Burundi plans TRC panel for 2012

2011-07-27 22:20

Bujumbura - Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza on Wednesday announced that a much-delayed Truth and Reconciliation Commission to probe decades of ethnic killings would be set up in early 2012.

"This commission's work will be carried out over 2012 and 2013," Nkurunziza said in an address to the nation, adding that a special tribunal was to be created when the TRC completes its investigations.

The setting up of the TRC and the tribunal was due to have taken place in 2003, as stipulated by the 2000 Arusha peace accords.

A 2005 UN Security Council resolution also backs their creation.

According to a panel comprising the Burundian government, civil society groups and the United Nations, more than 80% of the small central African nation's population want a judicial process.

Peace was elusive after the 2000 accords and while a fresh ceasefire in 2006 offered some hope that Burundi was out of the woods, a controversial string of elections last year led to an opposition boycott and brought the country back to the brink of war.

Nkurunziza nevertheless argued on Wednesday that the situation was ripe for the truth commission to begin its work.

"Peace and security across the country are a pre-requisite to setting up such mechanisms," he said.

Burundi acquired its independence from Belgium in 1962 but a sequence of coups and ethnic killings began ten years later.

The 1993-2006 civil war pitting Hutu rebels against the Tutsi-dominated army left more than 300 000 people dead, according to the UN.