Following the arrest of the former Burundian prime minister, Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni, on 21 April 2023, and his right-hand man Désiré Uwamahoro on 18 April 2023, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director Flavia Mwangovya said:
“This is an opportunity for the Burundian authorities to ensure accountability for serious human rights violations. Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni, in his previous role as minister of public security, had oversight responsibility for the police, who violently repressed real and perceived political opponents. Amnesty International has documented the involvement of Désiré Uwamahoro, who held several senior positions in the police, in such violations.”
The Burundian authorities should investigate all allegations of their involvement in serious human rights violations and crimes under international law, and if there is sufficient admissible evidence, bring anyone suspected of being responsible to justice in fair trials. Authorities must also provide victims with access to justice and effective remedies.”
“However, the lack of transparency around the arrests and detention is worrying. Authorities must ensure that those arrested are immediately allowed access to their lawyers and family visits. Authorities must also ensure that their rights to a fair trial, and rights to freedom from torture and other ill-treatment, are fully respected. They must also refrain from reprisals against Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni’s family, who were reportedly held incommunicado in their house for five days. Unless family members are also targetted by the investigation, there is no legitimate reason why they should not be allowed to move and communicate freely.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Amnesty International.