Magazine article UN Chronicle

Five-Member Commission of Inquiry to Investigate Violence, Massacres

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Five-Member Commission of Inquiry to Investigate Violence, Massacres

Article excerpt

A five-member international Commission of Inquiry has been set up by the Security Council to establish the facts relating to the 21 October 1993 assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye of Burundi during a failed coup attempt, as well as the massacres and related violence that followed.

"Deeply concerned that impunity creates contempt for law and leads to violations of international humanitarian law", the Council on 28 August, in adopting resolution 1012 (1995), asked Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to create the new body as a matter of urgency.

It stressed that "all persons who commit or authorize the commission of serious violations of international humanitatian law are individually responsible for these violations and should be held accountable".

On 15 September, the appointment of Commission members was announced: Edilbert Razafindralambo of Madagascar, Chairman; Abde El Ali El Moumni of Morocco; Mehmet Guney of Turkey; Luis Herrera Marcano of Venezuela; and Michel Maurice of Canada.

To eradicate impunity

The Commission was to recommend measures of a legal, political or administrative nature, after consulting with the Burundi Government, as well as measures aimed at bringing to justice those responsible for acts falling within its mandate. This was intended "to prevent any repetition of deeds similar to those investigated by the Commission and, in general, to eradicate impunity and promote national reconciliation in Burundi", the Council stated.

Also in resolution 1012, the Council stipulated that States, relevant UN bodies and international humanitarian organizations should provide substantiated information on acts under the Commission's purview.

Burundi authorities and institutions, including all political parties, should fully cooperate with the Commission, the Council declared. The Government should adopt "any measures needed for the Commission and its personnel to carry out their functions throughout the national territory with full freedom, independence and security".

The UN would provide security, in cooperation with the Burundi Government. A trust fund has been established to receive voluntary contributions to finance the Commission.

In debate, Burundi declared that a new "movement has been furiously intensifying strategies that would lead to a genocide similar to that in Rwanda". Crimes against humanity had been committed and were continuing, he said, warning that a "new variant of Nazism is being created in the heart of Africa at the end of the twentieth century".

Given the facts and the seriousness of the crimes in his country, he urged that the international Commission identify the real perpetrators". …

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