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A Long Path toward Reconciliation and Accountability: A Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Special Chamber for Burundi?

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The recent history of Burundi is characterized by cyclical ethnic strife between the Hutu majority, comprising approximately 85 per cent of the population, and the Tutsi. A peace agreement was signed in 2000, and in 2005 the UN recommended the establishment of a dual mechanism, namely a non-judicial accountability mechanism in the form of a truth commission, and a judicial accountability mechanism in the form of a special chamber. Little progress toward their establishment was achieved, however, with the process stalled by outbreaks of violence and the country’s fragmented political milieu. In 2011, significant momentum has been gained with the completion of a country-wide consultation process and the resumption of negotiations between the government and the UN. Building upon these developments, this article reviews the architecture of the proposed mechanism and sets forth various considerations for the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Chamber for Burundi.

Affiliations: 1: Legal Officer, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

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