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Children suffered perhaps more than adults from the policy of regroupment. Families short on food because they were unable to fully exploit their fields often fed children last and least. Health clinics operating in and around Bujumbura were filled to capacity with severely malnourished children who were particularly vulnerable to disease. Although schools in Bujumbura-rural continued to operate and children were allowed to leave the camps to attend them, many families could no longer afford school fees. For a child in primary school, the fees per semester are 500 Burundian francs, about $.40, and for a child in secondary school, they are 5,000 Burundian francs, or about $4.25. In addition, the family must supply a uniform and school supplies. As one mother from Kibuye camp explained, she used to be able to work in the fields of richer farmers in a neighboring commune in order to earn the money needed to send her children to school. With the restrictions on movement imposed by regroupment, she had no way to seek work in other areas.102 Other poor families had in the past been able to sell some of their produce to raise the necessary cash, but with limited access to their fields, they could not raise enough food even to meet their own needs, far less have any left to sell.103

With no school or other organized activities to distract them and with hunger ever present, young boys-especially orphans-hung around food distribution centers trying to pick up something to eat. They risked beatings by soldiers and others charged with food distribution as they struggled to gather any food spilled on the ground. Crouching under trucks in ankle deep mud, the desperate children picked up peas and kernels of corn that had fallen out of torn bags. Others dodged the long sticks that authorities whipped through the air in their direction as they darted in and out of the areas where the fifty kilogram bags of food had been divided, hoping to gather any extra fallen in the grass. Instead of learning more constructive lessons at school, these children learned lessons of abuse and brutality as they fought to keep themselves alive.104 Older children worked for the soldiers, particularly if there were no adults available to provide the services required from their household. Boys supplied firewood and transported supplies and girls brought water from springs or rivers to meet the soldiers' daily needs. In some cases, boys were required to leave the camp with soldiers, often to transport goods to another post. On Friday, March 3, for example, soldiers required some thirty boys, aged ten to fifteen, to transport goods from Kabezi camp to the military post at Sabwire hill, about eight miles distant. Loaded with food, water, and medicines, they set off in the direction of Sabwire with soldiers following behind them. When they reached a football field at Mpankuhe hill, not quite two miles away, a group of rebels began shooting at them from behind a small kiosk and from a distant hill. Three boys were wounded, one of them a fourteen-year-old who required medical attention for a gunshot wound in the leg. The soldiers knew well that the area around Mpankuhe and Masama hills harbored many rebels who had ambushed soldiers there in the past. Some camp residents believe this explains why they put civilian-in this case civilian children-in the lead when passing that region.105

Some children, called doriya,106 work directly for soldiers and spend most of their time in their company. Most have no families or have found that their families cannot support them. They often wear cast-off shirts or pants from soldiers, enjoying the borrowed prestige of even a partial military uniform. In January, a Human Rights Watch researcher observed six young boys dressed partly in uniform following soldiers around and hanging around the post. The boys themselves stated that they were happy to be working with the soldiers. One twelve-year-old said that the soldiers feed them well. Another, aged fourteen, said that he liked guns.107

Residents of several camps, including Muberure,Kabezi, Kavumu, Ruyaga, Nyamaboko and Nyambuye, said that doriya spy in the camps for the soldiers, help them loot property, and serve as lookouts, scouts, and porters when the soldiers are on patrol.108 In addition to receiving food and clothing from the soldiers, the children sometimes receive a small part of the loot as recompense for their help in pillaging the property of others. One man from Muberure discovered that part of the metal sheeting roof of his home had been stolen in January and most things of value from inside the house along with it. He later found one of his shirts, stolen at that time, being worn by a doriya from his camp and took it away from him.109

With the majority of the population of Burundi under the age of twenty, any hope of a peace in the near future obviously depends in part on what children and young people are learning now. Raised in a culture of guns and violence, witnessing daily instances of brutality, these young victims will become the fighters of tomorrow.


Most of the residents interviewed for this report related one or more cases of abuses perpetrated by members of the Burundian military forces, but many also indicated that not all military behaved abusively. Witnesses from Kabezi camp who particularly criticized the members of the army mobile squad for abuses noted that they had no problems with national policemen. Residents at Mubone also reported abuses by the mobile squad in October but added thatsoldiers from the nearby post disapproved of their behavior. One man from the Nyambuye camp said homes in his area had been looted by soldiers from Kanyosha, not by soldiers posted at the camp. Others recounted that soldiers with whom they had good relationships freed them from arbitrary detention or ended beatings to which they were being subjected. Still others related how some soldiers helped them resist exactions by others. Several remarked that some soldiers misbehaved only after they had been drinking and that others were simply young and undisciplined.110

