Background Briefing

Burundi: The Gatumba Massacre
War Crimes and Political Agendas

Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper, September 2004

Related Material

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Burundi : Les responsables doivent Ítre poursuivis



To the government of Burundi

To the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo

To the FNL and other armed movements in Burundi and the DRC

To the United Nations Security Council

To United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

To donor governments and governments in the region

The Context

Inside Burundi

Inside the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Gatumba Refugee Camp

The Site

Camp Population

Attempts to Move the Congolese Refugees

The Attack

The Protected Burundians

Attack on the Military Camp and the Police Camp

The Perpetrators

FNL responsibility for the attack



Other Perpetrators

The “official version”

The pamphlet and evidence of prior planning

Controlling Testimonies

The elaborated “official version”

The Other Version

The United Nations


Prosecution of FNL Leaders

The Risk of More War


Within Congo and Burundi

“Genocide” and fears of a “Tutsi empire”

“There were songs, alleluias, the same as those that we sing in our churches. That’s why some still trusted them. Then the shots, the fire.  That afternoon I had played soccer with friends. [Now] some of them are dead.”

- Gatumba survivor, aged 14