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Burundi President Flags Off 5000 Pardoned Prisoners

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A total of 5000 pardoned Prisoners in Burundi have been warned to keep on the right side of the law, integrate back to communities and initiate income-generating activities.

President Evariste Ndayishimiye recently signed a decree pardoning over 5000 inmates serving various sentences- this was subject to the law that grants the head of state a right and power to exercise a prerogative of mercy.

Addressing the recipients of the presidential pardon on Tuesday at Prison de Mpimba, President Ndayishimiye said the state is not there to jail. He explained, a prisoner is a burden on the country, on the family. “A prisoner consumes without producing, the family becomes poorer.”

To justice, to the judicial police officers, President Ndayishimiye recommended that they register all the prisoners as soon as they arrive. “We must prevent a person from going three months without being tried.” Abusive imprisonments without reasons are also to be avoided according to the President of the Republic. A nod also to those who indulge in corruption. ” It’s a shame !”

Insisting on this presidential pardon, President Ndayishimiye said the decision was not taken to please anyone. And to reassure the non-beneficiaries that they too will be able to benefit from it.

Meanwhile, he said those who did not make it to the list when they qualify can make complaints.

President Ndayishimiye noted that impunity has hampered the development of Burundi. According to him, some have trivialized even the crimes of blood. “Even these ethnic conflicts which have brought mourning to our country, it is because there have been people who have said to themselves that it is not a crime if they kill a person of the other ethnic group, as if the killing has become an act of bravery ”.

Jeanine Nibizi, Minister of Justice, said this is a first in Burundi where more than 5,000 prisoners have been pardoned. Among them, breastfeeding women, vulnerable people, prisoners suffering from chronic illnesses, etc.

President Evariste Ndayishimiye hands a certificate of pardon to a beneficiary

The minister also specified that the pardoned prisoners number 1,400 for Mpimba prison. Of these, 944 received effective release and the rest were granted reduced sentences.

She also SAID that Currently Burundi has around 12,000 prisoners while the prison capacity hovers around 4,000.

Reacting to the Presidential pardon,  Independent National Human Rights Commission (CNIDH), the implementation of the presidential pardon is an eloquent sign of the permanent concern on the part of the government.

And this, will unclog prisons with a view to improving conditions of detention. In a statement released on Monday, the committee found that the establishment of Community Service (TIG) proved to be another alternative measure.

The CNIDH also advocates for the reduction of the excessive use of pre-trial detention and for the creation of a national mechanism for the prevention of torture.

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Minister Ugirashebuja In DRC For EAPCCO General Meeting

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The Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Dr. Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, on Friday, October 15, attended the 23rd Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO) annual general meeting in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The meeting for Council of Ministers responsible for Police affairs in the 14-member countries, preceded the Council of Police Chiefs held on Thursday under the theme “Enhancing law Enforcement Strategies in Combating Transnational Organized Crimes in the Wake of COVID-19 and Beyond.”

EAPCCO member states are Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

The ministers appreciated EAPCCO member countries for their effort in combating terrorism and transnational organized crimes through enhanced cooperation and collaboration.

While officially opening the meeting, the Prime Minister and Chief of Government for DRC, Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, emphasized the importance of sub-regional organizations in the fight against transnational organized crimes.

“There is need to foster cooperation and to build capacity of law enforcement officers, continually share information and conduct due diligence on suspects,” Lukonde said.

He commended member countries for the continued support to DRC President, Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo in his roles as the current President of African Union.

DR Congo took over the chairmanship for both councils of Police Chiefs and ministers responsible for the Police affairs, from Tanzania.

The ministers welcomed the decision by the Council of Police Chiefs to elevate the Marine Police College in Mwanza, Tanzania to EAPCCO Centre of Excellence in Maritime Police training.

DR Congo was also given the responsibility to establish a regional operation unit under EAPCCO Counter Terrorism Centre of Excellence (CTCoE) to collect, analyze and disseminate terrorism related information for action.

Other resolutions include expediting EAPCCO Centers of Excellence by host countries, strengthening sharing of crime-related information on transnational organized crimes and heightening the use of Interpol policing capabilities to facilitate the process.

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Thomas Sankara’s Assassination Trial Adjourned To October 21

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Burkina Faso’s former president Thomas Sankara was assassinated 34 years ago in a military coup bringing an end to a charismatic Marxist revolutionary widely known as ‘Africa’s Che Guevara’.

Immediately after Sankara’s murder, his wife Mariam Sankara and their two children Philippe Sankara and Auguste Sankara fled to Burkina Faso in 1987.

Thomas Sankara seized power in a 1983 coup at the age of 33 with promises to tackle corruption and the dominance of former colonial powers.

Mariam Sankara on Monday flew back to Ouagadougou for the opening of the trial of her husband’s murder. 14 people are accused of plotting the assassination.

Among the accused includes Blaise Compaore the man who was a close ally to Mr Sankara. Blaise Compaore led a military coup that toppled Sankara and his immediate execution.

Compaore went on to rule the West African nation for almost three decades before he himself was ousted and fled to neighbouring Ivory Coast.

This trial has been highly awaited as the murder of Sankara has mysterious ramifications and has remained a very sensitive subject across the continent.

At the opening trial, Compaore was not present. The former first lady told media that the absence of former president Blaise Compaoré, the main suspect in her husband’s assassination, was a “shame”, adding: “I really hope that this trial will shed some light.”

However, Compaore’s lawyers said on Friday that he would not attend the trial, and Ivory Coast has refused to extradite him.

She said, “this trial is needed so that the culture of impunity and violence that still rages in many African countries, despite the democratic facade, stops indefinitely.”

Other suspects in the murder of Sankara include; Hyacinthe Kafando (Compaore’s former head of security), Gen. Gilbert Diendere, a former spy-master.

According to details, the hearing was held in the Ouaga2000 conference centre in the capital, Ouagadougou. Twelve other defendants appeared at the hearing and all pleaded not guilty.

The military tribunal opened the proceedings, then adjourned the hearing until Oct. 25, after defence lawyers asked for more time to prepare their case, court officials said.

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Rwanda Police Chief Attends EAPCCO General Meeting In DRC

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Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dan Munyuza, on Thursday, October 14, attended the meeting of Council of Police Chiefs (CPC) from the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO) in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The CPC was part of the 23rd EAPCCO Annual General Meeting and it was held under the theme: “Enhancing law enforcement strategies in combating transnational organized crimes in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”

EAPCCO is a regional 14-member bloc established in 1998 to strengthen police cooperation and joint strategies, share crime-related information and harmonize laws to enhance the capacity of law enforcement agencies to combat transnational organized crime.

The CPC discussed measures to enhance regional capacity and cooperation in combating organized crime, including emerging terrorism trends and implications in the region, countering terrorism and violent extremism as well as reviewing the implementation of EAPCCO adopted resolutions.

It also looked at the status of EAPCCO Regional Counter Terrorism Centre of Excellence (CTCoE), adopted and signed the Mifugo Protocol and EAPCCO CTCoE Establishment Agreement.

The Mifugo Protocol elaborates strategies to prevent, combat and eradicate cattle rustling in Eastern Africa.

The EAPCCO member countries are Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Comoros, DRC, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, Sudan, and Tanzania.

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