"Commandant Gisanganya" Ngarambe was one high-ranking officer cited as abusive by a number of witnesses. One related having been tied in the imvuto position and having been beaten both by this officer and by his bodyguards.111 Another said that "Commandant Gisanganya" was known for being particularly harsh and abusive even before regroupment began, so that some people from Kwigere hill chose to go to Nyambuye camp instead of to Muberure where "Commandant Gisanganya" was in charge. But in January, the commandant was transferred to Nyambuye, putting him in charge of the very people who had hoped to avoid him.112

In some cases administrative officials cooperate with the soldiers in their exactions or at least do nothing to stop them. In one case, an administrative official tried to extort produce from three families, who refused to comply with his demands. According to witnesses familiar with the case, the official then accused young men from these families of being rebels: they were immediately arrested and subjected to severe ill-treatment. Two were later found dead.113

In other cases, administrative officials have tried to limit abuses of soldiers. Witnesses said that the zone chief (chef de zone), for example, tried to stop the pillaging at Kavumu camp on May 7.114 When women from Nyambuye camp were raped, the administrator of Isale commune supposedly brought the crime to the attention of "Commandant Gisanganya."115


By executing attacks on military posts near the camps and sometimes from within their confines, as described above, the FNL increased the likelihood that civilians would suffer from battle-related injuries or death. Their combatants have also fired on mixed groups of civilians and soldiers, as in the attacks at Mpankuhe football field on March 3 that wounded three children, and in the attack at Remba on April 9, also described above. FNL combatants have ambushed vehicles on the main roads leading to Bujumbura, sometimes only robbing passengers and not injuring them, as in the attack on a bus at Kamesa Hill on April 25, but in other cases killing and injuring civilians, as in the ambush of a bus and a car near Mageyo, where at least fifteen persons were slain-three children among them-and twelve wounded.116

Rebels also helped themselves to food and other goods found in vacant homes after the countryside had been emptied of its usual population. Many camp residents said that when they went back to work in their fields, they often found that others-presumably the rebels-had been living in their houses and eating their crops.117

In addition, FNL combatants came into the camps to ask or demand money and other "contributions" from residents. Generally they did so without injuring them, but on April 23, Easter Sunday, FNL combatants arrived at Ruziba camp and asked or forced residents to hand over rice, beans, goats, chickens, and clothes, especially jeans. When a fifty-year-old man tried to stop them from taking his property and cried out to attract the attention of others, they killed him. One witness said that the combatant who shot him had been drunk.118

Said to be well-disciplined-especially in comparison with the FDD combatants who used to fight in this region- FNL combatants are supposedly forbidden to drink alcohol, gamble, possess any symbols of traditional religion, or have sexual relations with women. They sing Christian hymns when going into battle and they say they fight in the name of God.

Some combatants violate these rules. A rebel commander is said to have raped a woman who had been kidnaped in the region of Rukoko, northwest of the city of Bujumbura. He kept her as his "wife" against her will for some time and she became pregnant.119 According to a resident of Nyamaboko camp, a young woman named Melanie was executed by a FNL commander because she had reportedly been having sexual relations with one of his men.120

The FNL, like the regular army, recruit and use doriya, children who serve as soldiers and helpers. One resident of Kibuye camp related having seen doriya, wearing a military shirt or pants, some carrying weapons, crossing the hills with FNL combatants.121 Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed two doriya, one who joined the FNL at the age of sixteen, the other at the age of fifteen. Both began as cooks and general helpers, but the older progressed to being a regular soldier within a year of his joining the group.122

According to residents of a number of camps, FNL combatants circulate freely in the camp sites. Some said they saw men whom they knew to be rebels in camp during the day, dressed in civilian clothes. According to them, the rebels put on uniforms only when they were going to engage in combat. One witness reported that when rebels planned an attack near or from within a camp, they advised the civilian population to take cover. Several witnesses said that FNL combatants came to the camps at night to visit families or friends and to seek new supporters. The rebels reportedly told people that they want only "to protect your houses and fields from the soldiers that want to destroy them." They also distributed pamphlets explaining their cause to residents in camps in Isale and Kabezi communes. In Kabezi camp, they felt sufficiently secure to hold a public meeting at night on April 24 to instruct people how to react to government proposals for closing the camps. They directed them to refuse to return home in small numbers and to leave camp only if everyone was authorized to go at the same time.123

A substantial number of camp residents seemed to know a lot about the numbers, location, and movements of the FNL combatants. Inhabitants of Nyambuye, Kibuye and Muberure camps in Isale commune, for example, all stated that the FNL are operating widely in the area and are known to occupy the hills of Singamano, Kirombwe and Nyamukanga on the border between Isale and Kanyosha communes.124

Even while relating instances of confiscation of goods or outright theft by FNL combatants, some residents added that the rebels took only what they needed to sustain themselves, seeming to justify or mitigate these abuses.125


On January 19, 2000, the government of Burundi seemed to bow to international censure of the regroupment policy and announced to the United Nations Security Council that it would begin dismantling ten camps in the immediate future. Just as the initial decision to forcibly displace civilians appears to have been motivated by political pressure, so too was the decision to allow them to return home, the difference being that the first was domestic and the second external. In neither case were the Burundian authorities acting primarily in the interest of the local population.

