing sessions/retreats with 1,636 participants (Victims of Torture, USAID, 2005-2006)

Funding/Year 2002 2004 2005 Total
USD In:  Thousands of Dollars 1,200 500 1,200 2,900

(Victims of Torture, USAID, 2005-2006)

Print

USAID has continued to follow up the country and reports on Torture between October 2007 – September 2011. Here is their findings and what they have received of information on the matter: “Human rights. The project worked to strengthen the institutional capacity of civil society organizations, particularly those focused on women, to advocate for gender-based violence, victims of torture, and conflict management. By launching campaigns and engaging in effective discourse with the government and the media, civil society groups were able to open up about the sensitive and often dangerous nature of supporting human rights, which led to increased awareness and understanding” (…)”Victims of torture. In Burundi, torture continues to be practiced and victims have had little recourse because those in positions of authority, such as public security agents, presidential police, soldiers, local government officials, and rebel groups have all practiced torture without being held accountable for their actions. Through its activities, the project has been able to help Burundians open up a public dialogue and raise awareness about the problem of torture, a subject that over the years had become taboo in many parts of society” (…)”Victims of torture consortium. One organization cannot influence change alone, and working in the anti-corruption or human rights arena can be dangerous. Thus to strengthen advocacy against torture in Burundi, the project convened civil society organizations working in human rights and torture to start a dialogue on what is needed in this area and propose the idea of creating a consortium. The project worked via the consortium structure to coordinate these various and extensive activities. At subsequent meetings, the number of civil society organizations more than doubled and by the time the consortium, Consortium Action Contre la Torture (CACT), was incorporated it represented most of Burundian civil society working in human rights, with 26 organizations and government entities. The consortium, designed to coordinate advocacy for the eradication of torture in Burundi, identified priorities for reform when the consortium was first formed” (…)”Victims of torture grants. The project allocated 18 grants to civil society organizations in Year 2; eight of them provided medical and legal assistance to 453 victims of torture. The project provided medical, psychosocial healing, and legal and judicial assistance. The grants were provided to organizations with previous experience in this area, and they were able to work in cooperation with other grantees as well as in the consortium against torture. The most pressing need for a victim of torture is medical assistance. Many victims are debilitated or prevented from working due to the injuries, and others live with the physical scars and residual pain. The assistance consisted of providing victims medicine, hospitalization, and specialized care. Seven grantees provided medical assistance to victims in various provinces. One example of the medical services provided by grantees is the work done by ACAT, an organization that carried out medical services in 26 communes” (…)”In addition to being physically traumatic, torture is also emotionally and psychologically traumatic. Even if physical scars heal, there are lasting psychological effects. The project created a support group that fostered an atmosphere of empathy, affection, and security that victims greatly appreciated — especially significant because most victims never dared to speak about their experiences” (…)”In Year 4, project grantee ABDP-DRS advocated for the use of alternative sentencing to imprisonment in accordance with a law of 2009. By meeting with decision-makers, including prison authorities, police, and judges to present data from a survey, ABDP-DRS was able to provide information on alternative sentencing. It also organized prison visits so that police and judges could see the current conditions of the prisons to which they were sentencing perpetrators. Action Chrétien Contre la Torture (ACAT) also received a grant to continue advocating decision-makers and judiciary actors. ACAT equipped judges, judiciary police, and prison officers with information gained during site visits of detention centers in 11 provinces to evaluate the torture cases, living conditions for detainees, and the application of the penal code regarding torture” (Burundi Policy Final Reform, 2007).

When we see earlier what the UN has scaled on the State of torture in the State of the Burundi. The UN commented this on the issues that were at hand in 2014:

Legislative measures for the prevention of torture

  1. While noting that an absolute prohibition of torture is established in the Constitution, the Committee is concerned at the numerous shortcomings of the organization and command structure of the country’s security services, particularly the Burundian National Police (Police nationale du Burundi) and the National Intelligence Service (Service national de renseignement). These services are still governed by presidential decrees, whereas the Constitution provides that they be governed by the necessary legal framework. While noting that article 31 of the State party’s Criminal Code establishes that an order from a superior officer cannot be used as an argument by the defence in a case of torture, the Committee remains concerned about the effective implementation of that provision (arts. 2, 6 and 16)” (United Nations, 2014).

