Police Reform: Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi

Protocol III, Chapter II: Article 12:

2. Missions of the national police

The missions of the national police shall be:

a. To maintain and restore public order;

b. To prevent offences provided for by law, investigate and prosecute their perpetrators and make arrests in accordance with the law;

c. To ensure respect for the laws and other regulations for whose enforcement they are directly responsible;

d. To ensure the physical protection of persons and their property;

e. To ensure the protection of infrastructures and public property;

f. To relieve and assist persons in danger or in distress;

g. To intervene in case of catastrophe or disaster;

h. To develop various civil defence scenarios;

i. To ensure road safety throughout the national territory;

j. To ensure protection of public gatherings at the request of those involved, on orders from the administrative authorities, or on their own initiative;

k. To ensure the missions of the judicial and administrative police;

l. To ensure protection of the courts and tribunals;

m. To deal with criminal cases of major importance, such as economic crimes and cases attributable to roving delinquents or groups organized at the national or international level;

n. To produce and make use of crime statistics;

o. To deal with the policing of immigration and emigration and the status of aliens;

p. To monitor the movements of aliens throughout the national territory;

q. To keep watch on the land, lake and air borders;

r. To issue travel documents and residence permits;

s. To ensure protection of the institutions.

Protocol III, Chapter II: Article 13

2. Structure of the national Police

a. The national police shall be coordinated within one Ministry, i.e., the one responsible for public security.

b. Its structure shall be:

(i) First level: Since the Ministry is responsible for public security, the head shall be a member of the Government;

(ii) Second level: A national police headquarters responsible for coordinating all the police forces. It shall be headed by a director-general with administrative skills and knowledge of police techniques;

(iii) Third level: Departments: each department shall represent a specialized area of police work.

This structure is illustrated in Annex II to the Agreement.

Protocol III, Chapter II,

Article 14

2. Composition of the national police

a. There shall be a single national police composed of all citizens of the Burundian nation wishing to form part of it, irrespective of ethnic, regional, gender and social status.

b. The national police shall include members of the current national police, combatants of the political parties and movements and other citizens who meet the requirements.

c. A technical committee comprising representatives of the existing police force and the political parties and movements and of external advisors and instructors on police issues shall be established by decision of the transitional Government to implement the procedures for the establishment of the national police.

d. All persons, including current members of the police force and combatants of the political parties and movements, found guilty of genocide, the coup d'état of 21 October 1993, human rights violations or war crimes shall be excluded from the national police.

e. Not more than 50% of the members of the national police shall be drawn from any one particular ethnic group, with a view to achieving the necessary balances and preventing acts of genocide or of coup d'état.

Protocol III, Chapter II: Article 15

2. Size of the national police

(a) The following criteria shall be used to determine the strength of the national police:

i. Surface area of the country;

ii. Population;

iii. Population density;

iv. Urbanization level;

v. Economic resources;

vi. Crime level;

vii. Budgetary allocation.

(b) The transitional Government, in consultation with the technical committee, shall determine the size of the national police.

Protocol III, Chapter II: Article 18: Training

2. Decentralization of the centres for training police constables, rank and file troops and non-commissioned officers shall be undertaken.

Pretoria Protocol on Outstanding Political, Defence and Security Power Sharing Issues in Burundi (8 October 2003)

Part I: 3.0 Burundi National Police (BNP):

3.1 Name

The Burundi Police Force shall be called the ‘Burundi National Police (BNP)’

3.2 Roles and Functions

a. The Public Security Police

(1) Ensure respect for laws and regulations.

(2) Ensure physical protection of people and their property.

(3) Help and provide assistance to people in danger or distress.

(4) Intervene in the case of tragedies or calamities.

(5) Foresee various scenarios for civil protection.

(6) Maintaining and re-establishing public order.

(7) Ensure the protection of public infrastructure and property.

(8) Ensure road security over the whole territory.

(9) Ensure the protection of public meetings upon the request of the parties concerned, upon instruction of the administrative authorities or on each own initiative when there is need.

(10) Ensure the protection of the institutions.

b. The Judicial Police (JP)

(1) Prevent crimes, search and prosecute their perpetrators and carry out arrests in accordance with the law.

(2) Ensure the missions of the judicial and administrative police.

(3) Ensure the protection of the courts and tribunals.

(4) Handling criminal affairs of great importance, like economic crimes, crimes by itinerant criminals or groups organized on a national or international level.

(5) Establish statistics on crime and use them.

(6) Ensure the Interpol service.

c. The Police of the Air, Borders and Foreigners (PAFE)

(1) Handling immigration, emigration and the status of foreigners;

(2) Controlling the movements of foreigners on the whole national territory.

(3) Guarding land, lake and air boarders.

(4) Providing traveling documents and residential permits.

d. The Prison Police (PP)

(1) Ensure the security of the prison and detainees.

(2) Ensure the safety of the police camp

(3) Ensure the escorting of the detainees going to court and the various jurisdictions.

(4) Provide security of detainees during the production work.

(8) Ensure escorting of prisoners during transfers.

(9) Ensuring the guarding of hospitalized prisoners.