The Burundian government failed to keep the January promise, apparently because important forces within the government still saw a value in keeping people in the camps. Instead it engaged in a show of dismantling the camps.

On February 25, the governor of Bujumbura-rural identified eleven camps-so-called "protection sites"-that had been or would be dismantled in Phase I of the program. This list included not just regroupment camps for persons forcibly displaced after September 1999 but also camps housing internally displaced persons (IDPs) who had fled their homes at various times since the beginning of the crisis in 1993. Most of these internally displaced people-both Hutu and Tutsi-came to the camps voluntarily and remained there not under duress but because they had no other place to go. Although they lived in difficult conditions, they were not generally subject to the level of misery of those who were forced into regroupment camps.

The distinction between the two kinds of camps was not always clear because some previously existing IDP camps also sheltered people forced to move as a result of the 1999 regroupment. In its announcement concerning Phase I, the government appears to have exploited this source of confusion by not distinguishing between the two kinds of camps. In fact, only two of the eleven were actually regroupment camps and were completely closed: Maramvya camp in Mutimbuzi commune (pop. 4000), created on October 23, 1999 and dismantled during the week of February 7, and Kinonko camp in Mutambu commune (pop. 1,500), established in November 1999 and disbanded the first week of March. A third regroupment camp, that at Muberure, was partially dismantled at this time.126

One of the "protection sites" on the list of eleven was Gatumba in Mutimbuzi commune, which sheltered displaced Hutu who fled Bujumbura during the fighting in 1995 and 1996. A small site of fewer than 500 residents, it contained poor urban residents who preferred to stay at Gatumba because they had no homes elsewhere. Many had been small traders or artisans who had rented rooms in homes that were now destroyed. Deprived of their source of income by disruptions in the economy caused by the war, they had no money to pay lodgings elsewhere. Authorities insisted, nonetheless, that they vacate the site by March 3 and transported them to the quartiers of Kamenge, Kinama, and Buterere in Bujumbura city. There they installed them in vacant, badly damaged houses. Should the owners of these houses return, the displaced will be forced to move once again.127

Matara in Mukike commune is another IDP camp that was to be closed in Phase I. Its residents are mostly displaced Tutsi who fled fighting in the hills of Bujumbura-rural. Like the residents of Gatumba, they prefer to stay in the camp. In this case, authorities allowed them to remain, apparently because continuing combat made their home region insecure.128The governor of Bujumbura-rural described plans for Phase II of dismantling the camps in a letter to the minister of the interior on March 15,2000. They proved to be as misleading as those for Phase I. Nine sites were named, including some described in this report as having the worst conditions, such as Kabezi and Kavumu.129 But plans were to completely disband only one of the nine. Three were to continue functioning with at least part of the regrouped population and five-with a combined population of some 100,000-were to be merely decongested by moving part of the population into new camps to be established. The inadequacies in the plan soon became irrelevant because in early April, the government suspended Phase II saying that the security situation was too poor to permit its implementation.130 In fact, at about the time when Phase II was announced, Burundian authorities regrouped some 6,200 people at a new camp at Muchungwe without any announcement. It was only some weeks later that the existence of the new camp became known.131 By early April, three months after the original undertaking to close the camps, only some 18,000 people, about 5 percent of the total of 352,000 in the camps, had been permitted to return home. Of twenty-three sites identified at that point to be closed, only nine were regroupment camps. The occupants of the fourteen IDP sites on the list, some 16,900 people, did not, in fact, want to leave the sites.132

The Burundian government was finally forced to make real progress on closing the camps after rebel leaders made this a precondition for joining the peace negotiations and Nelson Mandela, as facilitator of the talks, took up the issue, calling the camps "concentration camps." On June 7, 2000, Mandela announced that Buyoya had agreed that all people in the regroupment camps would be free to return home by July 31. Spurred by the prospect of a mid-June visit by Mandela, the government moved rapidly to close seven camps with a population of some 111,700 people, nearly 40 percent of those regrouped in the province.133

