Participation de S.E.M Laurent Kavakure, Ministre des Relations Extérieures et de la Coopération Internationale , à la Conférence internationale, organisé Wilton Park, sur la Justice Transitionnelle, la Sécurité et le Développement.

Ce vendredi 18 janvier 2013, Son Excellence Monsieur Laurent Kavakure, Ministre des Relations Extérieures et de la Coopération International a participé à une conférence internationale organisée par Wilton Park, à Wiston House. La délégation burundaise, conduite par Son Excellence Monsieur le Ministre, comprenait en outre Monsieur Bernard Ntahiraja, Chargé d’Affaires a.i de l’Ambassade du Burundi à Londres.

S.E.Monsieur Luarent Kavakure faisait partie d’un panel sur le thème :  « Intégration de la Justice Transitionnelle, la Sécurité et le Développement » : défis et opportunités des expériences des pays. Il a partagé avec les participants, le cas et l’expérience du Burundi. Le Ministre Kavakure a notamment mis en exergue le miracle burundais en rapport avec l’intégration de l’Armée et de la Police. Le panel comprenait également le vice Premier Ministre et Ministre de la Justice de Kosovo et le Procureur Général de l’Espagne.

Ci-dessous la présentation intégrale telle que délivrée.

Integrating transitional justice, security and development, Wilton Park Conference at Wiston House, 17th-19th January 2013

Integrating transitional justice, security and development – challenges and opportunities from the perspective of country experiences

Burundi Case. – presented by H.E Laurent Kavakure, Minister of External Relations and International Co-operation of the Public of Burundi

Distinguished participants

Ladies and Gentlemen,

0. Introduction

Before addressing the theme of this day, I would first like to greet you all, and send you my best wishes for this New Year.

I would like to express my gratitude, to the organizers of this conference for the invitation extended to us, in order to participate in this debate, which is very useful and instructive. I thank the Wilton Park and partners, for the effort made to ensure a warm welcome and excellent working conditions, in this prestigious House.

1. Context

Burundi, for your information, is a country located in Central Africa, in the Great Lakes Region, with as direct neighbors Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Since its independence from Belgian rule, on 1 July 1962, Burundi has experienced political and ethnic conflicts, characterised by recurrent crises that cost loss of several lives, and forced hundreds of thousands of citizens to live in exile. Myself, I experienced a painful exile in Tanzania and Switzerland for ten years, fleeing war, which erupted in 1993 and lasted more than a decade.

The peace negotiations were concluded by the “Arusha Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Burundi” signed in August 2000. This agreement was followed by the cease-fire between the still active rebellions and the Transitional Government. The final Peace Agreement with the last rebellion was signed in December 2008.

2. Long period before implementation

The establishment of transitional justice mechanisms has been provided by the Arusha Agreement. After several discussions between partners, it was agreed to set up a dual mechanism: first a non-judicial mechanism, namely the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and then a judicial mechanism, namely the Special Tribunal for Burundi.

Currently, the bill establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which was analyzed by the Government, is now on the table of the National Assembly for adoption. This year 2013, this establishment may be effective.

So in Burundi, unlike other situations or cases, transitional justice mechanisms will be put in place after a long period of maturation, the final stages of a peace process and reconciliation that began after the Arusha Peace Agreement was signed in 2000.

This process was marked by very significant progress and quite original in terms of our national reconciliation, so that for Burundi, the link between transitional justice, security and development seems to be obvious.
3. Ethnic quota policy : A Solution to discrimination

The Arusha Agreement defined the conflict in Burundi as a political conflict, with extremely important ethnic dimensions. This conflict has been characterized by massive violations of human rights, including the right to life. The phenomenon of ethnic exclusion was obvious. Some institutions, such as defense and security, the judiciary, administration, diplomacy etc.. were ethnic strongholds. Thus, the Arusha Agreement set ethnic quotas between the Hutu and Tutsi in some sensitive sectors. The quota policy has solved the problems of ethnic exclusion, and built on an inclusive democracy. This example is unique of the kind, and it gives us results which we are proud of.

