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V. Killing of Civilians

During the nearly ten years of civil war in Burundi, soldiers of the Burundian armed forces and combatants of the FNL and FDD rebel movements have often been responsible for the deaths of civilians in violation of international humanitarian law (known as the laws of war). 60

Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the civil war in Burundi is a non-international (internal) armed conflict. Internal armed conflicts are those arising within the territory of a state party to the Geneva Conventions. They are covered under Article 3 common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the Second Additional Protocol of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions (Protocol II), as well as much customary law applicable to international conflicts. Burundi ratified the 1949 Geneva Conventions in 1971 and Protocol II in 1993.

Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions expressly binds all parties to an internal armed conflict, including Burundian armed forces and non-state armed groups such as the FNL and FDD. Common Article 3 requires the humane treatment of civilians and captured combatants, and prohibits violence to life and person, particularly murder, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; taking of hostages; outrages upon personal dignity; and the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regular constituted court.61

Protocol II is applicable when opposing forces in an internal conflict are under a responsible command, exercise enough control over territory to mount sustained and coordinated military operations, and are able to implement Protocol II, conditions which are satisfied in the case of Burundi. Protocol II supplements Common Article 3 and provides a more encompassing list of protections for civilians in internal armed conflicts, including prohibitions on pillage of civilian property, and mandating access for impartial humanitarian assistance.62

Under customary international humanitarian law, only military objectives may be the direct object of attack. To constitute a legitimate military objective, the target must contribute effectively to the enemy’s military capability or activity, and its destruction or neutralization must offer a definite military advantage in the circumstances.63 The civilian population and individual civilians generally are to be protected against attack. Civilians or civilian objects may not be the object of deliberate attack. An attack is indiscriminate andin violation of international law if it is not directed at a specific military objective, or uses a method or means of combat that cannot be directed at a specific military objective, and as a result strikes military objectives and civilians without distinction.64 Attacks on legitimate military targets are limited by the principle of proportionality, which places a duty on combatants to choose means of attack that avoid or minimize damage to civilians. In particular, the attacker should refrain from launching an attack if the expected civilian casualties would outweigh the importance of the military target to the attacker.65 Violations involving direct or indiscriminate attacks on civilians during an internal armed conflict are increasingly recognized internationally as war crimes.

Killings at Kabezi

In the early morning of April 23, FNL combatants attacked the national police brigade at Kabezi.66 Other FNL combatants ambushed soldiers en route to reinforce the brigade, occasioning an exchange of fire in which several civilians were killed. Soldiers then deliberately killed civilians in and near the ambush site. These killings illustrate the disregard of civilian lives by both government soldiers and FNL combatants as well as the deliberate killings of civilians by government soldiers.

Kabezi, a commune in the province of Bujumbura Rural just south of Bujumbura, abuts Lake Tanganyika. Its residents include both fishermen who live from small-scale fishing on the lake and farmers who till food crops and cotton on hills overlooking the lake. It has frequently been the scene of combat between the army and the rebel combatants. A major paved highway, Route 3, runs alongside the lakenorth to south, joining Bujumbura to the important town of Rumonge to the south.

The killings took place after several days of military activity in and around Bujumbura. From April 17 to 19, rebels of the FDD shelled the city, an unusual event because combatants of that force had not recently operated near the capital. Authorities prohibited fishing in the lake because they believed that some of the shells had been launched from boats. On April 20, four fishermen were arrested on suspicion of having aided the rebels and the press reported the “disappearance” of fifteen others the same day.67 According to a witness biking along Route 3 towards Bujumbura early on April 21, he had to weave in and out among several bodies lying along the road, but that he dared not stop given “the unhealthy atmosphere.”68Another witness also told the Human Rights Watch researcher that soldiers had deliberately killed at least two fishermen before “the events of April 23.” 69

The FNL combatants attacked the national police brigade at Kabezi from the adjacent hills of Masama, Bikonda, and Nyarusengi.70 They began shelling with heavy artillery at about 6 a.m. causing considerable damage to the post and to communal buildings and the destruction of an armored vehicle. According to one source, only six of thirty police survived the attack unharmed.71