The same day that the promised closing was announced, military and civilian officials went to several camps to tell residents that they were free to go home immediately. During such a morning visit at Muyaga camp, military officers, the governor of Bujumbura-rural, the administrator of the commune and the zone chief said that the camp should be completely vacated by Friday. Residents saw this as a promise, not a threat, and began packing up theirbelongings immediately. Some left Wednesday afternoon, others the next morning. Similarly people from Buhonga headed home beginning on June 7, as soon as they were authorised to leave. Military officers came to Nyambuye camp on June 10 to say that residents should leave immediately. After general applause, residents hurriedly gathered their belongings and left the camp. Several took pride in the speed of their departure and administrative officials expressed surprise over it as well.134 A number of camp residents who rejoiced at the chance to go home believed the decision was spurred by Mandela's visit rather than by a concern for their welfare. Several commented that they wished that Mandela would come more often, seeing that he brought such beneficial changes, while others expressed the fear that they might even be sent back to the camps once Mandela had left.135

Some residents of Ruyaga camp originally from Kamasa hill did not go home directly but rather went to stay with family or friends on other hills, as did others from Buhonga camp. They said they preferred to return home only when neighbors from adjacent hills had also been permitted to leave from other camps.136

Two of the camps where rebel activity has been most important, Kavumu and Kabezi, were not completely dismantled even though they were among those named for closing on June 7. On the morning of June 8, authorities announced that everyone at Kavumu camp should go home, but in the early afternoon military and civilian officials declared that the residents of seven of the thirteen hills represented at Kavumu could not go home due to continuing insecurity on their hills. Authorities urged people from those hills to seek lodging with family or friends nearby and many did so. But others, particularly more vulnerable people like women and children, stayed on in the camp. On June 9, representatives of residents from the seven hills asked the administrator of the commune when they would be able to go home. He had no answer for them but assured them that those who wished to do so could remain in the site. Within a week, however, the camp was empty. People from most hills were back in their own homes and about 900 families were residing with family and friends.137

Administrative officials permitted about half the residents of Kabezi camp to return home between June 7 and June 9, but told those who lived at Masama, Gitenga, Mwaza and Kiremba that conditions were too insecure on those hills to permit their return. Although most who returned home experienced no problems, some residents of Kabezi hill were frightened by combat in their vicinity and asked authorisation from the zone chief to return to the camp. He refused and they stayed at home.138

At the end of June, about 100,000 persons had returned home from the camps, somewhat less than one third of the total number of persons forcibly displaced from their homes since September 1999.139 Statistics on the number displaced may be incomplete. The camp at Muchungwe, established in April, is not generally included in the list of "protection sites," nor is a camp in central Mugere (population 3,200) which has been in existence since September 1999.140

Little is known about the camps in the southern part of Bujumbura-rural because they are located far from roads and in areas where there is often combat. Any closing of these camps, as well as conditions of life for those still resident there, have not been monitored.


Although happy to be home once again, those who had suffered regroupment still face large problems in trying to reestablish their lives. Most farmers have cultivated too little to feed their families until the next harvest. Virtually none of them have any livestock. International humanitarian agencies, aware of the food shortage, continue to distribute supplies in the countryside. In several regions, such as Buhonga and Nyabibondo, residents have easy access to water at local streams. But in areas south of Muyaga and Kavumu, the water system has been destroyed and people who used to depend on it must go some distance on foot to get water at Mutanga or elsewhere. Efforts are being made to repair the system. In other regions, international agencies are delivering water. Agencies that previously provided medical services continue to do so.141

In some areas, about one fifth of the homes are missing all or part of their roofs and one half showed evidence of looting, such as having doors smashed or windows broken. In many, all usable furniture, household goods, and food supplies have been pillaged. One man who lives on Kwigere hill has a small house that measures five by seven metersand that requires thirty-five pieces of metal sheeting for a roof. Each piece, bought new, costs about 5,000 Burundian francs, making the cost of a complete new roof 175,000 Burundian francs or about $214, which would represent more than eight months salary for him.142 As another man commented,

Before there was so much insecurity, so regroupment should have been a good idea. But because conditions in the camp were so bad, in reality, it was not a good idea. Now my house has no roof and my home is ruined. What am I to do?143
Those who have returned home continue to suffer from the war. Even more than the concerns of daily life, many former camp residents worry about the possibility that military activity will increase and that they will be forced to go back to the camps. Several who expressed concern about combat in their region made clear that they fear the Burundian military, not the rebels. One said, "The rebels pass at night and everyone on the hill knows this. We are not afraid of their passing, only of the soldiers during the day."144

About 150 families of Sorezo hill experienced the apparently arbitrary exercise of military authority immediately after they returned from Muyaga camp. They had been in their homes for only a few hours on June 8 when soldiers came and without explanation ordered them to leave the area. Some of those affected believe that the soldiers wanted the area vacated because it lies close to the residence of President Buyoya, but they have been unable to obtain either an official explanation or any help in relocating. Representatives of the group went to the governor of Bujumbura-rural who sent them to the mayor of the city of Bujumbura. The mayor said that he could not help them because the decision had been made by the military. In the meantime, they are living with friends and neighbors in nearby areas.145

Boys and men are still being required to transport goods for soldiers as they move around the province. On June 14, about thirty soldiers entered homes in the Mutanga North section of Bujumbura city and required some twenty Hutu young men and boys, aged ten to twenty-five years old, to carry loads of food and other supplies on a two-hour journey to Nyambuye military post. The soldiers threatened to beat them with sticks if they did not comply with the order. The Hutu were allowed to leave the post for the return journey only just before dusk. They hurried back, afraid that they might be taken as rebels by other soldiers and shot before arriving at the city.