The United Nations continues with this:

“The absolute prohibition of torture” (…)”The State party should, as a matter of urgency, take steps to incorporate provisions into its Military Criminal Code that establish that acts of torture and ill-treatment committed by military personnel constitute an offence, that such offences are not subject to any statute of limitations and that the sentences for such offences are irreducible. The provisions to be incorporated into the Code should also establish appropriate penalties” (…) “The Committee is alarmed by credible, corroborative and persistent reports of a large number of acts of torture and extrajudicial killings committed by members of the Burundian National Police and the National Intelligence Service. It is concerned about the slow pace and limited scope of the investigations and judicial proceedings that have been opened in this connection, which would appear to corroborate claims that the perpetrators of these acts enjoy impunity. The Committee also finds it regrettable that no information about cases that have gone to trial or the outcome of those trials has been forthcoming. It is also concerned at the absence of protection for victims and witnesses, who are subject to reprisals (arts. 2, 4, 6, 7, 12 and 14)” (…)”The Committee is alarmed at the appalling conditions of detention in places of deprivation of liberty. It deplores, in particular: the high levels of prison overcrowding; the failure to separate male prisoners from female prisoners, adults from minors and persons awaiting trial from those already sentenced; the shortage of beds and sleeping space; the poor sanitary conditions; the dilapidated state of the facilities; prisoners’ inadequate and unbalanced diet; and the lack of health care. It further deplores the death of 263 inmates, inter-prisoner violence and the sexual violence against women and minors perpetrated by other inmates and guards. Lastly, the Committee is concerned about the continuing practice, in the State party, of detaining patients in hospital for non-payment of fees” (…)”While taking note of the fact that article 289 of the new Code of Criminal Procedure provides for the compensation of victims of torture, the Committee expresses its concern at the failure to apply this provision, in violation of article 14 of the Convention” (…) “The restrictions on the right of assembly and demonstration imposed by law enforcement bodies and reports of cases involving the violent suppression of demonstrations resulting in the excessive use of force by the authorities, for example during the protests of March 2014” (…)“The serious human rights violations perpetrated by a youth group (referred to as the Imbonerakure) with close ties to the Government, including: the harassment of political opponents; the disruption of public meetings, acts of intimidation, arbitrary arrests and arbitrary detention and other acts of violence; and the use of so-called “amicable” arrangements for settling disputes. The Committee is deeply concerned by reports that the Government is providing this group with weapons and training” (United Nations, 2014).

brigade_de_recherche_et_dintervention_judiciaire

Amnesty has in recent reports on how the torture has been from May 2015:

“Both the SNR and the Burundian National Police (PNB) are responsible for torture and other ill-treatment. Former detainees described being beaten with branches, iron bars, and police batons; and being stomped on, threatened with death, denied medical care, and verbally abused. In one particularly horrific case, a five-litre container full of sand was hung from a man’s testicles, causing enormous pain and swelling, and then the man was made to sit in a shallow layer of what he believed was battery acid, burning his skin severely” (…) “In and after the demonstration in April 2015 this has happen: “The police response to the demonstrations was marked by a pattern of serious violations, including of the right to life, freedom of association and peaceful assembly. They used excessive and disproportionate force, including lethal force, against protesters, at times shooting unarmed demonstrators running away from them. Even where children were present during demonstrations, police still failed to exercise restraint, and used tear gas and live ammunition” (…)”The cases of torture and other ill-treatment under SNR detention documented here all took place at the SNR compound near Bujumbura’s cathedral” (…)”In early June, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Burundi told Amnesty International they had documented nearly 50 cases of torture and other ill-treatment. On 7 July, the UN Secretary General’s report on the electoral observation mission in Burundi stated that “some 307 people have been arrested, including 14 minors. Most of those arrested have been subjected to torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment by security officers (mainly police and intelligence agents)” (…)”According to information received from lawyers, when individuals previously held by the SNR have alleged torture before court, the evidence obtained under such circumstances did not appear to have been declared invalid in spite of clear provisions in the Burundian Code of Criminal Procedure. To date, there is no investigation and nobody has been arrested for torture at the SNR” (…) “However, the Burundian Code of Criminal Procedure makes provision for a detainee to remain silent if his lawyer is not present and for a detainee to communicate freely with his lawyer.16 A leading Burundian human rights organization, the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained People (APRODH), is no longer granted access to the SNR’s compound. At least one detainee says that he signed a document under duress” (…)”A man held at the SNR was also told by other detainees that the Imbonerakure had given information to the police for their capture” (…)”several testimonies of torture and other ill-treatment at a place known as Chez Ndadaye in Bujumbura. According to a policeman and UN human rights monitors, Chez Ndadaye is an operational command centre for the police.36 It is known as Chez Ndadaye because the presidential palace that housed President Melchior Ndadaye, the country’s first democratically elected president and first Hutu president, once stood there” (…)”According to the first policeman and two victims, demonstrators were not kept overnight at Chez Ndadaye, but were beaten there before being transferred to the judicial police and/or police stations” (…)”The OHCHR carried out a planned visit to Chez Ndadaye on 12 June 2015, but did not observe any torture or beatings at the time” (…)”One policeman told Amnesty International some policemen are frustrated by the situation. He explained: “Several policemen are not happy about what takes place at Chez Ndadaye and have complained to their superiors. Most of the perpetrators are those who were previously in the bush (ex-FDD). They beat protestors. Maybe around 10 people came through Chez Ndadaye every day. Police used their batons and electric wires to beat them. They’d say ‘you who are against Nkurunziza, you are wasting your time, he’ll be president forever’,” (Amnesty, 2015).