One witness reported that some local people knew that FNL combatants were in the area around midnight the night before because they heard the sound of their boots passing.72 Some others were apparently warned by FNL combatants that there would be an attack shortly before it began and presumably left their homes quickly.73 But others were caught unawares. One local resident said, “I’ve never heard shooting like that before. The first shell was so terrible that it made everyone panic.”74 People fled their homes immediately, many of them heading north on Route 3 towards Bujumbura, a usual escape route for civilians when combat began in the area. Witnesses said that on the morning of April 23, they met up with soldiers heading south along the highway to reinforce the Kabezi brigade and coming from the place called the “Chinese camp,” located several miles north of Kabezi towards Bujumbura.75 This, too, was a frequent occurrence at the time of attacks. But this time a witness noticed that the soldiers looked “very angry,” perhaps because they knew of the severity of the Kabezi attack.76

Many civilians fled along the highway. According to one witness, “There was a sea of humanity on the road, especially women and children.”77 Another witness added that he had heard a soldier expressing surprise at how many women and children there were and wondering where the men were.78 Witnesses described the civilians hurrying along the side of the road nearer the hills, keeping to the side to allow the soldiers to pass on the other side, that nearer the lake. The soldiers were divided into several different groups.

It was apparently the first group of soldiers from the “Chinese camp” who were caught in the ambush as they moved along route 3. The firing began between 6:30 and 7 a.m. and continued for fifteen to twenty minutes. When the shooting began, one woman was warned by a soldier to get down out of the line of fire.79 Similarly two children who arrived at a place of refuge later that day, one carrying a rooster and another balancing a cooking pot on his head, said FNL combatants had warned them to take cover as they passed them firing from a hill down on the soldiers on the road.80 But most soldiers and FNL combatants fired without regard for the mass of civilians caught on the road between them or fleeing over the hills nearby. A military ship also arrived in the nearby waters some time after the attack began and started shelling the hills.81

At some point during the exchange of fire between government soldiers and FNL combatants or shortly thereafter, the soldiers reportedly turned their guns directly on the civilians who were streaming down the road towards them. The people panicked, dropped the few treasured possessions they had brought from home and scattered in all directions, some running for the hills and others down towards the lake.82 Others, too afraid or too weak to run, threw themselves on the ground. “There was a lot of shooting and people didn’t know what to do,” said one witness.83 “I jumped off the side of the road and hid myself in the bushes between the road and the hills,” said another. “I stayed hidden there until the afternoon. The soldiers shot the people in the back who ran down towards the lake.”84

Just before the soldiers started shooting at the civilians on the road below Nyamugari, in the zone of Ramba, several witnesses heard them discussing opening fire on the crowd. The witnesses said that one soldier ordered, “Begin here,” meaning open fire here. Another soldier supposedly refused, saying “Wait, let’s begin [firing] further on.”85

A young girl who was wounded said:

When I close my eyes, I keep seeing soldiers shooting at us. There were a lot of bodies and there was blood on the road. Much later a soldier discovered me when I could no longer move and he came and searched my clothes and my headscarf to see if I had any money hidden there, but then he went on and left me there. Two other soldiers also came but their fellows told them to come along to the battle scene and to leave me there [alive] because I wasn’t a boy.86

A soldier later ordered a passer-by to transport the wounded girl to receive medical attention, but soldiers left three other wounded persons lying along the road, one of whom called repeatedly for help. Persons passing several hours after the attack stopped and got out of their car to help the wounded person, but intimidated by groups of soldiers who ran towards them out of the bushes, they left immediately. Passing by the next day, they saw the bodies of the three, now dead, lying on the road.87

Witnesses say they saw the bodies of three soldiers killed in this skirmish, but the local administrator of Kabezi said that four soldiers were killed on the road.88 According to the governor of Bujumbura-rural province, one of the dead was an officer in training.89 In all likelihood, all of them were killed by fire from the FNL. But a less likely account of the deaths of two of them has circulated among survivors of the attack and other people of the region, based upon the conversation recounted above. It relates that one soldier ordered others to open fire on civilians; a second soldier refused saying they should not shoot the people they were supposed to protect. The one giving the order then shot and killed the protestor and was himself in turn shot by other soldiers.90

Among the civilians killed on the road were Claudine, aged seventeen, Odile and two children, her own on her back and that of a neighbor; and Marguerite and her child. There were four unidentified bodies, presumed by the authorities to be those of FNL combatants because they were not known to people of the community.91

