What’s the legal or moral ground for Rwanda to seek explanation from Burundi over Mr. Jacques Bihozagara’s death from Burundi?

Mr. Jacques Bihozagara died from Burundi. Bihozaga was one of the key people during the war that brought Kagame junta into power. Mr. Jacques Bihozagara served Kagame junta, in different capacities, until he fled Rwanda for Burundi where he lived until he died, yesterday.

When violence started in Burundi, Mr. Bihozagara was arrested allegedly on suspicion that he was spying for Kigali. Burundi appears to have discovered later that the former Rwandan diplomat was in Burundi for his life, running away from Kigali junta. However, Mr. Bihozagara and the gov of Burundi are said to have agreed that no place in Burundi or in any neighboring country would be safe for Bihozagara if he was released. Since then, it’s believed that the gov of Burundi started looking for a third country where Bihozagara would be safe from Kagame’s assassins.

Unfortunately, Bihozagara died, under suspicious circumstances, before any third country could receive him. There is rumor that he was poisoned. Although there is no official postmortem report about the cause of his death, there are two major ” theories” on the source of who poisoned .

(a) That Mr. Jacques Bihozagara’s friends who used to bring him food from outside prison poisoned his food and/or beverages. Proponents of this view say that Kagame junta was behind the poisoning, and

(b) that Mr. Jacques Bihozagara was poisoned by the gov of Burundi.

If it be true that Bihozagara was poisoned, there are very many an answered questions.

(1) Between Kagame junta and Burundi had interest in eliminating this Rwandan refugee who has been living in Burundi for the past five or so years?

(2) Why was Kagame junta the first one to break the news of Bihozagara death and cause of his death, before any gov of Burundi official knew that Bihozagara had died?

(3) Why would Rwanda be up in arms, so fast in a hype mood , with Burundi gov over Mr. Jacques Bihozagara’s death yet the deceased fled Kagame junta persecution?

(4) Why did Bihozagara’s mysterious death occur at the time the gov of Burundi was allegedly looking for a third country to receive Mr. Jacques Bihozagara?


Rwanda’s foreign Minister has announced that the gov of Rwanda needs an explanation from Burundi gov over Mr. Bihozagara’s death. Under the International Convention for the Protection of Refugees, the country of origin looses its rights over its citizen to the country of refuge. Where a person is in a country illegally, neither the person’s country of origin nor the country where that person lives illegally has full control over that person. Whether Mr. Jacques was a refugee – or an illegal immigrant – in Burundi, at the time of Mr. Jacques Bihozagara death Randa had not right over him. Consequently, Burundi gov owes no duty – legal or otherwise – to Rwanda to explain Bihozagara’s death and Rwanda has no right to request such explanation from Burundi gov. It would have been different if, at his death, Bihozagara was a citizen of Rwanda on a visit or official duty in Burundi

Mr. Jacques Bihozagara’s immigration status withstanding, the fact that he died from Burundi under mysterious circumstances, Burundi gov has a legal and moral duty to investigate the cause Mr. Jacques Bihozagara death. If Mr. Jacques Bihozagara’s death was cause by anybody or a group thereof, the culprit should be brought to book.

By Dr Charles Kambanda