Aftermath:

I don’t really want to comment more on the issues. Because the reports on reports are really telling its own tale, I will not add much on it. Then it’s a sad story of real men and woman who is scared and hurt for their position in society. That the UN, USAID, OHCHR and Amnesty reports from 2006-2015 is telling a vivid stories and painful facts. Too many victims of the government and police of Burundi, they all deserve a voice, they all deserve justice and a society where this wouldn’t happen. Instead the Police and Government of Burundi is going after their own people without prosecution and trial. Putting them in shackles, pushing them in cells and hurting them in places like Chez Ndadaye in Bujumbura and that is not the only house and police institution that is being used in a vile place. So no matter what people are being unjustified threaten and punished by the police and security forces in Burundi. There should be something the world could do to stop this systematic and unjust ways. Not just in writing and councils reviews of the United Nations, but in actual forum that can change the President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and the regime of the country. That is the issue and it’s not easy especially with the ways that the president got “elected” into the third term. Pierre Nkurunziza will always be remembered in a unique way and essentially with the shunned sworn-in celebration in mid-August 2015. An also for the reports of torture that the police and security organizations are doing as well in his presidency as well, which isn’t a beautiful view. Peace.

Reference:

AFR 16/2298/2015 – ‘“JUST TELL ME WHAT TO CONFESS TO”, TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT BY BURUNDI’S POLICE AND INTELLIGENCE SERVICE SINCE APRIL 2015’ (24.08.2015) – Amnesty International

CAT/C/BDI/CO/2 – ‘Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Burundi’, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee on Torture (12.12.2014) – United Nations

Human Rights Monitor Series – ‘COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE 37TH SESSION BURUNDI, INITIAL REPORT’ (2006), International Service for Human Rights

‘BURUNDI UNDER REVIEW BY UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW: RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING JUSTICE MATTERS’, Commonwealth Human Rights Intiative

USAID – ‘BURUNDI POLICY REFORM FINAL REPORT October 2007 – September 2011 (12.09.2011) – This publication was produced for review by the United States Agency for International Development. It was prepared by Chemonics International.

USAID – ‘VICTIMS OF TORTURE FUND PORTFOLIO SYNOPSIS 2005–2006’, Victims of Torture Fund, U.S. Agency for International Development

A short timeline before the Coup d’etat in Burundi

Cartoon+May+8+2015

 

Timeline until the Coup d’etat in Burundi! 

The Minister of Internal Affairs publicly stated thus: “My advice to politicians planning to vie for the presidency is to prepare to knowing that they will contest against the current President.” On 21st March 2014 both the CNDD-FDD and the Presidency spokesmen announced that is was only the party congress that was empowered to nominate a presidential candidate.He was simply hoodwinking Burundians while buying time the same way Museveni is hoodwinking Ugandans.

In January 2015 CNDD-FDD Senator Richard Nimbashe gave a press release opposing Nkurunziza’s third term bid and went further to state that the same view is held by many party members. He was immediately expelled from the party, senate and his position at the Land Commission (CNTB).

On 13th February 2014 the National Intelligence Service (SNR) issued a Memo warning the President against attempt to seek a third term. It advised him to cede power at the end of his second term for the good of himself, his family and the party. Instead, the Director of SNR Gen Godfroid Niyombare was dismissed from service.

On 1st March 2015 former CNDD-FDD national Chairman escaped from the main prison after serving for 8 of the 13 years. He later told a foreign radio station that he had been assisted by top government officials and some fighters who were in the bush. He claimed that he had supporters in all government institutions.