4. Reform of the Army and Police : a miracle in Burundi

– At the level of our defense and security, there has been a reform to have a new army and a new national police integrating the various fighting forces of the former government army and several rebellions. 50-50% for Hutu and Tutsi in the army, and 60% for Hutu / 40% for Tutsi at the national police. It was a great success. Some People say that a miracle happened, because at first glance, nobody could believe it. Thanks to that integration, security is guaranteed for all, and this is very important.

Today, our defense and security forces even enjoy an international reputation. They are requested at peacekeeping operations in several countries such as Sudan, Somalia, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Syria. Our participation in AMISOM force peacekeeping is particularly appreciated. Without the presence of the Burundian contingent, Somalia would not be what it is today. We look forward to sending our troups in Mali.
We have reformed our Ministry of Defense which now becomes “ Ministère de la Défense et des Anciens Combattants”, which means that this Ministry, in addition to its formal mandate, is also managing projects to support demobilized persons for a social and economic reintegration.

5. Burundian democracy model

– In Burundi, we have adopted a new constitution according to our realities. At the Cabinet level, the President of the Republic is assisted by two vice-presidents from different ethnic groups, with 60% Hutu, 40% Tutsi and at least 30% women. The configuration of the National Assembly is made in accordance with the same scheme. The Senate is composed of equal numbers of Hutu and Tutsi, 50-50%, and one of their role is to ensure respect for ethnic and gender balances in our various institutions.

We have already held two rounds of multiparty elections in 2005 and 2010, held in full transparency.

Today, the Burundian society made remarkable progress as regard to democracy, with a vibrant civil society and freedom of expression underpinned by the existence of several private media.

6. Refugees and internal desplaced persons integration

Finally, we can mention that with the establishment of democracy and social harmony restored, all refugees have already returned home. The last camp for Burundian refugees in Tanzania closed its doors on 31 December last year. Their socio-professional reintegration has not been a major problem. Issues related to the recovery of their property and other assets are often settled amicably by the “National Commission for Land and Other Assets”. The internally displaced persons have returned to their properties, or they have found amicable settlements through and with thanks to the mediation of the same Committee.

7. The main challenge : Poverty eradication

All those different reforms for national reconciliation have to take into account Burundi poverty situation. For example, to increase the most vulnerable population’s access to basic social services, it has been declared that free health care for children under 5 and pregnant women until delivery as well as free fees at primary school, is provided.

To accelerate the construction of basic socio-economic infrastructures, the authorities adopted the formula of ” community development work “ which bring together different groups of people and also contributes to social harmony.

In order to coordinate and promote efforts for development and fight poverty, the Government in association with its development partners has elaborated what we call “Cadre stratégique de Croissance de Lutte contre la Pauvreté,” which is a strategic framework to fight poverty. The first conference to mobilise funding was held in 2007 in Bujumbura; the second and recent Conference was held in Geneva in October 2012. Those programs give priority to(1) good governance, rule of law, human rights, justice; (2) agriculture, energy, mining, infrastructures, (3) Access to basic social services like education and health, (4) environmental issues and fight against AIDS

With regard to human rights, Burundi will have favored a comprehensive approach that takes into account the civil and political rights but also economic, social and cultural rights. An Independent National Human Right Commission has been established by consensus to facilitate the promotion of human rights.

We strongly believe that policy of economic growth and poverty eradication is useful to national reconciliation.

8. Conclusion

The purpose of transitional justice is to restore democracy, guaranteeing human rights, especially the rights of victims to truth, reparation and rehabilitation, reconciliation and development. It should help in the fight against impunity, and make appropriate administrative and institutional reforms to ensure the non-recurrence.

Even if the purpose of Transitional Justice is the same everywhere, we realized in Burundi, that there is no unique model of the kind “Prêt-à-porter.” Each situation is specific. And the case of Burundi is particularly specific. After long and matured thinking, and several consultations at all levels, we opted for a transitional justice mechanism split, to avoid backtracking. First, a non-judicial mechanism: the truth and reconciliation commission. And later a judicial mechanism: the Special Tribunal for Burundi

Thank you for your attention.

Last Updated (Monday, 21 January 2013)