A group called Pa-Amasekanya, including its structure, activities and leaders; attacks perpetrated by members of this group against members of the Hutu ethnic group [BDI38641.FE]

Founded in 1995 (IRIN-CEA 28 Sept. 2000; Financial Times 7 Jan. 2002), the Puissance d'autodéfense Amasekanya, or PA-Amasekanya, is a self-defence organization made up of youths of Tutsi origin (ibid.; IRIN-CEA 28 Sept. 2000; Net Press 17 June 2000) whose aim is to [translation] "make it known that a genocide has been committed against the Tutsis" (IRIN-CEA 11 Aug. 2000). Diomède Rutamucero is its president (ibid.; Financial Times 7 Jan. 2002; ITEKA 3 Apr. 2001).

Reached by telephone in Bujumbura on 15 March 2002, the executive secretary of the Burundian Human Rights League (Ligue burundaise des droits de l'homme, ITEKA) provided the following information.

PA-Amasekanya is made up mostly of youths of Tutsi origin. It is based mainly in the capital, Bujumbura, but a few of its chapters are located in other regions of the country, notably Bubanza, a province in the west of the country. The group, which has thousands of members, wants [translation] "to make it known that the massacres that occurred in 1993 constituted a genocide committed against the Tutsis and accuses the Hutu political parties, notably the FRODEBU [Front for Democracy in Burundi], of responsibility for them. Because of this, it is demanding that justice be done." PA-Amasekanya also opposes the Arusha peace accords because they set up, among other things, a government of national unity in which members of Hutu political parties are represented.

Africa Confidential also classifies the militia of PA-Amasekanya among the Tutsi organizations and political parties that oppose the Arusha Peace Agreement (26 Oct. 2001, 6).

The ITEKA representative pointed out that his organization is not aware of the involvement of PA-Amasekanya members in killings or attacks on ethnic Hutus (15 Mar. 2002). He went on to say, however, that PA-Amasekanya members organize demonstrations, sporting events, marches and unauthorized meetings at which they are often very critical of the government authorities and threaten [translation] "to take justice into their own hands if the perpetrators of the Tutsi genocide are not brought to trial" (ibid.). As a result, Diomède Rutamucero, the group's president, has been imprisoned 12 times since the formation of PA-Amasekanya in 1995 (ibid.).

According to Country Reports 2001, Diomède Rutamucero, president of PA-Amasekanya, has been arrested a number of times over the year for attempting to organize unauthorized demonstrations in Bujumbura (2002, sect. 2b).

According to Amnesty International, PA-Amasekanya members have incited violence and are accused of a number of human rights violations, including killings (22 Mar. 2001). The president of PA-Amasekanya has reportedly said: "we will use all means to fight, political means, diplomatic means. ... [W]e will even take up arms. Get ready to arm yourselves and to use your weapons if they come to kill us" (AI 22 Mar. 2001). The same human rights organization also stated in its 2001 annual report that "members of PA-Amasekanya were also reported to have been behind an ambush in May [2000] near Gatumba, Rural Bujumbura, in which at least three members of the opposition political party Front pour la Démocratie au Burundi (FRODEBU), Front for Democracy in Burundi, all Hutu, were killed" (ibid. Dec. 2000).

This information could not be corroborated by other sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References


Africa Confidential [London]. 26 October 2001. Vol. 42, No. 21. "Burundi/Congo-Kinshasa: Piecemeal."

Amnesty International (AI). 22 March 2001. "Burundi: Between Hope and Fear." (AI Index: AFR 16/007/2001). http://web.amnesty.org/802568F7005C4453/0/607828A57D98E79880256A10007BC970?Open [Accessed 15 Mar. 2002]

_____. December 2000. Amnesty International Report 2001. "Burundi." http://web.amnesty.org/web/ar2001.nsf/webafrcountries/BURUNDI?OpenDocument [Accessed 7 Mar. 2002]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2001. 2002. United States Department of State. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/af/8280.htm [Accessed 25 Mar. 2002]

The Financial Times [London]. 7 January 2002. "Burundi: Pro-Tutsi Group 'Violently' Dispersed in Bujumbura." (BBC Summary 7 Jan. 2002/NEXIS)

Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa (IRIN-CEA), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). 28 September 2000. "Burundi: List of Groups Involved in the Conflict and Peace Process." http://www.reliefweb.int/ [Accessed 13 Mar. 2002]

_____. 11 August 2000. "Bulletin hebdomadaire d'information 32 pour l'Afrique centrale et de l'Est." http://www.reliefweb.int/ [Accessed 13 Mar. 2002].

Ligue burundaise des droits de l'homme (ITEKA). 15 March 2002. Telephone interview with executive secretary.

_____. 3 April 2001. "Burundi - Droits de l'homme : Diomède Rutamucero expulsé des locaux du Haut Commissaire des Nations-Unies pour les droits de l'homme au Burundi." http://www.ligue-iteka.bi/n030401.htm [Accessed 13 Mar. 2002]

Net Press [Bujumbura]. 17 June 2001. "Burundi: Pro-Tutsi Movement Says Government Harassing Activists." (BBC Monitoring 19 June 2001/NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted


Africa Confidential 1995-February 2002.

IRB Databases

Jeune Afrique 1995-1999.

Jeune Afrique/L'Intelligent 2001-March 2002.

La Lettre hebdomadaire de la FIDH 1998-2001.

LEXIS/NEXIS.

Mondes rebelles. 1999-2001.

Resource Centre country files. Burundi. 1995-2001.

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International.

FIDH.

Human Rights Watch Online.

International Crisis Group (ICG).

Ligue burundaise des droits de l'homme (ITEKA).

Missionary Service News Agency (MISNA).

Observatoire de l'Afrique centrale.

Office fédéral des réfugiés (ODR), Switzerland.

Panafrican News Agency (PANA).

ReliefWeb.

Search engines including:

Google.

Lokace.

Lycos.