On 6th March 2015 the Catholic Bishop of Bujumbura Evariste Ngoyegoye preached against the 3rd term thus: “After analysis of the Arusha Peace Agreement and the constitution, by questioning our hearts as citizens who love their country and as shepherds of the church, we say that Burundians have agreed that the person elected to lead Burundi can not go beyond two terms of five years each”. The statement sent shock waves throughout the country given Burundi’s religious structure where 62% are Catholic, 6% Anglican and the remaining being shared by different smaller christian denominations and a significant number of Muslims. Right from the inception of the country’s violent history, the Catholic church was accused of being a “church of silence” for its liberal stand. The Bishop declared nine days of prayers for peace and transparency in the elections.

On 11th March 2015 CNDD-FDD Chairman Pascal Nyabenda told the BBC that opinions polls had indicated that CNDD-FDD supporters, the Bagumyaibanga (those who keep a secret) want President Nkurunziza to seek reelection. Immediately after, the party Spokesman stated that there had not been a survey for such opinion polls and that the party had other people who could stand for the presidency.

On 14th March 2015 the CNDD-FDD Council of Elders which is the highest body of the party met in the presence of President Nkurunziza and overwhelmingly rejected his third term bid.

On 23rd March 2015 a statement signed by 17 members of the CNDD-FDD top executive body urged Nkurunziza not to seek a third term. Among them were the Spokesmen for both the party and the presidency. Two days later ten of the seventeen dissenters were sacked from the party and their positions. The statement from the Presidency accused them of conspiracy to destabilise the party and the country. This is what happened with the likes of MP Ssekikubo and group and all others suspected of being pro-Mbabazi.

The Imbonerakure – a paramilitary and armed youth wing of CNDD-FDD has been at the forefront of the push for third term for President Nkurunziza throughout the country. Their equivalency in Uganda is the Crime Preventers and patriotic clubs members whom the Police is providing with paramilitary skills in exchange for supporting Museveni’s sole candidature.

On 26th April 2015 the CNDD-FDD congress nominated Nkurunziza as the party’s flag bearer. The following day 27th April, protesters opposed to his third term took to the streets of the city’s suburbs. The general elections are scheduled for May 26th 2015 while the Presidential elections are scheduled for June 26th 2015. Just as is the case with Museveni,separating the two elections is designed to give the incumbent an added advantage over other contenders.

The Constitutional Court quashed the objection to his reelection by upholding that he was eligible for reelection. The Vice President of the constitutional court Justice Slyvere Nimpagaritse who was one of the 7 man panel that determined the petition fled to Rwanda citing that the government had coerced the Justices
with death threats.

Immediately after the court’s pronouncement, President Nkurunziza registered as a Presidential candidate seeking another term in the upcoming June 2015 Presidential elections.

Burundi Cartoon

 

The International events that happen on the Burundian the third-term proposal:

On 27th February 2015 the USA Deputy Secretary of State had cautioned thus: “We hope that the presidential elections will follow the Arusha Peace Agreement concerning term limits”.

Just a few days into the protests, Foreign Affairs Ministers from the East Africa Community member states visited Burundi.

Rwanda’s President Kagame told a convention in Switzerland in reference to the protests in Burundi thus: “If your own citizens tell you that we do not want you to do that or to lead us, may be they are saying you have not done enough for them.”

Russia blocked a proposal by the UN Security council to issue a statement on the crisis in Burundi by arguing that: “its not the business of the security council and the UN charter to get involved in constitutional matters of sovereign states” said Russia’s Ambassador to UN.

South Africa’s President appointed the Minister in the Presidency Jeff Rodebe as his special envoy with a task of carrying a special message to Nkurunziza for him to step aside from running for a third term.

On 5th March the EU warned that running for a third term was risky.The AU Commission Chief said that it was clear that there shouldn’t be a third term for the incumbent adding that; “prohibition and repression of peaceful demonstrations expressing legitimate concerns would violate the conditions necessary for a credible and transparent vote”. The head of the EU election monitoring mission in Burundi expressed concern over violence.

The USA Secretary of State criticised Nkurunziza’s desire to cling to power.

The ICC Chief Prosecutor said that his office was closely following events in Burundi. The UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes appealed for calm.

Belgium has suspended funding for the elections and support to the Police while the USA has threatened sanctions.

The UN denied earlier reports that Secretary General Moon had requested Uganda’s Museveni to intervene in Burundi: “We dont have any comment on what the Uganda authorities said and we did not put out a read out of the meeting. our efforts in Burundi involve getting the parties to engage in dialogue with each other and have nothing to do with military intervention”.

The Presidents of the Four Presidents of the East African Community member states met yesterday in Dar Es Salaam over the crisis in Burundi.

To see more EAC reactions look at the following blog-page: https://minbane.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/eac-secretariat-and-heads-of-state-consulted-on-the-situation-in-burundi-13-05-2015/  

Peace.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: