UN gives time to Burundi process

10 October 2005 by Thierry Cruvellier

The dual mechanism to establish crimes and responsibilities in Burundi will take longer to put into place than first announced. IJT has learnt that on 30 September, Kofi Annan will not be submitting his report to the UN Security Council on the creation of the special chamber to try those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and in parallel, a truth commission. [see IJT-23]. It is now widely accepted that more time is needed to consult the nation and its leadership in the light of the recent political upheavals in Burundi.

In this summer's local and general elections, the Tutsi elite, which dominated the country - mostly by force - since independence in 1962, suffered a crippling defeat. The traditional Hutu elite, which for the last 15 years served as the main political opposition to the Tutsi-dominated regime, also clocked up heavy electoral losses. Both parties found themselves defated by the former Hutu rebels of the CNDD-FDD (national council for the defence of democracy-national forces for the defence of democracy), who won a conclusive victory. The party's discipline and secretive ways of operating left most commentators baffled as to its political platform. After winning a massive 60% vote in the general elections, party leader Pierre Nkurunziza was named President of Burundi on 19 August. This spectacular political sea change was greeted with relative calm in a country worn down by 12 years of civil war that killed 300,000 and has left the economy in tatters.

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