A second incident of deliberate killing took place at Nyamugari where government soldiers from the “Chinese camp” passed over the hills en route to Kabezi. They killed at least thirteen civilians and perhaps more, some of them by bayonet or knife. In such cases of killing at close range, the perpetrators must certainly have known that their victims were civilians. The victims included Capitoline Bigirimana, aged twenty; Evariste; Mpanuka; Capitoline Nzeyimana; Odile Banirwaninzigo; the daughters of Francois; the son of Mbunya; the daughter of Déo Ntizizakumwe; Claudine Ntamakuriro; Eric Manirakiza; Jean-Marie Nyandwi and Nestor Nyandwi.

According to several witnesses, soldiers also killed Juvenal Miburo, a 52-year-old employee of an international agency. Miburo, who was well known in the region, fled from Kabezi the morning of the attack, taking with him eight young girls, daughters of friends. When they got to Ramba and heard the shooting from the ambush, they hid in the brush for some time. When all seemed quiet, Miburo and the girls left their hiding place and headed back towards Kabezi. About half way there, they crossed paths with a group of soldiers. All of the girls were permitted to continue on their way except one twelve-year old girl and Miburo. According to the other children, the soldiers said they were going to use him to help transport their goods, that is, the property they had looted. Later that day another group that had fled from Kabezi found the bodies of Miburo, who had been killed by bayonet, and the girl, who had been shot.92

A passer-by, requisitioned by soldiers on April 23 to gather up the bodies, counted twenty-two on the road and in the grass between the road and the lake.93 Another person requisitioned for similar work the next day by the administrator of Kabezi and the commander of the brigade said, “On the road I saw that the bodies of the three soldiers had been removed and I counted twenty-five bodies, twenty that I had already seen the day of the event and another five new ones.”94

Authorities said at one time that seventeen people had been killed on April 23, thirteen civilians and four unidentified persons, said to be rebels. But on May 12 at a meeting attended by Marie-Thérèse Keita-Bocoum, the Commission on Human Rights special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burundi, the representative of the ministry of defense said that about ten people had died at Kabezi while a representative from the ministry of interior said the number was twenty, including fourteen civilians and six rebels.95

In addition to the fatalities, another fifteen people were wounded.96

Official Reactions to the Killings at Kabezi

National authorities made no comment on the Kabezi killings, which had taken place just before the changeover in the presidency. In June, Governor Ntawembarira of Bujumbura-rural told a Human Rights Watch researcher that there had been three incidents on April 23, all of which had been provoked by the FNL. They had begun with the attack on the brigade and then had carried out the ambush on the road which had resulted in three deaths, a woman and two young girls. They had subsequently attacked a group of soldiers from the “Chinese camp” who were crossing the hills and this resulted in ten persons being killed near a group of houses in Nyamugari. He said there had been four unidentified bodies found on the road, who were dead rebels. In his view the whole incident had been much exaggerated and he said he was willing to have anyone interested go with him to the site. 97 But when a delegation of parliamentarians tried soon thereafter to inquire into the events, they were forbidden access to the area on security grounds.98 A number of eyewitnesses to the events have been summoned by soldiers and have fled the area, making establishing the truth more difficult.99

The secretary of the commune and the commander of the Kabezi brigade also discussed the killings with a Human Rights Watch researcher. They both stressed that it was difficult to carry out military operations in the region because of the extent to which the rebels had integrated themselves into the population. The secretary suggested that if civilians had been killed by soldiers on April 23 it was because they were really “rebels disguised as civilians.”100 The local official was echoing ideas expressed since last year by high-ranking officials, including the spokesman of the army, who said that civilians who do not flee the rebels should be treated as rebels themselves and a military prosecutor who referred to civilians as “secondary assailants”—assailants being a frequent term for rebels—at a court martial for officers accused of leading an operation that killed 173 civilians.101 Labelling civilians (who may or may not support a rebel group) as rebels, and hence combatants, ignores the distinction between combatant and non-combatant that is basic to international humanitarian law. Military operations by the FNL and the government army have been frequent in Kabezi since the late April incident. Although no further killings of the scale of April 23 have been reported, a woman and her child were reportedly injured by shells fired by government soldiers at the hill of Masama102 and the frequent military activity has caused the displacement of an estimated 20,000 people.103

