Burundi dismisses planned UN killings and torture inquiry


Burundi’s government has dismissed a UN decision to set up a commission of inquiry to identify perpetrators of killings and torture, saying it was based on a one-sided account of events in the African nation.

The United Nations Human Rights Council agreed on Friday to set up the commission, saying it would build on a report by UN experts who looked into the suspected torture and murder of government opponents. The experts have drawn up a list of suspects.

Burundi has been mired in political crisis and sporadic violence for more than a year, triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term in office, which he secured in a disputed election in July 2015.

Opposition figures and government officials have frequently been killed in tit-for-tat attacks, while hundreds of government opponents have been rounded up and detained.
“The (experts’) report was biased, undertaken and produced for the sole purpose of paving the way for this resolution and to destabilise the Burundian nation,” government spokesman Philippe Nzobonariba said.

He told the state broadcaster late on Monday that the council had failed to take into account Burundi’s contribution to balance the report. The resulting decision was “inapplicable in Burundi”.

He did not say if Burundi would take further action in response, but added the government would “continue its co-operation with the international community, particularly the United Nations” in line with international agreements.

The UN Human Rights Council adopted a European Union resolution for a one-year commission of inquiry by a vote of 19 states in favour and seven against, with 21 abstentions. African votes were split.