A Human Rights Watch researcher also observed boys as young as twelve years old, serving as doriya and carrying supplies for soldiers near Mutambu commune in mid-June.146


More than any other single international force, the moral condemnation of Nelson Mandela has moved the Burundian government towards closing the camps, as discussed above. His effectiveness stemmed in part from his being held in such high esteem and in part from his willingness to challenge the prevailing wisdom that Buyoya and the precarious stability that he seemed to represent should not be questioned too vigorously.

From the start, few outside observers believed that regroupment would be an effective solution to the military threat posed by the FNL to the capital. Most believed that Buyoya was acting in order to protect himself from Tutsi extremists, including perhaps other military officers, who might attempt to remove him if he did not take some dramatic action to halt rebel incursions into the city.147 In public and in private, various foreign governments criticized the creation of the camps, deplored the inhumane conditions, and advised that the camps be disbanded. On December 17, for example, the U.S. State Department issued a release calling on the Burundi government to end the camps which were "breeding long-term resentment" against the Burundian authorities as well as spreading disease and leading to increased deaths.148 But none was willing to go as far as Mandela for fear of undermining Buyoya's position.

In attempting to justify the camps, Buyoya dismissed this international criticism and referred to the behavior of the international community at the time of the Rwandan genocide. He reportedly said:

If you do not manage the security situation, chaos will come and you will disappear as the international community sits back and watches. The same international community will later come and blame us for the massive killings and genocide, so we had to take up our responsibilities.149
Donor nations were, of course, ill-placed to threaten aid cuts to spur any change in policy. Following the imposition of the embargo in 1996, most donors ended development aid to the Burundian government and hence could not make closing the camps a condition of further assistance.150 In 1998, however, France and Belgium again promised development aid for such sectors as health and education and in April 2000, the World Bank granted a credit of $35 million to stabilize the economy and restore social services. On a visit to Burundi in April, Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel said that it was hard for Europeans to accept the regroupment policy, but rather than push for closing the camps, he stressed the need for better humanitarian access to improve conditions for those confined there.151

Foreign diplomats did intervene effectively on one occasion, after looting by troops was reported at Kavumu camp on May 7. Following their protests, the minister of defense asked an inter-ministerial commission to investigate reports of military misconduct.152

The U.N. Security Council repeatedly expressed concern about regroupment and asked that those affected be allowed to return home. Once the Burundian government had sent home a significant number of people in early June, the Security Council welcomed the closure of some camps and expressed the expectation that the government would complete the process.153 Leading spokespeople for the United Nations all condemned the inhumane conditions of regroupment. In January, Secretary-General Kofi Annan criticized the policy and warned of a potential "humanitarian catastrophe" in the camps. His Special Representative for Displaced Persons expressed concern about conditions in the camps and UNICEF Director Carol Bellamy urged that they be closed rapidly.154 The Special Rapporteur for Burundi of the U.N. Human Rights Commission, Marie-Therese Keita-Bocoum, recommended that the government deal immediately with the issue of forced displacement of the population.155

Mary Robinson, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights declared that regroupment "violates the civil and political, as well as the economic, social and cultural rights of the affected population."156 The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner inside the country, however, played no role in investigating or in publicizing the inhumane conditions under which residents lived. Throughout most of this period, U.N. staff were limited by security restrictions imposed following the murder of U.N. personnel in October 1999. Field officers could, nonetheless, have documented abuses by interviewing camp residents who came into the city and publicized them so as to increase pressure on the Burundian government to halt these abuses.


Civilians-persons taking no active part in hostilities-are protected by common article 3 of the Geneva Conventions which, together with customary law, governs the conduct of forces involved in an internal armed conflict. All parties to such a conflict, like the one in Burundi, are bound by the provisions of this article.

In addition, the government of Burundi has acceded to the 1977 Additional Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions which further details protections for civilians caught in an internal armed conflict. These rules are applicable to insurgent forces as well as to the government of Burundi and its armed forces.