Military operations by the Burundian army and by FDD and FNL combatants often involved the disproportionate or indiscriminate use of force with attendant risks of injury or death to civilians. The FNL and FDD have bombarded civilian neighborhoods of urban areas in Bujumbura, Ruyigi, Gitega, and Cankuzo and government troops have bombarded heavily populated regions in both city and countryside, such as when they launched thirty shells—nine from helicopter gunships—at the hill Ruce in Bubanza.104

Apparent Reprisal Killings by Government Soldiers

As the government and the FDD moved towards renewed negotiations at the start of September, the FNL increased attacks on government soldiers, particularly those they found alone or in pairs. In at least four cases, the government soldiers responded immediately with attacks on the civilian population in the vicinity.

Near the end of September, FNL combatants killed a government soldier in the Kinama zone of Bujumbura. Soon after three persons from one family, one of them a child, were killed in the area. According to neighbors, the killers were government soldiers who had come to collect the body of their comrade.105 Official sources said that the civilians were killed in a settling of accounts between rebel groups.106

In another case in Kinama, on October 14, a young man in civilian clothing shot and killed a policeman who was riding on a bicycle-taxi as well as the rider of the bicycle. Local people identified the killer as an FNL combatant. An elderly man said that the FNL had met in the neighborhood the previous Saturday and that a new commander had taken over and given the order that any passing soldier should be killed and his weapon taken. As soon as the policeman was shot, the witness went home quickly, took his wife, and fled because “the soldiers had started shooting everywhere and coming into the neighborhoods.”107 A woman who lived in the neighborhood said that she also fled as soon as she heard the shots that killed the policeman “because we’re used to soldiers arriving and shooting everywhere. You have to run from the shooting.”108 She said that the soldiers had looted much property from their houses.

According to witnesses, the soldiers killed three persons: Gervais Ntubingoye, killed by a bayonet and blows to the head, another man killed by bayonet and a woman found in the banana plantation of Makaryo. In addition another woman who had just given birth died of a heart attack while fleeing. All were from the Bukirasazi quartier.

The next day the military commander of Socarti camp and the zone head held a meeting with local residents at their request. According to one witness who attended the meeting, the commander said that if there were another policeman or administrative official killed, “It was the population of Kinama that would pay. I will erase Kinama.”109 The witness continued:

We are worried because we are faced with two contradictory orders, those from the FNL and those from the soldiers. And we the people will be the victims. I would rather pay more to the FNL so that they can buy their own weapons rather than have them kill soldiers to steal their weapons. I no longer spend the night in my own house. I take my wife and children to the forest for the night.110

Another witness had also heard from others that authorities threatened that people of the neighborhood would pay if there were another soldier or administrative official killed. She said:

Life is difficult. Children no longer go to school because we are afraid to lose them if shooting suddenly begins and we have to flee immediately. We have been especially afraid since the military chief said that we would pay. The government should know that we civilians are not equipped to confront armed men. There are too many armed men and too much insecurity. And we, we have no choice but to cooperate with them because we have nowhere else to go.111

Killings at Ruziba

In another case on September 6, 2003 FNL combatants killed two soldiers who were having a beer at a small bar called “Chez Raphael” at Ruziba, in Kanyosha commune, just outside the capital. Residents of the area, long known as a FNL stronghold, fled immediately. They feared reprisals by soldiers from the 43rd batallion based at Kirundo who were stationed at the nearby Ruziba military post. Some of these troops were said to have served in some of the worst combat zones in Burundi and in neighboring DRC and people in the area regarded them as ruthless.

Soon after the killing, military patrols came and looted goods from houses left vacant by those who fled.

