The Collective of Lawyers of civil parties and victims’ families of alleged human violations in Burundi has lodged new complaints to the International Criminal Court against the government of Burundi.
In a press release issued on Wednesday 28 March, the Collective said it had filed 124 new complaints it received from the victims’ families on 27 March. It also said it submitted to the Bureau of the ICC Prosecutor a collective mandate issued by the leadership of FNL party about 431 victims’ families “of crimes committed by the Government”.
The allegations of human rights violations against political opponents by members of the government have come from both local and international organisations. The government has systematically dismissed the reports of human rights violations arguing they were “political” and are based on testimonies that have no facts to support them. Extra-judiciary assassinations that had declined have been on the rise over the last days.
The government spokesman could not be reached to comment.
The Lawyers’ collective that expresses its readiness to collaborate with international investigators provided the identity of witnesses and plaintiffs are protected, says it has started gathering and transferring videos of victims of the crimes.
“Crimes that have been committed are imprescriptible and people who engineered or committed them and their accomplices will have to face justice”, reads the Collective’s press release.
The new complaints add to 60 others the collective had already filed. When the 60 complaints were lodged, the then Burundi General Prosecutor Valentin Bagorikunda warned the victims’ families they risked being manipulated by lawyers who “have agendas other than justice”.
The collective had afterwards lodged a complaint to the ICC against Bagorikunda because what he said was perceived as a “threat against the families and lawyers as well”, said Armel Niyongere, member of the collective and a prominent lawyer from Burundi bar engaged in defense for civil rights.
Other members of the Collective are Lambert Nigarura from Burundi Bar, Alain Deteux and Bernard Maingain from Brussels Bar and Lef Forster from Paris Bar.