The customary law principle of civilian immunity and the complementary principle requiring warring parties to distinguish civilians from combatants at all times was recognized by the U.N. General Assembly by its Resolution 2444, adopted by unanimous vote on December 19, 1968. Among other principles, this resolution affirms the prohibition against attacking civilian populations and requires all parties to hostilities to spare civilian populations as much as possible.

The Forced Displacement of Civilians
In terms of the number of persons affected, the Burundian government violated international humanitarian law most seriously by forcibly displacing some 350,000 persons from their homes and keeping them in camps where they suffered from miserable conditions of life, some of them for ten months. Article 17 (1) of Protocol II prohibits such deliberate displacement of civilians except for their own security or for imperative military reasons.157

Combat in Bujumbura-rural had increased in the months preceding the decision for regroupment, but the Hutu population suffered increased risk to their security more from the Burundian armed forces than from the insurgents. This risk of harm was not great enough to require confining residents in camps and could have been minimized by insisting that members of the Burundian armed forces abstain from attacks on the civilian population. Enforced residence in the camps exposed the displaced people to a number of other abuses by members of the Burundian armed forces as well as to a greater likelihood of death by disease and malnutrition than they would have suffered had they remained at home. In this way, regroupment actually reduced the security of camp residents.

In determining whether regroupment was justified by "imperative military reasons," the most authoritative source to interpreting the Protocol is its Commentary which states:

Clearly, imperative military reasons cannot be justified by political motives. For example, it would be prohibited to move a population in order to exercise more effective control over a dissident ethnic group.158
The Hutu of Bujumbura-rural constituted a social base for the FNL and Burundian authorities did indeed displace them with the aim of exercising closer control over them, a political reason specifically excluded by the Commentary. Some of the residents of this province had provided food and shelter to FNL combatants-willingly or unwillingly-and so had supported their military activity. But this assistance was not so crucial to their combat as to qualify interrupting it as an "imperative" military reason. Article 17 also provides that all possible measures be taken to ensure that displaced persons be provided with "satisfactory conditions of shelter, hygiene, health, safety and nutrition" at places to which they are moved. As is clear from the information presented above, Burundian authorities took no measures to assure satisfactory conditions, even for those persons displaced long after the initial decision for regroupment was made.

Other Violations of International Humanitarian Law
Soldiers and national policemen and others acting at their direction, like doriya, who have killed, raped, or tortured civilians or treated them in a humiliating and degrading way, as detailed above, have violated the provisions of article 3 and of article 4 of Protocol II and they have failed to observe the principles recognized by the U.N. General Assembly Resolution 2444. Members of the Burundian armed forces who indiscriminately fired their weapons when herding civilians into regroupment camps and who shot directly into the camps as they did at Kavumu and Kabezi, have also violated these provisions of international law, as they have the prohibition of attacks on civilians.

Article 4 of Protocol II prohibits collective punishments. Members of the Burundian armed forces who beat and otherwise abused camp residents at Nyambuye, Kavumu, and Kinyankonge after their posts were attacked by insurgents violated this provision of international humanitarian law.

Article 4 (3) (e) of Protocol II and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Burundi is a state party, grant special protection to children in times of war. By killing children, exposing them to indiscriminate fire, beating them, requiring them to provide labor, and recruiting them as auxiliaries, members of the Burundian armed forces have violated the rights of children specified in this Protocol and Convention.

Customary and conventional law prohibits directing the movement of civilians in order to attempt to shield legitimate military objectives from attack or to favor military operations. Burundian soldiers and national policemen who sent men and boys ahead of their patrols or convoys, as at Mpankuhe football field where three children were shot by rebels, violated these provisions of international law.

Soldiers, national policemen, and doriya who have pillaged the property of civilians, as they apparently did in many areas of Bujumbura-rural and at Kavumu camp on May 7, have violated customary and conventional international law.

Some of the above-mentioned violations may have been carried out by members of the Burundian armed forces on their own initiative and without any direct orders from their superiors. But these abuses were sufficiently widespread and frequent that commanding officers of the armed forces and senior leaders knew or should have known that they were they were taking place. By failing to halt these violations among men under their command and by only exceptionally bringing perpetrators to justice, commanding officers of the Burundi armed forces tolerated and becamecomplicit in crimes against international humanitarian law. In some instances commanding officers may have ordered violations of international humanitarian law, as is alleged of "Commandant Gisanganya" Ngarambe.


The Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, adopted in September 1998 by the U.N. General Assembly, reflect humanitarian law detailed above as well as human rights law, and provide a consolidated set of international standards governing the treatment of the internally displaced (IDPs). Although not a binding instrument, the Guiding Principles are based on international laws that do bind states and insurgent groups, and they have acquired authority and standing in the international community. Having violated international humanitarian law on a number of counts, the Burundian government necessarily also contravened the Guiding Principles concerning those same issues.