When many people were at church the next morning, September 7, the Kanyosha zone chief and an officer named Major Habarugira summoned residents to the terrace of the Ruziba primary school. But they held no meeting at that time. According to one person present, the officer finally said that “there had been enough meetings that didn’t prevent incidents from happening.” According to witnesses, the zone chief then told the crowd, “You, people of Ruziba, I wash my hands of whatever may happen to you.”112

At about 2 p.m. there was gunfire from Bihara and the Mugere River, up in the hills. Many people began to flee, most of them scrambling down the road known as the “Amsar Road,” which joins the main paved road. According to witnesses, soldiers of the 43rd batallion gathered up residents from Mugere and Kuwingare, firing in the air, hitting people, threatening and yelling at others to go to the Ruziba marketplace “where there was going to be a meeting.”113

One old man commented, as did other witnesses, that it was unusual to have a meeting at that hour and announced in that way. He said, “The soldiers came to get me in my house. They said that there was going to be a meeting at the market. I was among the first to arrive, but many others came after me.”114

Residents who fled away from the market and Bujumbura towards Gakungwe, said that soldiers posted at the place called “Livingstone’s Stone” shot at them, forcing them to return towards Ruziba.115

Meanwhile soldiers forced shopkeepers near the market to close their shops and to joined others those arriving from near and far at the marketplace. One witness said:

It was as if we were surrounded. The soldiers pushed people or hit them with sticks and made them cross the road to gather on the marketplace. They stayed there in groups of three or four with their guns aimed at the crowd. The commander of the military post was present. The soldiers said, “Stay where you are. Don’t come near us, stay there for the meeting.” People were nervous.116

According to witnesses, a soldier standing a short distance away, near the junction of the “Amsar Road” and the paved road, was the first to open fire. “It was panic and chaos immediately,” said one man. “Everyone fled, dropping whatever they were carrying.Then the soldiers at the market also began firing.”117 Another man concluded, “There would really have been a lot of victims if the soldiers at the market had been the first to fire.”118

The crowd scattered. Some people fled downhill towards Lake Tanganyika and the city or into the Kigwati quartier next to the market. Several witnesses said that a soldier posted at Second Avenue in Kigwati fired on the fleeing people. “He had a machine gun balanced on a garbage heap and he did a lot of damage with that,” said one man who had run towards Kigwati and had thrown himself on the ground to avoid the gunfire.119

Witnesses all said they saw a number of people shot and on the ground, either dead or wounded. But when they returned the next morning, they saw “many pools of blood on the ground, but with no bodies [next to them],” as one man said. 120 Those ordered to bury the dead by the zone chief reported burying only six bodies, two women, Christine of Kibembe quartier and another whose name they did not know; two children; and two old men, Bazumworo and Bashirahishize, who were both killed in their home. Another woman died later from her wounds at Roi Khaled Hospital.121

Killings at Muyira

Soldiers deliberately killed civilians in a remarkably similar case that began early Sunday afternoon, September 21, when FNL combatants killed two soldiers eating a meal at a restaurant in Bangatele, in Muyira zone, Kanyosha commune. Here, too, local residents fled immediately and soldiers from posts at Cinkona, Sororezo, Muhanambogo and Kiriri campus arrived promptly on the spot. They looted the homes and shops of those who had fled Bangatele and then fanned out over the neighboring hills of Pera, Kavumu, Muha, Bigoma, Ruyaga, and Muzige where they killed civilians and looted more property.

A woman hugged close a child she had thought killed during the attack and said:

The soldiers came immediately and they shot everywhere, everywhere. I fled with a neighbor. A man took one of my two little children in his arms, to help me flee. We were stopped by soldiers from Cinkona. A soldier shot the man who fell down dead. I ran immediately because there were too many bullets. I think that my child was killed also.122

An old man summed up, shaking his head, recalled the events of the day. “There was a huge military attack with lots of blood.”123 Another man added that when he and other neighbors took advantage of a momentary lull in the firing around 6 p.m. to try to transport a woman wounded in the leg, soldiers from the Cinkona post fired at them.124

More than twenty civilians were killed, including the following from Muyira II zone: Jimmy, the man who tried to help the woman by carrying her child; Muswi, an old man who lived at Bangatele and whose body was found at Pera; another man named Muswi from Coga; Aloys Nsanzemgeze; Siméo Hicuburundi; Michel Mvuyekure; Georgie Ntahonkiriye; Fraziya Rurimurishiga. Elissa Nsabimana and Jeanette Miburo were from Muyira I; Georgie Nsabirabandi from Bigoma; Jean Harindavyi from Mirama; Donatien Nduwayezu from Mbare; and a man named Murevyi, a resident of Bangatele and father of eight children, whose decapitated body was found at Muha. Witnesses said that six other bodies had been found but that they did not know the names of these victims. Three others reportedly died of their wounds at the hospital.125

