Magazine article UN Chronicle

Ethnic Killings Force Thousands from Their Homes: Seven-Nation Mission Reports

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Ethnic Killings Force Thousands from Their Homes: Seven-Nation Mission Reports

Article excerpt

The escalating violence in Burundi was the subject of Security Council action on 29 March, when it deplored ethnic killings that had caused thousands to flee their homes. "Those who commit crimes against humanity are individually responsible for their crimes and will be brought to justice", the Council declared in a statement by its President, Li Zhaoxing of China. "if acts of genocide are committed in Burundi", the Council warned, it would "consider taking appropriate measures to bring to justice under international law any who may have committed such acts".

The Council also condemned the murders of the Minister of Energy and Mines and of the former Mayor of Bulumbura, Burundi's capital, which had preceded the widespread killings.

The activities of "extremist elements who try to destabilize the country and threaten the whole region" were also condemned. States were encouraged to take measures to prevent such elements from travelling abroad and receiving support.

The Council asked Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to assist political parties and civil society to begin a "national debate with the participation of all elements of the nation" to consolidate national reconciliation and restore democracy.

"Aware of the close interconnection between various humanitarian and political problems in the region and of the risk of subsequent destabilization", the Council also called for a regional conference on peace, stability and security.

In a 9 March statement. the Council condemned the activities of those within and outside Burundi who, "by resorting to undemocratic methods such as intimidation and incitement to violence. as well as guerilla activities and subversive political activity", sought to nullify the power-sharing arrangements in the 10 September 1994 Convention of Government. Those actions "threatened peace, stability and national reconciliation", it said.

Concerned over a continuing "climate of insecurity", the Council declared that "impunity is a fundamental problem in Burundi".

A strengthened national judicial system was important, it said, as was the work of an international commission of inquiry into the 1993 coup attempt and the subsequent massacres. …

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