By forcibly displacing the population, the government of Burundi contravened principle 6, which echoes article 17 discussed above. By giving people little or no advance notice of their forcible removal, by failing to provide any explanation of the necessity of the move, by failing to obtain the consent of those moved, and by failing to provide satisfactory conditions for their installation in the camps, the government contravened principle 7. Authorities carried out the displacement in total disregard of the rights to security and dignity of those affected, a violation of principle 8, and imposed the move on people who were largely farmers, those with a special dependency on their lands, thus disregarding principle 9.

Principle 10 specifies the protection of displaced persons against loss of life by murder, summary or arbitrary executions, and enforced disappearances which might result in death. It specifically prohibts direct or indiscriminate attacks, use of displaced persons as shields from attack, and attacks on camps. Members of the Burundian armed forces contravened principle 10 in the crimes and attacks described above.

Members of the Burundian armed forces contravened principle 11 by raping, torturing, and committing other outrages on the physical, mental and moral integrity of displaced persons.

Members of the Burundian armed forces contravened principle 11 by requiring forced labor from children and principle 12 by recruiting, requiring or permitting displaced children to take part in hostilities.

Principle 14 specifies that displaced persons have the right to move freely in and out of camps. This principle was ignored by Burundian authorities, whether military or civilian, who restricted the movement of civilians for their own purposes.

According to principle 18, authorities are obliged to provide displaced persons with food, water, shelter, clothing and medical services or to ensure their access to these necessities. Burundian authorities generally permitted humanitarian agencies to deliver these necessary services, but in some cases, such as that of Kavumu in the first weeks of 2000, local authorities contravened this principle. The interruption of such services also contravened principle 25 which requires granting free passage to personnel of humanitarian agencies.

Principle 21 prohibits pillage of the property of displaced persons and further requires the protection of property left behind at the time of their displacement. Members of the Burundian armed forces contravened this principle and looted and pillaged the goods of displaced persons. In addition, Burundian authorities failed to protect their property against theft by their own soldiers and national policemen or by insurgents.

Principle 22 provides that displaced persons shall be able to seek employment and participate in economic activities. By the restrictions on their movements, many camp residents were prevented from cultivating the foodnecessary for their own subsistence or for sale. Others were kept from seeking employment, particularly those who would have otherwise cultivated the fields of others or who engaged in itinerant commerce.

Principle 28 requires authorities to establish conditions and to provide the means for displaced persons to return voluntarily, "in safety and with dignity" to their homes or to resettle voluntarily elsewhere. The government of Burundi seems to have sent the people home with as little concern for their welfare as it showed in displacing them at the start.

According to principle 29, authorities have the responsibility of helping displaced persons to recover their pillaged property. In the case of the May 7 raid on Kavumu camp, authorities have supposedly begun creating a list of looted goods with the aim of restoring as much as possible to camp residents, but they have not otherwise indicated any readiness to aid in the recovery of pillaged property or to provide just reparation for it.


Combatants of the FNL who have killed, raped, or otherwise injured civilians, as they did in killing passengers in the vehicles ambushed at Mageyo, have violated the provision of common article 3 and of article 4 of Protocol II and they have failed to adhere to the principles enunciated in Resolution 2444.

By killing children, exposing them to indiscriminate fire, beating them, requiring them to provide labor, and recruiting them as auxiliaries, FNL combatants have violated the rights of children specified in article 4 (3) (e) of Protocol II.

Customary and conventional international law prohibits using the presence of civilians to shield areas from military operations or to favor or impede such operations. FNL combatants who used regroupment camps to launch attacks on military posts, such as at Kabezi and at Kinyankonge, violated these provisions of international law.

FNL combatants who have looted the crops and other property of civilians or forced "contributions" from them, as at Ruziba on April 23, have violated customary and conventional international law which prohibits such pillage.

FNL combatants may have committed some of these abuses on their own initiative and without any direct orders from their superiors. But senior leaders of the FNL knew or should have known that such widespread and frequent violations of international humanitarian law were being committed by men under their direct command. These responsible authorities have at the least failed to enforce provisions of international humanitarian law among men under their direct command. By failing to halt these violations among their subordinates, FNL leaders tolerated and became complicit in crimes against international humanitarian law. In some instances they may have ordered men under their command to commit these violations.


Human Rights Watch recognizes with appreciation funding for work on Burundi from the Interkerkelijke organisatie voor ontwikkelingssamenwerking (Interchurch organization for development cooperation-ICCO).