Residents did not dare return home for several days. When they did, they found their property looted and three houses burned at Bangatele. “There was nothing left, no clothes, no pots, no pails to fetch water, no mattress,” said one woman.126

Official Reaction to the Killings at Ruziba and Muyira

Brigadier General Germain Niyoyankana, army chief of staff, recognized that government soldiers were killed both at Ruziba and Muyira before the killings of civilians described above, but he rejected the allegation that government soldiers killed civilians in reprisal for FNL killings of fellow soldiers. In the case of Ruziba, General Niyoyankana said that the soldiers killed “had not been careful enough.” He said that FNL combatants had then tried to prevent a security meeting involving soldiers, administrators, and the local population and had attacked the crowd in an effort to “get the head of the commander of the military post.”127 According to the Kanyosha zone head, the official number of civilians killed was six, including the woman who died later of her injuries, and nine persons wounded.128

Concerning the killings at Muyira, General Niyoyankana said that after the FNL combatants had killed the two soldiers in the restaurant, FNL combatants had opened fire on other soldiers. He held that the FNL should have known civilians would be killed if they opened fire in such circumstances. He denied that soldiers had deliberately killed civilians and said that the victims would have been far more numerous, had that been the case. He added that soldiers had evacuated some of the wounded, which, for him, proved that they would not have shot at them. He gave the figures of seven civilians killed and two wounded and said that they had been shot at the Muyira market. He was unaware, he said, of victims killed elsewhere. He concluded, “I see no fault on the part of the soldiers. It was not a case of reprisals. There are FNL attacks every day. Not a night passes without the FNL and the FDD killing someone.”129

The governor of rural Bujumbura, Ignace Ntawenbarira, stated that ten civilians had been killed in the Muyira case, but that they died in “cross-fire” between the soldiers and the FNL. He confirmed that the soldiers had looted a considerable amount of property. He stressed that the “situation is complex,” and said the principal reason for the recent problems was the new FNL strategy of targeting soldiers in public places. “The FNL must know that there are civilians around and that this will result in losses.”130

Local Reactions

At Ruziba, Colonel Gacubwenge tried to defuse tensions with local residents in early September by making soldiers return looted property. But by late September residents were again so afraid of soldiers that they panicked and fled their homes in large numbers when a military patrol arrived on September 29.131

Residents at Muyira reject the explanation that their neighbors were killed in crossfire between soldiers and FNL combatants. “The FNL did not attack the military posts but rather retreated towards Coga and there was no cross-fire. The next day the soldiers went to Coga but the FNL had already left for Isare,” explained one man.132

Another man from Muyira regretted the killings and the ensuing bad relations between local people and the government soldiers. He said:

Before there was good collaboration between the people and the soldiers. We had to cut wood, fetch water, and transport food to the post for them but there were committees on the hills to organize workers for these duties. Even when the FNL attacked Gatoke in July and killed soldiers at the Muhanambogo post as they left, the soldiers themselves killed seven civilians in reprisal, but it was still okay. Now I don’t understand how this happened. Really there is a large problem between them and us. The people are all very afraid.133

59 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), G.A. res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 52 U.N. Doc A/6316 (1966) entered into force Mar. 23, 1976. Burundi ratified the ICCPR in May 1990.

60 Despite the signing of a ceasefire agreement, international humanitarian law still applies. For example, according to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in Tadic, Appeal on Jurisdiction, Case IT-94-1-AR72 (Oct. 2, 1995): “[A]rmed conflict exists wherever there is a resort to armed force between states or protracted armed violence between such groups within a State. International humanitarian law applies from the initiation of such conflicts and extends beyond the cessation of hostilities until a general conclusion is reached; or, in the case of internal armed conflicts, a peaceful settlement is achieved. Until that moment, international humanitarian law continues to apply …in the case of internal conflicts, in the whole territory under the control of a party, whether or not actual combat takes place there.” For accounts of violations by all sides prior to the ceasefire, see the Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper, “Burundi: Escalating Violence Demands Attention,” November 2002 (available at

61 1949 Geneva Conventions, article 3.

62 1949 Geneva Conventions, Protocol Additional relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts, 1977, (Protocol II, articles 13 to 18).

63 See article 52(2) of Protocol I of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions. Many provisions of Protocol I are considered customary international law in internal armed conflicts.

