EU extends sanctions on Burundi officials

Friday October 26 2018

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza. PHOTO | AFP


The European Union this week renewed sanctions against Burundi until October 2019 citing lack of meaningful progress in resolving the political stalemate.

The measures consist of travel ban and asset freeze against four top Burundian officials whose activities are deemed to be undermining democracy and obstructing the search for a peaceful political solution in Burundi.

“These activities include acts of violence, repression or incitement to violence and acts which constitute serious human rights violations,” the EU statement read.

The EU stressed the need for dialogue to bring a lasting political solution for all Burundians in compliance with the 2000 Arusha Agreement that ended the civil war and the Burundi Constitution.

Relation between Burundi and Europe have deteriorated since 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza run for a controversial third term in office, a move that was heavily criticised and seen to be violating the then constitution and the Arusha Agreement that limited presidential terms to two.

The country plunged into a crisis with more than 400,000 people fleeing the country, according to UN.


Civil war

Meanwhile, Bujumbura has accused its former colonial master Belgium, an EU member state, of destabilising the country and playing a role in the civil war that rocked the country for almost 50 years.

The allegations were made after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) presented its report to parliament that stated that there were thousands of mass graves countrywide.

The Home Affairs minister Pascal Barandagiye accused Belgium of playing a role in the assassination of its independence leaders and called for the crimes to be brought to light and perpetrators brought to book.

Burundi gained its Independence from Belgium in 1962 one year after the assassination of Prince Louis Rwagasore, a member of the Burundi royal family and Prime Minister.
According to the TRC, more than 4,000 mass graves were found mostly of the 1972 mass killings of the Hutus.

The 1972 mass killings of Hutus by the Tutsi-dominated army, and the 1993 massacre of Tutsis by the majority-Hutu populace are both described as genocide in a 1996 United Nations report.