(Bujumbura) – With elections approaching in a matter of days, and a worrying increase in political violence, Burundian authorities need to make clear to all political parties and their supporters that no one is above the law, Human Rights Watch said today in a new report. The violence, if left unchecked, could set back Burundi’s notable strides toward peace and multiparty democracy after years of civil war, Human Rights Watch said.
The 47-page report, "‘We’ll Tie You Up and Shoot You’: Lack of Accountability for Political Violence in Burundi," is based on four months of field research in Bujumbura and four rural provinces. The report documents numerous incidents of violence, at least one fatal, carried out by and against members of political parties as a means of settling political scores. Most of the violence has involved the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) and its closest competitor in the upcoming elections, the National Liberation Forces (FNL). With a few exceptions, police have failed to carry out thorough investigations, and no one has been prosecuted for the vast majority of these incidents.