PRESS RELEASE N° 017/2016
In July and August 2014 more than forty (40) corpses were discovered, wrapped in plastic, in Lake Rweru, which borders Burundi and Rwanda
Following the discovery the United States government made an” urgent call on the Burundian and Rwandan Governments to conduct a prompt, thorough, impartial and concerted investigation of these deaths with the assistance of independent, international forensic experts”.
The US call had been preceded by the call for investigation on corpses found in Lake Rweru. A European Union official had told Radio France International that the EU had asked both countries to expedite investigations to identify where the bodies came from and the cause of the people’s death.
Several countries also raised their concern about these deaths during the Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances that was held in conjunction with the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva in September 2014
Reuters quoted the general prosecutor of Burundi Valentin Bagorikunda saying that an investigation into 40 bodies found in a lake on the border with Rwanda has concluded that the dead were Rwandans. He told a news conference that his conclusion was corroborated by reports from Burundi security forces, and testimonies of farmers and fishermen from Rwanda and Burundi. », which the Rwandan government obviously denied
International Human rights groups including Human Rights Watch as well as human rights groups in Rwanda and Burundi called for an investigation too. Indeed, human rights groups in Rwanda had broken their silence on the mystery of the bodies found stuffed in sacks in Lake Rweru and demanded investigation into circumstances that led to the deaths. The Rwandan Collective of Leagues and Associations for the Defense of Human Rights (CLADHO) made an appeal to the two governments to work together and get to the root of the deaths.
It is quite shocking to say the least and morally indefensible, that two years down the line, nothing has been done. In this regard the political opposition platform calls on the international community particularly the African Union, the EU and the United States which had offered to provide technical assistance, to push for this investigation.
We condemn this inaction and share the concern of the United States government that the victims deserve to be identified, their families deserve to know their fate, and those responsible should be brought to justice”.
Brussels, 16 September, 2016.
Jean – Damascène Munyampeta
+32 488 96 37 65.