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Its Africa division was established in 1988 to monitor and promote the observance of internationally recognized human rights in sub-Saharan Africa. Peter Takirambudde is the executive director; Janet Fleischman is the Washington director; Suliman Ali Baldo is the senior researcher; Alex Vines is the research associate; Bronwen Manby and Binaifer Nowrojee are counsels; Zachary Freeman and Tamar Satnet are associates; Alison DesForges is a consultant; and Peter Bouckaert is the Orville Schell Fellow. William Carmichael is the chair of the advisory committee.

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102 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura, March 15 and 20, 2000.

103 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, March 12, 2000.

104 Human Rights Watch field notes, visits to various food distributions centers, December 1999-June 2000.

105 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura, March 12 and Kabezi, March 14, 2000.

106 The word doriya, meaning lookout or spy, apparently comes from the Swahili phrase kufanya doriya, to go on patrol. It may also be used for young men who help soldiers.

107 Human Rights Watch interview, Kabezi commune, January 21, 2000.

108 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura, February 22 and 24, March l, 12, and May 13, 2000.

109 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, February 24, 2000.

110 Human Rights Watch interviews, Mugone, March 6; Bujumbura, January 18, March 3, 7, 12 and 20, 2000.

111 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, June 5, 2000.

112 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura, April 24,

113 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, May 20, 2000.

114 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, May 13, 2000.

115 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, June 2, 2000.

116 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura, April 25 and 26, 2000

117 Human Rights Watch interviews, Maramvya, February 10, Mubone, March 6, Bujumbura, January 18, February 24, March 1, 10, 12, 15, 16, 20, and May 16, 2000.

118 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, May 9, 2000.

119 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, June 30, 2000.

120 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, March 13, 2000.

121 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, March 16, 2000.

122 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura, February 15 and 16, 2000.

123 Human Rights Watch interviews, Kabezi, April 25; Bujumbura, February 22, March 12 and 16, 2000.

124 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura, February 24, March 3 and 20, 2000.

125 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, February 22 and 24, March 12 and 13, 2000.

126 Letter from the Governor of Bujumbura-rural to the Minister of the Interior, dated February 25, 2000.

127 Human Rights Watch interviews, Gatumba, February 15 and March 3; Kinama, April 14, 2000.

128 Human Rights Watch interview, Matara, March 2, 2000.

129 Letter from the Governor of Bujumbura-rural to the Minister of the Interior, dated March 15, 2000.

130 IRIN Roundup number 14, 1-7 April, 2000.

131 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura May 15 and May 16, 2000.

132 IRIN Report 902, April 12, 2000.

133 United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, "Bujumbura Rural, 3eme phase de demantelement (du 08 au 10 juin 2000)."

134 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura and Bujumbura-rural, June 12 and 13, 2000.

135 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura-rural, June 15 and 28, 2000.

136 Human Rights Watch interviews, Buhonga, June 13 and Kavumu, June 14, 2000.

137 Human Rights Watch interviews, Kavumu, June 13 and 14, 2000 Bujumbura, June 22, 2000.

138 Human Rights Watch interview, Kabezi, June 17, 2000.

139 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura, June 12 and 13; Sorezo, June 12; Buhonga, June 13; Kavumu, June 14; Kwigere, June 15, Mutambu, June 16; and Kabezi, June 17, 2000.

140 Human Rights Watch interview, Mutambu, June 16, 2000.

141 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura-rural, June 12, 13, and 15, 2000; OCHA briefing notes, June 28, 2000.

142 Human Rights Watch interview, Kwigere, June 15, 2000.

143 Human Rights Watch interview, Maramvya, February 10, 2000.

144 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura-rural, June 15, 2000.

145 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, June 12, 2000.

146 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, June 15, 2000; field observation, Mutambu commune, June 16, 2000.

147 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, December 14, 1999.

148 IRIN number 825, December 17, 1999.

149 IRIN number 901, April 11, 2000.

150 Some U.S. $42 million was delivered in humanitarian assistance in 1999. IRIN number 871, February 29, 2000.

151 IRIN numbers 902, April 12 and 910, April 26, 2000.

152 IRIN number 921, May 11. 2000.

153 President of the Security Council, Oral Statement to the Press, Friday December 3, 1999; IRIN number 956, June 29, 2000.

154 IRIN numbers 843, January 20 and 866, February 22, 2000.

155 IRIN number 893, March 30, 2000.

156 IRIN number 842, January 19, 2000.

157 Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions Relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Conflicts, acceded to by Burundi on June 10, 1993, specifies in Article 17 (1):

The displacement of the civilian population shall not be ordered for reasons related to the conflict unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand. Should such displacements have to be carried out, all possible measures shall be taken in order that the civilian population may be received under satisfactory conditions of shelter, hygiene, health, safety and nutrition.

158 International Committee of the Red Cross, Commentary on the Additional Protocols of 1977 (Geneva: International Commitee of the Red Cross, 1987), p. 1472.

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