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Published:September 23rd, 2011 12:38 EST

Perpetrators of Recent Killings Must Be Brought To Justice, UN Tells Burundi

By SOP newswire3

The United Nations human rights office today called on the Burundian Government to ensure that the perpetrators of last week`s massacre near the capital are brought to justice and to engage in national dialogue to avoid a further escalation of tension and violence.

We are concerned about the increasing level of violence in Burundi, " Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told reporters in Geneva.


The latest incident was the massacre last week in Gatumba, just west of the capital, Bujumbura, where armed men killed at least 36 people in a popular bar. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

This massacre occurred in a context of increased tension marked by a series of extrajudicial killings that appeared to be mainly aimed at activists of the opposition National Liberation Front, " said Ms. Shamdasani.

The Government, which immediately condemned the Gatumba killings, has set up a commission of inquiry to clarify the circumstances of the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Given that other commissions of inquiry set up to investigate past killings have so far yielded no prosecutions, we encourage the Government to ensure prompt and impartial investigations of all human rights violations, in line with international human rights standards, and to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice, " Ms. Shamdasani stated.

OHCHR also encouraged the Government to engage in a national dialogue with all parties to avoid a further escalation of tension and violence, and urged all parties to refrain from reprisal attacks.

The fight against past impunity is in this context essential, " said Ms. Shamdasani.