Premium Journalist
2 minute read
25 Nov 2016
10:35 am

Suspects appear for assassination of Burundi General Nshimirimana


Nshimirimana was killed in a rocket attack on his car by a group of heavily armed commandos.

Five military officers and three policemen suspected of being involved in the murder of the General Adolphe Nshimirimana appeared for the fourth time in front of the Office of the Prosecutor of the High Court of Ntahangwa commune of Burundi.

The appearance went on until late Thursday in Gitega, in the centre of Burundi.

According to Desiré Nduwimana, one of the lawyers of the eight suspects, it was a question of confronting again the results of investigations, especially those having reference to two policemen who died in the attack against the general.

Only four out of the eight were auditioned.

“They have been interrogated on their programme and how they used their time on the second of August 2015 when the General was murdered,” Nduwimana said.

While the lawyers and their clients were rather expecting the sentence, the prosecutor surprised them by announcing this week that the suspects had to appear again in his office for further investigations.

According to Nduwimana, the prosecutor’s office had no right to carry out such investigations.

“The case already was in the hands of the high court itself, and the further investigations had to be done by the same court,” he pointed out before adding that the case “was politically motivated”.

The investigations will continue on Friday.

Senior presidential adviser and former director of intelligence General Nshimirimana was killed in a rocket attack on his car by a group of heavily armed commandos in the capital Bujumbura on August 2, 2015.

He was reputed to be very close to the President Pierre Nkurunziza and accused by opposition leaders and some civil society organisation representatives of “having influenced the president to present for this controversial term”.

This week, the United Nations appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate crimes in Burundi.

The team will have one year to collect evidence and to especially “identify the suspected authors of all the committed crimes and gross human rights violations in order to make them render an account”.

The appointment of this commission had been proposed in the report of three UN experts almost two months ago, who also had been appointed in Burundi for a six-month mission to investigate crimes and alleged human rights abuses.

The government of Burundi told reporters on Thursday that it could never receive an investigation team on its soil, arguing that it was illegal.

“There has been no consensus between the Burundi government and the United Nations,” said Willy Nyamitwe, the presidential spokesperson said. “The lack of consensus between the two institutions means that the commission is illegal and will not be received in Burundi,” he added.

The commission will be headed by the Algerian Fatsah Ouguergouz, who was UN Human rights special reporter for Burundi.

According to some organisations such as the international human rights NGO Federation FIDH, more than 1 000 people have been killed and some 300 000 forced to flee to neighbouring countries since President Nkurunziza announced he would run for the third term in May last year.