Amnesty: Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi

Protocol III, Chapter III: Article 26:

1. (l) Amnesty shall be granted to all combatants of the political parties and movements for crimes committed as a result of their involvement in the conflict, but not for acts of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes, or for their participation in coups d'etat.

Implementation History

2003

Minimum Implementation

Not all major parties to the conflict signed the agreement until 2003. During this three year gap, implementation of the amnesty provision did begin. 

While Arusha accord had amnesty provision for crimes related to conflict, the accord excluded genocidal crimes, crimes against humanity or war crimes or participation in coups. Nevertheless, in several rounds of negotiations after the accord parties could not decide on what constitutes political crime.1 

In peace talks organized in Pretoria between 30-31 October 2003, it was suggested that the president and the rebel leaders need to make a decision on whether to declare a general amnesty or grant temporary immunity to the combatants.2 Because political leaders returning from exile received temporary immunity, they could not be tried for political crimes.

  • 1. "Burundi: Controversial question of amnesty on political crimes unsolved," BBC Worldwide Monitoring, March  30, 2001.
  • 2. "Burundi peace talks start in Pretoria as summit postponed," Agence France Presse, October 30, 2003.
2004

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

2005

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

2006

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

2007

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

2008

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

2009

Minimum Implementation

In 2009, government officials publically supported for general amnesty but no initiatives were taken in this regard.3 

  • 3. "Seek Justice for War Crimes Victims - Gatumba Massacre Anniversary Marked by Ongoing Impunity," Africa News, August 14, 2009.
2010

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

2011

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

2012

Minimum Implementation

As of December 2012, a general amnesty has not been issued for political crimes committed during the Burundian civil war. Only temporary immunity was granted.