64 Protocol I, article 51 (4).

65 Protocol I, article 51 (5).

66 The Burundian national police or gendarmerie are part of the armed forces and are trained for and sometimes participate in combat.

67 Agence Azania, April 22, 2003.

68 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, May 26, 2003.

69 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura, May 26, 2003.

70 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, June 7, 2003.

71 Human Rights Watch interview, Mutumba, June 4, 2003.

72 Human Rights Watch interview, Mutumba , June 4, 2003.

73 Human Rights Watch interview, June 2, 2003.

74 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, June 7, 2003.

75 Human Rights Watch interviews, Mutumba, June 4 and Bujumbura, June 7, 2003.

76 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, June 7, 2003.

77 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, June 7, 2003.

78 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, June 9, 2003.

79 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, June 9, 2003.

80 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, June 7, 2003.

81 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura, June 7 and 9, 2003.

82 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura, May 28 and May 31, 2003.

83 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, June 7, 2003.

84 Human Rights Watch interview, Mutumba, June 4, 2003.

85 Human Rights Watch interviews. Mutumba, June 4, and Bujumbura, June 7 and June 9, 2003.

86 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, June 13, 2003.

87 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura June 2 and June 5, 2003.

88 Human Rights Watch interview with the administrator of Kabezi, Félicien Ntayokambaye, by telephone, June 19, 2003.

89 Human Rights Watch interview with the governor of Bujumbura-rural province, Ignace Ntawembarira, Bujumbura, June 9, 2003.

90 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura, June 5 and 9, 2003.

91 Human Rights Watch interviews, Mutumba, June 4; Bujumbura, June 9 and 19, 2003.

92 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura, May 31 and June 2, 2003.

93 Human Rights Watch interview, Mutumba, June 4, 2003.

94 Human Rights Watch interview, Mutumba, June 4, 2003.

95 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, June 2, 2003.

96 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, May 31, 2003.

97 Human Rights Watch interview with Governor Ntawembarira, Bujumbura, June 9, 2003.

98 Human Rights Watch interview with the Honorable Léonidas Ntibayazi, President of the Human Rights Commission of the parliament, Bujumbura, June 4. 2003.

99 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, May 27, 2003.

100 Human Rights Watch interviews, Kabezi, June 18, 2003.

101 Human Rights Watch, “Burundi: Civilians Pay the Price of Faltering Peace Process,” February 2003.

102 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, June 9, 2003.

103 IRIN,“Burundi: Humanitarians confirm 4,000 families on the run in Kabezi Commune,” May 30, 2003; for displacement and pillage, see below.

104 Human Rights Watch interview, Musenyi, June 11, 2003.

105 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, September 26, 2003.

106 Iteka, “Quatre Personnes tuées en zone Kinama,” September 25, 2003.

107 Human Rights Watch interview, Kinama, October 16, 2003.

108 Human Rights Watch interview, Kinama, October 16, 2003.

109 Human Rights Watch interview, Kinama, October 16, 2003.

110 Human Rights Watch interview, Kinama, October 16, 2003.

111 Human Rights Watch interview, Kinama, October 16, 2003.

112 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, September 26, 2003.

113 Human Rights Watch interviews, Bujumbura, September 18, 26, and 27, 2003.

114 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, September 18, 2003.

115 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, September 18, 2003.

116 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, September 26, 2003.

117 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, September 18, 2003.

118 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, September 18, 2003.

119 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, September 27, 2003.

120 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, September 27, 2003.

121 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, September 27, 2003.

122 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, October 7, 2003.

123 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, September 23, 2003.

124 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, October 7, 2003.

125 Human Rights Watch interviews, October 7 and 8, 2003.

126 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, October 7, 2003.

127 Human Rights Watch interview with General Niyoyankana, Bujumbura, October 3, 2003.

128 Human Rights Watch interview with Jacques Bigirimana, Kanyosha zone chief, Bujumbura, October 10, 2003.

129 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, October 3, 2003.

130 Human Rights Watch interview with Ignace Ntawembarira, Governor of Rural Bujumbura, Bujumbura, October 3, 2003.

131 African Public Radio, News, September 30, 2003.

132 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, October 7, 2003.

133 Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, October 8, 2003.

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December 2003