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Burundi: TRIAL brought the first cases ever submitted to the UN Committee against torture

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The first cases ever brought against Burundi to the UN Committee against Torture were recently submitted by TRIAL. Already seven victims of torture and arbitrary detention have, with the support of TRIAL, handed their case to the UN to seek justice. In Burundi, TRIAL also works to strengthen the civil society capacities by organising training courses for lawyers and NGO representatives.

Despite the end of the civil war in Burundi, serious violations of human rights such as torture and extrajudicial executions are still regularly documented in the country and access to justice remains difficult for victims. The persistent impunity observed for the most serious crimes is a sign that the judicial system in Burundi needs to be strengthened.

At the request of a Burundian NGO, in 2011 TRIAL launched aproject in this country in order to enable victims of torture and other crimes to assert their rights and obtain redress for their suffering. To this aim, TRIAL offers free legal support to victims of human rights violations, whose cases haven’t been handled in an effective manner by national courts, by submitting complaints on their behalf to the UN Committee against Torture (CAT), the Working Group of the United Nations on Arbitrary Detention(WGAD) and other international mechanisms for human rights protection. Within the framework of this project, TRIAL is currently representing seven victims before those institutions, six victims of torture before the CAT and one victim of arbitrary detention before the WGAD (see below). With the support of TRIAL, other victims will shortly file their complaints to obtain justice before these bodies.

Moreover, TRIAL works for the strengthening of the capacity of Burundian civil society, lawyers and NGOs by organising legal trainings on international human rights law and the submission of complaints before international mechanisms for the protection of human rights.

In doing so, TRIAL’s project aims at reinforcing the rule of law in Burundi and in particular its judicial system by identifying shortcomings and by working towards an effective respect of international human rights law by Burundi. As part of the review of the situation in Burundi by international human rights mechanisms, such as the Human Rights Council, TRIAL submitsconcrete recommendations aiming in particular at strengthening the judicial system and improving the legal and institutional framework necessary for the fight against impunity.

Source: TRAIL


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