(10) Ensuring the escorting of detainees during medical care or when leaving the prison with permission.

3.3 Principles

a. The Burundi National Police shall be:

-Governed by the laws and regulations of the country.

-At the disposal of the government, subordinate to its authority and accountable before the law.

b. The Burundi National Police shall be non-partisan.

c. Members of the Burundi National Police shall not be affiliated to political parties or any other organisation of a political nature. They shall neither take part in activities nor demonstrations of political parties or organisations.

d. Members of the Burundi National Police may exercise their civil right to vote.

3.4 Command, Control and Supervision

a. The National Police Force shall be placed under the supervision of the competent civil authorities.

c. The National Police Fore shall be placed under a Ministry charged with responsibility of Public Security.

d. The National Police Force shall be under the direct command and control of the Director General of Police.

3.5 Size, Composition, Structure and Organization

3.5.1 Size

a. The size of the Burundi National Police shall be determined by the following factors:

(1) The Internal Security situation

(2) The different roles and functions to be carried out

(3) The Burundi population

(4) The economic and financial means

(5) The budget allocated to the National Police.

(6) The permeability of the borders.

3.5.2 Composition

a. The Burundi National Police Force shall be composed of:

(1) Members of the current Burundi Police Force.

(2) Selected combatants from the CNDD-FDD Movement and other armed political parties.

(3) Volunteer Burundian citizens recruited on the basis of their competence.

b. The National Police Force will not consist of more than 50% of members from any of the ethnic groups. This is in accordance with Arusha Peace and Reconciliation for Burundi (Protocol III, Chapter 2 art 14 para 2 (e)).

3.5.3 Structure

The structure of the National Police is determined by the Government of Burundi upon a proposal of the Integrated Chief of Staff of the NP.

3.5.4 Police Service

a. Principle

Police service shall be exercised either under contract or permanent terms. Details of terms and conditions of service will be set in accordance with rules and regulations.

b. Rank Structure

(1) The current Police rank structure shall be used in the National Police Force.

(2) Entry point and the equating of ranks for members of FAB, CNDD-FDD and other armed political groups to be integrated into police shall be decided by a sub-committee of the JCC.

3.5.5 Training of the National Police Force

a. Policy

(1) The general training policy aimed at upgrading the National Police shall be based on the police doctrine.

(2) Each element of the force selected to constitute the Police Force shall undergo training for the purpose of:

-Acquiring and standardizing skills, techniques, aptitudes, procedures and regulations

-Achieving harmonious integration of servicemen.

b. Training of Immediate Concern

-Members selected to join the police from FAB, FDD and other political parties will receive accelerated training to enable them [to] work together.

Implementation History


No Implementation

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

Arusha accord and the Pretoria Protocol on Political, Defense and Security Power Sharing in Burundi provided for reform in Burundi’s police force including change in its name to Burundi National Police (BNP). Similar to military reform, the transitional government would determine the size, of the BNP and the BNP would include the current national police, combatants of the political parties and movements and other citizens who meet the requirements. As provided in the accord, none of the ethnic group would consist more than 50% of the BNP.


No Implementation

No reform took place in 2004. However, on 30 November a decree was adopted on the formation, organization and mandate of the National Burundian Police and it was endorsed by the parliament on 28 October.1

  • 1. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations Security Council (S/2004/902), November 15, 2004.

Full Implementation

On 3 January 2005, the president signed a law to set up a police force that would include combatants from rebel groups. The new police force would include a force of 20,000 personnel.2 On 28 January, president signed a decree and appointed General Alain Bunyoni, a former rebel officer, as head of the country's new national police. From the Tutsi minority, Colonel Helmenegilde Nimenya, was appointed as a deputy.3

As of May 2005, 6,896 members from rebel groups were sent to 20 different training centers around the country where they joined with 8,300 former members of the Gendarmerie and 1,400 former internal security forces. In training centers, they will go through integration and harmonization training.4

 In 2005, in coordination with the non-governmental organization the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) trained 135 judicial police. The government of Belgium was providing training of 20,000 police personnel over three years.5 By the end of 2005, a new integrated police force was in place.

  • 2. "New army, police force for Burundi," Agence France Presse, January 3, 2005.
  • 3. "Ex-rebel officer appointing head of Burundi's national police," Agence France Presse, January 18, 2005.
  • 4. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations Security Council (S/2005/328), May 19, 2005.
  • 5. "Burundi; Belgium Grants Government US $4.5 Million for Police Training," Africa News, November 10, 2005; "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations Security Council  (S/2005/586), September 14, 2005.

Full Implementation

No developments observed this year. 


Full Implementation

No developments observed this year. 


Full Implementation

On 11 April 2008, Burundi launched national police census to identify police officers.6 On 15 April, over 750 police personnel were demobilized as the government sought to downsize the National Police Force below 15,000 personnel. 

  • 6. "Burundi: Security minister launches national police census," BBC Monitoring Africa, April 11, 2008.

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.


Full Implementation

No further developments observed.


Full Implementation

No further developments observed.


Full Implementation

No further developments observed.